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August 30, 2014

Saturday Morning (Barely) Quarterback

There was, as usual, plenty of wackiness on Opening Night to our high school football. Some of it resulted in upsets, or seeming upsets, some of them simply wacky in terms of final margin of victory.

Now would be a good time for you to follow me @HuskerlandBob. Just sayin'.

Back to my opening point. For instance, beforehand you could tell me Omaha Skutt would beat Beatrice and that wouldn't shock me. But having the Skyhawks up 28-0 at halftime and win by 35 (42-7), that did. (That gulp you just heard was every other Class B team.)

Or that Exeter-Milligan, like Skutt a defending state champ, would beat Kenesaw, which won only twice last year. OK, that could easily happen but a 52-26 outcome - which was much more one-sided than that - was a bit of a shocker to me. (Though not to my Exeter-Milligan friends on Twitter. Trust me.)

We had a preseason No. 1 go down, as in Class C-2 Oakland-Craig edged Archbishop Bergan, 7-6. Great win for the Knights, flashing a great defensive effort against Bergan's high octane offense, and it's exactly the type of opener which could propel Oakland-Craig to a playoff final four type of season. It really could. The past two seasons O-C has lost tough decisions to good teams, maybe in 2014 it's payback time.

Bellevue West is going to be very good this year, knew that, but to shut out Omaha Westside 41-0...yikes, the T-Birds come out of the gate smokin' hot.

Norris has three starters back and was on the road at 2013 Class B state runner-up York. Didn't matter, the Titans grabbed an early lead and held off the Dukes, 21-20. Nothing says your program has become more than a one-year wonder than to take a bunch of non-starters and beat a defending state champ. Just sayin'.

One of hot summertime topics was the fact long time Class B Holdrege would be dropping to Class C-1. With the move the Dusters would become an immediate impact team, correct? Well, yes, given they last night subdued top ten Gothenburg, 13-10.

In that neck of the woods defending C-1 champ Cozad had its hands full with much improved Ogallala before pulling away to a 25-13 win. BTW, not sure what the kind folks at Ogallala did to the NSAA schedulers but it must have been pretty bad - after Cozad the Indians get No. 3 Kearney Catholic, Holdrege and Gothenburg. Ugh.

Always a wild card due to the liquid nature of the roster, Boys Town came out of the gates with a nice win, toppling preseason No. 10 Lincoln Christian, 25-14. Last year was not vintage Boys Town but it could be the Cowboys are in for a big bounce-back season.

Another telling outcome was Papillion-LaVista South's 21-3 domination of Omaha Burke. Both those teams like to play the same way - smash mouth running game, brutish defense - and on Friday Papio South had the upper hand. Expect that to happen a lot this season.

Outside of the top ten there were a couple of very pleasing results, at least to the fan in me, as both Sandy Creek and North Platte opened the season with wins. Both teams were winless in 2013, so Sandy's 16-13 victory over an improved Centura and the Bulldogs' 34-0 thumping of Columbus were fun to see. Hopefully both of those teams can string a few together for season's end.

* I took in three games over the weekend, starting with Omaha Central's 28-18 win over stubborn Lincoln North Star at Seacrest Field on Thursday night. (FYI, it will be exciting to see the improvements that will be made to the stadium after this season, including new seating and a new press box.)

Went there mostly to see future Husker Daishon Neal and he didn't disappoint. He's clearly a gifted athlete, who at 6-7 and 245 pounds can run sideline to sideline to make plays, often chasing plays down from the backside of the defense. To me he looked like a cobra, always ready to strike. And they tell me he's getting better every day, become more and more sure of himself as his body matures.

Good luck, rest of Class A.

* My first game Friday was at David City where in a mud bowl Aquinas held on for a 7-0 overtime victory. (Initially I was thrown off the scent when the TV reported a Cedar Catholic win but I later figured it out.)

The final score pretty much represents the type of game it was, rough and tumble, every yard earned, as the muddy conditions slowed the game into a defensive battle. I stand by my earlier estimation, Cedar Catholic could still wind up a state champion this year, but here again you have a great program in Aquinas - five titles, last three state finals - which simply refused to lose. On an evening where big offensive plays were all but non existent, Cedar blocked a couple of Aquinas field goal attempts to keep the game scoreless but never could get its offense going against the great Aquinas D. (Note: loved watching Mitchell White in the Aquinas line; the kid can play.)

On a personal note, there was an all-star cast of media types on the sidelines at David City. Anytime I can stand on sacred ground with likes of Tom Behmer, Peggy Year, Rob Dump and Jeremy Buss I have had a bucket list evening.

* It's an hour from David City to Albion (at a safe, sane speed, of course) but it's a trip I made because I really wanted to see if Columbus Scotus could give Boone Central/Newman Grove a workout. The Shamrocks did that, especially in the first half, but in the end it was too much Wyatt Mazour and his cronies, as the Cardinals scored a 31-14 win.

Again, Scotus is a good team but Boone looked the part of a preseason No. 1. Mazour is a difference maker but he's surrounded with good skill players and the Boone line is again very strong. Stay tuned.

Great start to the season - love the surprises, even the ones which make me look like a dope - and now on to hoping the Huskers look great in their opener this afternoon...


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