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September 9, 2012While the waters continue to settle as we finishing our third week of football there is still room for some surprises, as witness by Friday's results.
(As you can tell, this week's it's not really "Saturday Morning Quarterback" you are reading; I had duties that kept me away from the office all day yesterday...at least until, much like the Husker defense, I wasted three hours of my life by watching the UCLA game. But I digress...)
My night started in the late afternoon, watching the first half of Millard South's 28-20 win over Lincoln Southeast. As expected, both teams are physically impressive and skilled. Two Southeast players who caught my eye were all-world prospect D.J. Foster, who plays well and with a tremendous edge, and linebacker Jordan Ackerman, a 6-3, 235-pound senior who can move and delivers a punishing blow.
Millard South rode a gritty running effort by senior Bennie Olson, who carried the ball 27 times for 121 yards and two TDs after an injury sidelined the Patriots' other running back, Quentin Williams. He did so riding the back of an awfully impressive line which includes a pair of superb sophomores, 305-pound Austin Kraft and 240-pound Christian Jelinek. It was my first chance to see those two play and they are very impressive. Very impressive.
That was a great win for Millard South, much like Kearney's 19-6 win over visiting Lincoln Southwest. Banking on outstanding team speed, the Bearcats held up physically against Southwest, which was something like 30 to 40 pounds bigger across the line, and then turned it over the outstanding senior QB Luke McNitt, who rushed for two touchdowns.,
Kearney plays at No. 1 Millard North on Thursday night and that turns out to be even more interesting that it seemed last Thursday.
Elsewhere on Friday I took in parts of the Centura at Sutton, Ravenna at St. Cecilia and Wilber-Clatonia at Adams Central games. Some quick thoughts...
* Sutton is off to a fast 3-0 start and I can see why; outstanding team speed and a veteran line that gives those skill players room to move. Centura is an improving program but on this night the Centurions simply couldn't stem the tide of big plays, which included a barrage of big plays at the hand of junior QB Cole Wiseman, who accounted for five touchdowns, three of them on the ground, four of them covering 37 yards or more.
* The new-look Ravenna team held its ground against St. Cecilia; actually, it was more the other way around, as the Bluejays won the game every way you can...except on the scoreboard. Again, team speed was a factor for Ravenna's success, and the play of sophomore QB Blake Chramosta was impressive, as was that of the team's new fullback, former all-district center Josh Boardman, who rushed for 132 yards, including a 61-yard TD.
For St. Cecilia, senior linebacker Joel Grafel played the best game I've seen from him over these past three years. He's bigger than ever, looking strong and letting his physical play do the talking. It's speaking loudly.
* Eight turnovers on the road is no way to go about beating the No. 3 team in the state. That was Wilber-Clatonia's plight the other night, but give AC credit for getting it done with two of its outstanding starters, all-state running back Jake Fowler and receiver Blake Overmiller on the sideline due to injury.
Wilber proved it could hang with a great team like Adams Central, adding depth to what is shaping up to be a tremendous Class C-1 top ten and (not already!) postseason...
About a few other games:
Omaha Skutt 23, Elkhorn 0. I'm not a great typist but about that second number; I didn't leave out a numeral, it's supposed to be a "0." Skutt handed Elkhorn its first shutout loss since 1980 - 1980! - and further stamped itself as a Class B powerhouse.
Gretna 20, Norris 9. Disappointing loss in a "prove it" game for Norris but the win by Gretna, against a top five team, is further proof of Skutt's greatness in the early season; Skutt embarrassed Gretna, 30-7, on Opening Night. Guess Gretna's back in business...
Norfolk Catholic 35, Boone Central 31. Seems fitting the final score would match the icon numbers from the 1971 Nebraska-Oklahoma game (a stretch, but stay with me...). Great champions find ways to win great games against great opponents and NC did just that, scoring with just over a minute to go to put aside Boone's upset bid.
SMC 14, Mullen 6. This one made me smile. SMC has been getting its brains kicked in for the past couple of season while Mullen was coming off its stunning win over D-1 No. 3 Twin Loup. Name to remember: Austin Starr, a great athlete in that SMC backfield.
Gibbon 13, Ogallala 7. Break up the Buffaloes! Last week they won with offense, putting up 33 against Wood River, this time they do it with defense against Ogallala, an outstanding program which is struggling in the opening weeks of the season.
Wakefield 22, Stanton 12. Wakefield, which won back-to-back state titles just a couple of years ago, won once last season. In fact, the past three years have been a bit of a train wreck for the Trojans. However, this makes two wins in a row for WHS, which has got to make for a great sense of achievement for the boys in maroon and white.
Burwell 55, Loup City 18: Burwell has a veteran team and a couple of great playmakers in running back Alec Galvan and QB Sage Gideon. Keep an eye on these guys...
Elkhorn South 23, Waverly 8. Our preseason No. 2 wins a second straight game, taking down Waverly, which had opened by beating No. 1 Elkhorn but has now lost two in a row...to top ten teams.
Southern Valley 14, Hershey 6. Great win for the Eagles, who other district coaches said this summer would be a much improved team. After getting battered by Doniphan-Trumbull last week they show some resilience with this win.
Blue Hill 28, Doniphan-Trumbull 18. Football is only a game and that point was driven home in sad, dramatic fashion last week in the Blue Hill community, in the aftermath of another school bus crash. Putting all that emotion aside, or maybe riding it all game long, the Bobcats somehow not only played but won this game.
Games are fun but they are only games. Our prayers go out to all those affected by the crash and its aftermath.