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First and Ten: Our State Football Rankings

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We might regret this someday (sooner than later), but we are going to take a stab at ranking each class in the state and then throw it to you for feedback. We won’t hide behind our rankings on Twitter. In fact, we want to engage with you (and your team) about them. High school football is supposed to be fun, let’s make it that way.

Why First and Ten? Well, we’d like to put our rankings out first (before you see them in the newspaper) and, because, well, we are going to rank ten teams in each class. Then, we’ll throw them to Twitter for your feedback for next week. So, here we go.

Class A

  1. Bellevue West (4-0). NSAA playoff points: 2. First real test came Friday in a 36-13 win over Elkhorn South. We are not sure if another one will come until playoffs. Remaining teams schedule have an 8-12 record.
  2. Millard West (4-0). Points: 1. The best resume on paper after a 25-14 win over Millard South on Friday night. Tristan Gomes is a gamer and the defense is allowing under 10 points per game. Best schedule so far, too. Future tests with Kearney and Grand Island.
  3. Millard South (3-1). Points: 11. Keeping the Patriots here because the game was close most of the way with the Cats, and, quite frankly we are not sure about the rest of Class A. Millard South has all the pieces to play for the title.
  4. Grand Island (4-0). Points: 3. Most seem to forget where the Islanders finished the season last November and who coaches them. Carson Cahoy is second in the state in passing. GISH awaits a playoff style finish: Millard West, Lincoln Southwest and Lincoln East.
  5. Omaha Creighton Prep (4-0). Points: 6. Sometimes, fate is on your side and it maybe for the Junior Jays who have won games by 3, 4 and 1 point so far. They get a chance to prove the ranking this week when they host Omaha Westside.
  6. Omaha Burke (3-1). Points: t4.
  7. Lincoln Southeast (3-1). Points: t4.
  8. Omaha Westside (3-1). Points: 12.
  9. Elkhorn South (3-1). Points: 7.
  10. Kearney (3-1). Points: t9.

Comments: This will have a little more clarity by then end of week six, it appears. The biggest games this week that could impact rankings are the previously mentioned Westside, Prep showdown and hard luck Omaha North at Lincoln Southeast on Thursday. The Vikings (1-3) have lost by a field goal to Prep and on a late score by Omaha Burke on Friday night. Could easily be 3-1.

Northwest receiver Sean Juengst (31) is tackled by a pair of McCook defenders after a first quarter reception. (Northwest Striv / Addison Chapman)

Class B

  1. Omaha Skutt (4-0). NSAA playoff points: 3. Points allowed has been a concern, but the Skyhawks are here until someone proves otherwise. Tyson Gordon has been fantastic leading the offense and they have won 17 straight.
  2. Scottsbluff (4-0). Points: 1. Bearcats have not missed a beat under new head coach Jud Hall. Quarterback/linebacker/kicker/punter/bus driver Sebastian Harsh may be the top player in the class. Rushing game and line play is built for another November run.
  3. Waverly (4-0). Points: 2nd. Vikings are running over every one and have solid wins over Omaha Roncalli, Seward and Bennington who can all make claims to a ranking in this 24-team class. Another test on Friday with Norris (3-1) and Skutt comes on October 11.
  4. Grand Island Northwest (3-1). Points: t6. The Vikings are doing everything with their defense and a really good kicking game so far. Have given up less than 10 points in three contests and led Scottsbluff 13-12 with 4:30 left in their game a week ago. Five good games left on their schedule begins with homecoming against Seward.
  5. Hastings (3-1). Points: t6. Like Northwest, a big early win over McCook and some good stuff to back it up. The Tigers offense looks to be explosive, but the difference in the ranking is the Scottsbluff result.
  6. Omaha Roncalli (2-2). Points: 8.
  7. Bennington (2-2). Points: 5.
  8. McCook (2-2). Points: 10.
  9. Elkhorn Mt. Michael (4-0). Points: 4.
  10. Norris (3-1). Points: 9.

Comments: Bennington and Omaha Roncalli get to shake out their ranking this week. Mt. Michael’s trip to Roncalli on October 4th could clarify the Knights ranking. McCook now in a real stretch of winnable games until a week nine battle with Scottsbluff. Norris, York and Seward battle for the final spot in this week’s rankings.

Class C-1

  1. Wahoo (4-0). NSAA playoff points: t1. The Warriors can run it and they have been impressive so far. Likely 6-0 before playing three likely playoff teams to end the season: Neumann, Lakeview and Scotus.
  2. Pierce (4-0). Points: t1. You can certainly argue the Bluejays for the top spot. Impressive back-to-back wins over Ord and Scotus with once-beatens Wayne and Lakeview on tap the next two weeks. About the only thing standing between Pierce and 9-0.
  3. Adams Central (4-0). Points: 4. As tested as anyone, the Patriots have wins over defending champion Aurora and now last week against Gothenburg, who could be the class of the “west” here. AC doing it with defense, too.
  4. Bishop Neumann (4-0). Points: 5th. For the first time without Tim Turman in decades, the Cavaliers are off to a promising start. They get to prove this one over the next few weeks: at Lakeview, Scotus, at Wahoo.
  5. Ashland-Greenwood (4-0). Points: t1. You play who the state gives you and A-G is perfect against four teams that are all 2-2 and of the five remaining games only Falls City has a wining record.
  6. Aurora (1-3). Points: 22.
  7. Ord (3-1). Points: 10.
  8. Columbus Scotus (3-1). Points: 6.
  9. Gothenburg (3-1). Points: 8.
  10. Wayne (3-1). Points: 7.

Comments: Aurora controls their own fate for the playoffs as district play begins after facing Wahoo and Adams Central in non-district play. They have a lone win over 3-1 Kearney Catholic and led Class B, No. 4 Northwest 8-3 at half on Friday.

Class C-2

  1. St. Paul (4-0). NSAA playoff points: 7th. After a big win against Norfolk Catholic, the Wildcats may not be tested until the playoffs. That can be a good or bad thing. Eli Larsen may be one of the best two-way players in the class.
  2. BRLD (4-0). Points: t8. A talented bunch that won the state basketball championship last season. Should be 7-0 until finishing with Bergan and Oakland-Craig.
  3. Oakland-Craig (4-0). Points: t8.  The Knights have been impressive on both sides of the ball including a 50-point first half against perennial power Hartington Cedar Catholic. They get Bergan in week 7 before that week nine showdown.
  4. Shelby-Rising City (4-0). Points: 1st.  If you don’t remember where the Huskies ended their season last year, let’s remind you. Another big early season win over Battle Creek and they will have to survive a LOADED district that has three ranked teams, two more who are 3-1 and defending champion Centennial (2-2).
  5. Sutton (4-0). Points: t3. Impressive start for the Mustangs which gets to hammer out this ranking with Doniphan-Trumbull this Friday.
  6. Doniphan-Trumbull (4-0). Points: t3.
  7. Aquinas Catholic (3-1). Points: 13.
  8. Fremont Archbishop Bergan (4-0). Points: 6.
  9. North Bend Central (4-0). Points: 2.
  10. Battle Creek (3-1). Points: t4.

Comments: Maybe the hardest class to rank, to be fair. Still eight unbeatens and a load of one loss talent led by Aquinas (which is undefeated in C-2). Clarity will come soon, but eight of the 10 teams are in just three of the seven districts in the class. The first round of the playoffs will be interesting.

Class D-1

  1. Burwell (3-0). NSAA playoff points: t20.
  2. Howells-Dodge (4-0). Points: t4.
  3. Wakefield (2-1). Points: 2nd (ineligible for playoffs)
  4. Creighton (2-1). Points: t9.
  5. BDS (3-0). Points: t5.
  6. Dundy County-Stratton (3-0). Points: 14.
  7. Fullerton (3-0). Points: 3.
  8. Wisner-Pilger (3-0). Points: 1.
  9. Cambridge (3-0). Points: t4.
  10. East Butler (2-1). Points: t9.

Comments: Still searching for clarity in Class D-1 as well, but the “programs” seem to make their way to the top of the list. H-D owns a 2-point win over Wakefield, which owns a 6-point win over Creighton. Still 13 unbeatens in this class.

Class D-2

  1. Humphrey St. Francis (3-0). NSAA playoff points: 15.
  2. Falls City Sacred Heart (3-0). Points: 11.
  3. Bloomfield (3-0). Points: t3
  4. CWCE (3-0). Points: t3.
  5. Central Valley (3-0). Points: t3.
  6. Pleasanton (3-0). Points: 1.
  7. Sandhills/Thedford (4-0). Points: 13.
  8. Garden County (4-0). Points: 9.
  9. Johnson-Brock (2-1). Points: 17.
  10. Kenesaw (2-1). Points: t20.

Comments: Lots of stuff going on in Class D-2, but traditional powers also take control here with St. Francis and Sacred Heart leading the way. Defending champion Johnson-Brock has only a loss to Class D-1 Elmwood-Murdock and could be 6-1 heading to a final week match up with FSCH.

Class Six-Man

  1. Harvard (3-0). NSAA playoff points: t4.
  2. McCool Junction (4-0). Points: t4.
  3. Wilcox-Hildreth (3-0). Points: 2nd
  4. Humphrey/Lindsay HF (2-1). Points: 8 (ineligible for playoffs)
  5. Creek Valley (4-0). Points: 1.
  6. Cody-Kilgore (3-0). Points: t2.
  7. Sioux County (3-0). Points: t6.
  8. GI Heartland Lutheran (3-0). Points: t6.
  9. Dorchester (3-0). Points: t9.
  10. Crawford (3-0). Points: t9.

Comments: Six-Man will begin to sort itself out this week as well, as nine teams are still undefeated. The lone loss for a ranked team is fourth-ranked Humphrey/Lindsay Holy Family’s 52-41 loss to McCool Junction in week two. The Bulldogs now appear set to run the table, but are not eligible for the playoffs due to enrollment.

Why I Coach – Sharon Zavala

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