Not only has Rottinghaus been playing football for seven years, he’s attended nine NFA camps since 2012. Combine his experience on the field, his NFA training and natural ability, and it adds up to a QB with a very bright future.
“Peyton is a great kid on his way to becoming a great quarterback,” NFA’s JC Boice said. “We are behind this kid!”
Playing for the Johnston (Iowa) Youth Football League Packers last season, Rottinghaus connected on 48 of 89 passes for 633 yards and 7 touchdowns while helping his team to a 3-3 record. He also played 4 all-star games.
Saving his best for last, Rottinghaus completed 11 of 16 passes for 194 yards and 3 touchdowns in the Packers’ final game of the regular season. He also rushed for another TD.
With 3 minutes left in the first half of the regular season finale, Rottinghaus drove his team 80 yards and connected on a 25-yard Hail Mary TD pass with no time left on the clock.
“It was a really good season,” Rottinghaus said. “I liked playing with my teammates, my best friends.”
As he prepares for his seventh grade season in the Johnston Youth Football League, Rottinghaus is working to improve his running game while cutting down on interceptions. Continuing to train with NFA will only help him achieve those goals.
Jimmy Rottinghaus coached his son during Peyton’s first six seasons and remembers seeing information about NFA.
“Back in 2012, my wife Emily received an email,” Jimmy recalled. “Peyton had an interest in learning how to be a quarterback and we were looking for someone to teach him. There was a camp in Lincoln and we originally though it was associated with the University of Nebraska. I had a work commitment so my wife took Peyton and she called me two hours into the camp and said, ‘This is something that is totally not what I expected.’ They’re intense camps and NFA has really helped Peyton in his development.”
Training with NFA and working one-on-one with coach Todd Espeland has had a monumental impact on the young QB.
“NFA has helped me a lot,” Peyton Rottinghaus said. “I’ve become a football player on the field and a better leader on and off the field because of all of the things I’ve learned. My confidence level is really high.”
At an NFA camp in Denver last year, Rottinghaus learned the F4 (Frame and Form, Flow and Fire) and incorporated the system into his game. It’s been a huge help.
“I’ve spent a lot of time on it,” he said. “It’s helping me a lot. It’s helped me increase the velocity on my throws, and the ball is jumping out of my hand.”
After a lengthy absence, Lincoln High School football is back.
In 2016, the Links went 5-4 during the regular season, their first winning record in 12 years. Lincoln High also made the Nebraska state playoffs for the first time in 12 years.
Not suprisingly, NFA Nation is beaming with pride over the Links’ successful showing. And there is equal pride in Cedric Case, who was Lincoln High’s starting quarterback as a sophomore, and Chad Case, who is the Links’ offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
“The 2015 season was my first year as offensive coordinator at Lincoln High,” said Chad Case, who is also NFA’s national director of nutrition and a certified QB coach. “We went 4-5 and that was a big accomplishment because it was the most wins we had in over a decade. We had been on some pretty hard times at Lincoln High. This past season, we had graduated quite a few seniors and we knew we had a strong group of kids coming back, a lot of talent, but we were going to be really young. Thankfully, we had a strong group of seniors pick up where last year’s seniors left off. They were great leaders for us this year.”
How young was Lincoln High in 2016? The Links started a total of 11 sophomores throughout the season on both sides of the ball.
“That is a lot of sophomores, and varsity football is meant for juniors and seniors,” Chad said. “But as far as expectations, I felt very confident. That group of sophomores, a lot of them were on the Silverbacks, and 16 of them came to Lincoln High with 11 becoming varsity starters.”
Chad Case coached the Star City Silverbacks, a Lincoln select football team, to national championship wins in 2013 and ’14.
“This past season, it was surreal to watch these young men I was coaching as 7- and 8-year olds, suddenly they’re playing varsity football,” Chad said. “I felt confident that we could compete and I thought, kind of quietly to myself, a goal I had in my mind was to see if we could make a run at the playoffs.”
It wasn’t looking too promising early when the Links lost their first three games, but Chad Case never stopped believing.
“I think a lot of that was the fact that we were so young,” he said. “We just had to keep our wits about ourselves, try to find ourselves as a team. I think it took those first three games to find out out who we were and be able to play with confidence. Once we started to really believe in what we were doing, the kids started playing fast and I think we as a coaching staff got better at identifying what our strengths were and we really started rolling after that.”
Cedric Case provided a huge spark, completing an astounding 133 of 197 pass attempts for 1,880 yards and 19 touchdowns. Equally impressive, the 6-foot-0, 165-pounder was intercepted just five times.
“I’m not surprised because I had been preparing to do those sort of things,” Cedric Case said. “I’ve been putting in the work in to do it and I was surrounded by a great group of backs and receivers and a great offensive line that really stepped up. We had a pretty young o-line, an inexperienced o-line who people were worried about. But they stepped up, matured quickly and they did a great job. They made my job so much easier. I had a lot of good coaching around me, too, so I wasn’t surprised because I felt I was prepared each and every week to execute our game plan.”
Saving his best for last, Cedric passed for 375 yards and 5 touchdowns in Lincoln High’s playoff game, a 55-34 loss to undefeated and eventual state champ Bellevue West.
“It was great to be a part of that, one because our school hadn’t seen that kind of success in a long time and two because my teammates really deserved it,” Cedric said. “We had been working for it all summer and it was great to see the seniors on our team finally get to the playoffs and our head coach (Mark Macke) finally get to the playoffs, Our school hadn’t done that in over a decade. I was proud of that and my teammates made it a whole lot easier on me.”
When the season was in the books, Lincoln High School ranked second in the state in passing, fourth in total yardage and fifth in scoring. In 2015, the Links ranked 20th in Nebraska in passing, 19th in total yardage and 20th in scoring.
Cedric Case broke four single-season school records in 2016 – passing yards, passing TDs, completions and completion percentage (.675).
“Obviously, as a father it’s pretty powerful to watch your son go out there and play and play so well,” Chad Case said. “The thing I’ve become so appreciative of in regards to Cedric is the way that he leads and who he is to his teammates. Those are things that are going to carry through the rest of your life. And that’s what is so wonderful about being with NFA, the men that he’s learned from. Obviously, as his father, I’d like to think I’ve had something to do with that, but it’s good to know he’s had these wonderful men in his life that are helping him to aspire to who he wants to become. It’s pretty powerful. To watch him on the field competing, it’s been one of those things where admittedly, I’ve become very accustomed to watching him perform well in pressure moments. But he just did a wonderful job and it was a lot of fun to watch.”
Chad Case is a veteran presence with NFA, and Cedric has been training with NFA since he was 9 years old.
“NFA is the base of where I learned everthing,” said Cedric, who finished fourth at the Duel among incoming sophomores last July. “Just going through that process with all the different coaches and flying around the nation and gettng to learn all these different tools, it just made me a better quarterback and a better leader and a better person.”
Both Cedric and Chad Case learned the R4 System through NFA, and the results showed this past season at Lincoln High.
“We started using the R4 at Lincoln High two years ago, my first year as the offensive coordinator,” Chad Case said. “I felt like we did a good job for Year 1, when it was all for the pass game. But I tend to be a perfectionist, and I truly want to be the best coach I can be. After that first season, I attended every R4 clinic Dub (Maddox) put on that I could get to. I traveled all over the country just so I could be a student and learn and I came back to Lincoln and started working with the coaches on the staff as far as how we were going to use it in our game-planning process. It was a game-changer. I’m actually really looking forward to going into Year 2 of using the R4 game-planning process because what I found this past season was it streamlined everything we were doing as far as game-prep, breaking down film, communication, having the same common language, being able to identify space.
“What I really liked is as the year progressed we were so much more efficient in our communication and also the players and coaches were all talking the same language,” Chad continued. “As a group, we were beginning to see the same things. It made play-calling so much easier because when we were on the sidelines and we’re making adjustments in game, and you don’t have a lot of time to do it, we were a lot more efficient.”
Cedric Case learned the R4 System during his NFA training and he also helped his teammates unleash its impressive results.
“It really helped,” Cedric said. “It helped everyone understand their position better. As a quarterback knowing the R4 system, I was able to explain to each of my receivers how they could use the R4 System, too. We started using it in the summer and we got more and more in depth into the fall. It made everything a lot easier for everybody on the team.”
JC Boice, NFA’s senior quarterbacks instructor, QB evaluations coordinator and director of business development and strategic alliances, had a strong feeling Chad and Cedric Case would make a major impact on Lincoln High’s varsity football program.
“NFA has a special relationship with Chad and Cedric Case,” Boice said. “We met them in Kansas City, Missouri when Cedric was in fifth grade. Initially, our relationship with them was our normal partnership we have with a player and his parents. It was soon very clear to us that Chad’s coaching career was going to accelerate and he showed a strong interest to incorporate NFA methodology into his coaching approach. Chad is the type of coach, and Cedric is the type of player, we love working with. They are very family-oriented, hard-working and willing to go the extra mile to do things the right way.
“It has been awesome,” Boice continued. “NFA has definitely made Cedric a better quarterback and helped assist Chad in becoming a more impacting coach while they have both made meaningful contributions that have benefited NFA and the NFA family. Chad is now our director of performance nutrition and is doing an outstanding job helping athletes develop healthy lifestyle patterns to maximize potential. Chad has also been an early adopter of NFA’s R4 System. That has helped power the incredibly explosive offense that Chad is operating at Lincoln High. I think the relationship has been a great testament to how good it can be when we can work with good people in a cooperative manner to create better opportunity in the game of football.”
As he looks forward to his junior season with the Links, Cedric Case is looking to be even better than he was as a standout sophomore.
“I want to become more of a run threat,” he said. “I’m working on becoming faster and I feel like I can help my team more if I can become more mobile outside of the pocket. I think that will come as I become bigger and stronger. I also want to become more and more of a leader. As a sophomore, it can be kind of challenging to step up and lead a lot of seniors and older guys. But my coaches have challenged me to become even more of a leader than I was last season.”
Heading into his senior season, Connor Ebeling had a good feeling about his Elkhorn South High School football team.
“Before the season started, we had a camp in Hastings,” Ebeling said. “Coming out of that camp, we knew we had a team that had a lot of talent and championship potential.”
The Storm lived up to the potential and rolled to a perfect 13-0 season while winning the Nebraska Class B state championship game this past season.
With Ebeling at quarterback, Elkhorn South roared out to a 5-0 start while averaging 47 points a game. “At the camp in Hastings before the season started, the coaches thought I was already in mid-season form,” he said. “Heading into the season, I was 100 percent ready. With NFA and all of the training I’ve done with them, it all came together. I was really confident going into the first game.”
It showed. Ebeling threw 11 touchdown passes through the first five games. In Game 2, he set a school record for most passing yards in a half with 292 against Bennington.
An NFA Blackshirt, Ebeling was one of the top passers in the state through the first five games and he was positioned to shatter even more school records.
But at some point in Game 5 – he still can’t put his finger on the specific play – Ebeling was hit and something didn’t feel right. “I didn’t really know what happened, or when it happened,” he said. “I countinued to play and finished the game. I was in a lot of pain, but I finished it.”
After the game, Ebeling was diagnosed with a partial L5 spinal fracture and a herniated disc. “No surgery,” he said. “But it was a long recovery.”
Doctors told Ebeling it would be three months for the injury to heal, meaning his banner senior season came to a screeching halt. “I was really down at first, but my good friends, teammates and my family picked me up,” Ebeling said. “It was just kind of devastating thinking that everything I worked for just pretty much came to an end.”
Losing a bulk of one season to injury is something that happens to football players on both sides of the ball. It is part of a very physical game. But Ebeling also missed much of his junior year with a concussion.
“I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and God has a plan,” Ebeling said. “The injuries, it’s just something freaky, but it’s made me a better person. It’s made me realize that you can never take anything for granted. I cherish every moment I get playing football.”
Ebeling got back on the playing field in the state championship game. Rallying back from a 21-6 deficit against Aurora, Elkhorn South was close to wrapping up a 32-21 win when Storm head coach Guy Rosenberg sent his senior star in to take the final snap and take a knee.
“I think Connor Ebeling is the classiest player I’ve ever coached for the way that he conducted himself,” Rosenberg told the Omaha World Herald. “It was all about the team, not about him.”
Ebeling has always put his team first, and taking the last snap and being on the field for Elkhorn South’s first state title is something he’ll never forget. “That was really cool,” he said. “I’ll always remember that. It was great knowing the coaches were still thinking of me on the final play.”
While he was sidelined with injuries as a junior and senior, Ebeling is going to realize his dream and play college football. In early February, he signed to play at Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas.
“I’m really excited,” Ebeling said. “I’m just kind of counting down the days to when I can go play football again. I took a couple visits to Washburn. I went a week before signing day and that pretty much confirmed that I wanted to go there. It just felt right.”
Ebeling is feeling right again, and he’s playing high level flag football once a week to keep his skills sharp. He also played in the River Battle Bowl in late November, helping Team Nebraska beat Team Iowa 21-12 in the inaugural all-star game.
“It was a lot of fun to get back on the field,” Ebeling said. “On my first play, I threw a 22-yard touchdown pass to Noah Fant, a tight end who is going to play college football at Iowa. It was a great experience.”
The next stop is Washburn, and Ebeling is going to red-shirt during his first year of school. “I think with red-shirting, that’s going to help me get used to game speed,” the 6-foot-2, 180-pounder said. “I can also use that time to lift and get bigger. After my red-shirt season, my goal is to go in and compete for a starting position.”
Training with NFA for the past four years has helped Ebeling get to the collegiate level, where he has a very good chance of making an impact. “NFA has really helped me a lot,” Ebeling said. “They tweaked my mechanics. My arm wasn’t getting all the way through on my passes and they helped me with that, too. That’s helped me throw the ball harder and with more accuracy.”
The next time he is under center, Ebeling’s long-time dream will become a reality. “Since I started playing tackle football in third grade, I’ve always loved the sport,” he said. “And I’ve always looked forward to playing football, and playing in college. I can’t wait to get going. I have a strong arm and I am accurate with my passes. I think I can help benefit the team, on and off the field, whether it’s playing or helping my teammates.”
Cedric Case is a talented young quarterback in Lincoln, Nebraska, and he has a knack for winning football games. Lots of football games.
But Case is not interested in talking about his role in the success of the Star City Silverbacks, a team he helped lead to an 88-5-1 record and two straight national championships.
Case is similarly not interested in talking about his individual accomplishments this season. As the starting quarterback for the Lincoln High School freshman team, Case and the Links got off to a 4-0 start.
Not only was Lincoln averaging around 56 points per game on offense, the defense opened the season with four straight shutouts.
“It’s not about me, but our school is doing great so far,” Case said. “Our team is playing really well and it’s all about how I can help my team win.”
John Goodwin is the freshman head coach and he’s thrilled to have Case under center for the Links, even if it is only for one season.
“Cedric Case was put on this Earth to lead,” Goodwin said. “For our team, he is the eye of the hurricane, which is the calmest part of the storm. In the middle of the chaos, he’s calm, cool and collected. Cedric competes his tail off and leads his team.”
Case has been playing with most of his freshmen teammates since he was a young kid still learning the game. “It’s a good thing,” he said. “I’ve been blessed to play with the same guys since I was 7, 8 years old, so we have a lot of team chemistry. Moving into high school, it’s been great, getting that first year under our belt. We’re playing against guys that are a lot bigger, more mature at this level. It’s just good to see this and experience it first.”
While he doesn’t like taking any individual credit, Case has undoubtedly helped make Lincoln’s offense roll this season. “I’m really happy,” said the 5-foot-7, 130 pounder. “I feel like I get better by going against my teammates in practice. They give me some of the best looks, so that going into a game it makes the reads a lot easier. I feel like I’ve matured a lot mentally with my decision making and practice makes the games a lot easier.”
Case is thrilled to be the QB of such a high potent offense. “My O line does a great job, and I’m not the saying that to sound like I’m being humble,” he said. “I’m being for real when I say that these guys are great every day and they work and work and work so hard. You can see it in the film and you can see it every time they line up. They make my job a lot easier.”
Down the road, Case has positioned himself to emerge as the starting varsity quarterback job at Lincoln.
“Cedric is a QB in our program with many skills far beyond most freshman quarterbacks,” said Mark Macke, the Links’ head varsity coach. “His knowledge of the game and the ability to read coverages serves him well. Not only does he understand the nuances of our offense, he is able to help direct his teammates so that they as well understand our various concepts. Cedric has a very bright future as a quarterback. More importantly, he is an outstanding teammate that is upbeat and positive.
“He is a very accurate passer, outstanding with ball fakes and he continues to improve. I have very high expectations for Cedric as he moves forward in our football program. Lastly, and certainly not least, is the fact that Cedric is a very good student. Cedric takes his academics very serious, as he gets top grades at Lincoln High School.”
Case, a straight-A student who was voted team captain of the freshman team, has been training with NFA for the last six years. His father, Chad, is NFA’s National Director of Nutrition and a veteran coach.
“NFA is where I’ve learned everything,” Cedric Case said. “I went to my first camp when I was 9 years old and thinking that you know a little bit of something. When I was walking out my dad asked me, ‘What do you need to do? What to do you need to improve?’ I said, ‘I need to learn how to throw the football.’ They changed everything and now I feel confident and it’s comfortable. They taught me how to read defenses, footwork, every aspect of the game. If it wasn’t for NFA I don’t think I’d be in the position I am today.”
Keyuo Craver, a former NFL player, a Nebraska Husker Hall of Famer and currently Lincoln High’s defensive backs coach, is already impressed with Case.
“Cedric is definitely a special athlete,” Craver said. “His preparation and work ethic are outstanding and he always keeps a positive atittude on the field. He has great presence in the pocket and also has a great quick release. Most importantly. Cedric is humble and coachable and this will definitely take him far in life.”