Whether you watch football on Friday night, or all day Saturday (in person or on the television), or all day Sunday, you get that football is kind of a lineman’s game. The team’s control the line of scrimmage, generally have a leg up on the competition.
Such has been the case for Class C-1’s top-ranked Wahoo Warriors this fall. Their stats will jump off the page at you, knowing that they held cross-town rival Wahoo Neumann under 100 yards on Friday night it was just another night at the office for Coach Chad Fox’s crew.
“Anytime you can play really great defense in a game like that it’s going to give you a chance to win the game,” Fox said Saturday morning. “Our defensive line is play so well that it gives our linebackers the freedom to flow to the ball and make plays.”
And, boy are they. The Warrior defense is allowing — the numbers are not wrong — 26 yards rushing and 66 yards passing per game through seven contests. They have allowed 26 points — a good game for most — all season.
“We thought coming into the season that one of our best attributes would be our offensive and defensive line play,” Fox said. “We have a pretty deep bunch and we think that in big games it helps that we can keep guys fresh.”
Yes, Fox has a rare combination in Class C-1 that even some of his best players aren’t going both ways, full time at least. The offensive line includes: Nate Fox (TE), Callan Phillips (LT), Brandon Swahn (LG), Gunnar Vanek (C), Brody Specht (RG) and Evan Divis (RT).
Vanek, Phillips, Swahn all start on the defensive line and are joined by nose guard Kalon Cooper. Divis and Fox along with Matthew Holdsworth, Justin Nuckolls and Carson Lavaley provided line depth on the defense, while the offensive line can go 10 deep if needed.
Leading tacklers Kole Bordovsky (78) and Grant Kolterman (70) both play linebacker behind that talented line. They have also paved the way for a rushing attack led by Trevin Luben who has 1,084 yards on 147 carries.
Fox knows the road to wins the playoffs will be keyed by his guys up front.
“We have some big games left on our schedule,” Fox said, the Warrior still play Lakeview and No. 6 Scotus. “Physical teams who like to run the ball and we know that is what we will get in the playoffs, too. We feel like we have a lot of big games ahead of us and we’ll need to play well up front in all of them if we want to be successful.”
First and Ten is back for a fourth week to bring you our Week Seven State Football Rankings. As we have said in the past, 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.
The games begin to carry more and more weight each week. Next week, we’ll see if we can break down the playoff picture.
- Bellevue West (7-0). NSAA playoff points: 3. The only thing to wonder about the Thunderbirds is if they wish they had a bigger test heading into the playoffs. It might be this Friday when they host an improving Omaha North team that is 3-4, but could make a case for 5-2. A big Friday night for both teams. North made need to win to make the playoffs. Last week: 1.
- Millard West (7-0). Points: 1. Continued their waltz through the most difficult schedule in the state, the Wildcats have given three teams (Burke, Millard South and Grand Island) their only loss on the season and they have another win over 5-2 Kearney. You can make a case they are the top team in Class A. This week? 5-2 Lincoln East. Last week: 2.
- Omaha Burke (6-1). Points: 4. After two straight shut outs for the defending champion Bulldogs, they defeated Fremont 59-35 last Friday. District championship game is this week against Millard North, who has won three straight after an 0-4 start with all losses to ranked teams. Last week: 4.
- Lincoln Southeast (6-1). Points: 2. A running game — Nick Haleen leads Class A in rushing — and a defense usually bode well in football. The Knights do both pretty well. Allowed a touchdown or less in five of seven games. A waved off last second field goal in week one against Burke away from 7-0. Last week: 5.
- Omaha Westside (6-1). Points: t6. Since losing to Lincoln Southeast 22-17 in week three, the Warriors have been on a tear. It was most evident last Friday when they jumped on Elkhorn South early and pulled away 38-7. A week nine showdown with Millard South could determine a top-four playoff seed. But, first, Columbus. Last week: 6.
- Millard South (6-1). Points: t6. Last week: 7.
- Grand Island (6-1). Points: . Last week: 3.
- Kearney (5-2). Points: t9. Last week: 9.
- Elkhorn South (4-3). Points: t9. Last week: 8
- Omaha Creighton Prep (6-1). Points: 8. Last week: 10.
Comments: The same ten as ranked last week and, as has been noted, it would take a major shake up to move another team in the rankings. Grand Island drops from 3rd to 7th for their loss to Millard West, but the three one-loss teams that played MW (Burke 24-7; Millard South 25-14 and GISH 20-7) all had similar scores. Elkhorn South drops from 8th to 9th for their big loss to Westside. Man, the quarterfinal Friday in the playoffs looks like it could be a real treat. Playoffs: top-two in each of six districts and next four wild card teams.
- Omaha Skutt (7-0). NSAA playoff points: 2. We write about Tyson Gordon a bunch in this space. Maybe for good reason. He accounted for four touchdowns in Friday night’s 28-21 double overtime win over No. 3 Waverly. Last week: 1.
- Scottsbluff (7-0). Points: 1. Rinse. Lather. Repeat. Another big win for Scottsbluff on Friday (in the snow) over Lexington. A win over Alliance this week and a McCook win over Gering means a district championship game against the Bison in week nine. Last week: 2.
- Waverly (6-1). Points: 3. They keep getting closer to Skutt and gave a game effort at home on Friday so the loss does not impact their rating. Plattsmouth and Ralston to let them get ready for the playoffs. Looks like the Vikings will have a top-four seed for November. Last week: 3.
- Grand Island Northwest (6-1). Points: 4. Vikings still nursing injuries, but defense will take you a long, long way in football. On Friday, they allowed York to return the opening kick for a touchdown, but after that only gave up 134 yards in a 28-7 win. Crete on Senior Night before a trip to No. 5 Hastings for a district championship. Last week: 4.
- Hastings (6-1). Points: 6. Impressive 24-14 win over an improving, then No. 10 Seward. The Tigers defense has been stout since a week three loss to Scottsbluff. The defense is second in points allowed in Class B. Last week: 5.
- Omaha Roncalli (5-2). Points: 5. Last week: 6.
- Elkhorn Mt. Michael (6-1). Points: 7. Last week: 7.
- Bennington (4-3). Points: 9. Last week: 8.
- Norris (5-2). Points: 8. Last week: 9.
- McCook (4-3). Points: 10. Last week: NR.
Comments: We bring back McCook as they get to 4-3 with a win over Class C-1 Holdrege, but you can still make a strong case for Seward here. The top-9 went 8-1, with the only loss being Waverly’s loss to Omaha Skutt, so no changes to the first nine. Playoffs: Four district champions and 12 wild cards.
- Wahoo (7-0). NSAA playoff points: 2. Warriors keep rolling with a 23-6 win over Neumann. Continue their “playoffs” with games against Lakeview and Scotus before the November run. Last week: 1.
- Pierce (7-0). Points: t3. The Bluejays continue to roll through their schedule. Carson Oestrich and Brett Tinker lead a powerful ground game as Pierce is passing less than 10 times a game. Wins over Ord and Columbus Scotus earlier this year, and a win this week over West Point-Beemer would clinch the district title. Last week: 2.
- Adams Central (7-0). Points: 1. District championship showdown and another chance for a big win this week for the Patriots as they play No. 9 Kearney Catholic. Plenty of talk about the AC offense, but defense has three shutouts. Last week: 3.
- Aurora (4-3). Points: 10. After difficult 1-3 start, it appears the Huskies are back on track to make the playoffs — a place they have been every season since 2003. Would clinch their district with a win over Milford and a Central City loss. Otherwise district final game is week 9 against Bison. Last week: 4.
- Ashland-Greenwood (7-0). Points: t3. Won a 57-34 shootout with Lincoln Christian on Friday, now have two 4-3 teams left (Nebraska City and Lincoln Lutheran). The latter with Lutheran, likely for the district title as both are 3-0 in the district.. Last week: 5.
- Columbus Scotus (6-1). Points: 6. Last week: 6.
- Bishop Neumann (5-2). Points: 8. Last week: 7.
- Gothenburg (6-1). Points: 7. Last week: 8.
- Kearney Catholic (6-1). Points: 5. Last week: 9.
- Ord (5-2). Points: 11. Last week: 10.
Comments: Not much to say here. The ten ranked teams went 9-1, with the loss being Neumann to Wahoo and there is no penalty for the Cavaliers. Playoffs: Eight district champions and eight wild cards.
- St. Paul (7-0). NSAA playoff points: 4. As we said last week, the Wildcats just keep putting their head down and taking care of business. Dominating win over Class C-1 O’Neill on Friday. They’ll play a district championship game against Centura this week. O-C, quite frankly, is nipping at their heels here. Last week: 1.
- Oakland-Craig (7-0). Points: 3. Jumped to a 30-0 (30-0!!!) against unbeaten Fremont Bergan in the first quarter and cruised. They make a healthy case for No. 1 and could earn it with wins over Yutan and BRLD to end the season. Four shutouts in seven games. When they allowed 13? Up 50-0 at the half. When they allowed 20? Scored 71. Last week: 3.
- BRLD (7-0). Points: 5. Shut out Louisville on Friday, 58-0. Now the bigger tests await. They travel to Fremont Bergan this week and then face Oakland-Craig to end the regular season. Wolverines have one of the top offenses in the class. Last week: 2.
- Sutton (6-1). Points: 1. Mustangs here because they are still unbeaten in the class with their lone loss to Class C-1 Kearney Catholic. Also have wins against unranked district leaders North Platte St. Pat’s and Wilber-Clatonia. Last week: 6.
- Battle Creek (6-1). Points: 10. Six straight wins for the Braves, who lost their opener to Shelby-Rising City 7-3. They defeated Norfolk Catholic for the first time since 2002 on Friday night. This week’s game with Hartington Cedar Catholic will determine a playoff spot and the district championship. Last week: 8.
- Centennial (4-3). Points: 11. Last week: 9.
- Shelby-Rising City (6-1). Points: 2. Last week: 4.
- Aquinas Catholic (6-1). Points: 7. Last week: 5.
- Doniphan-Trumbull (6-1). Points: 9. Last week: 10.
- North Bend Central (6-1). Points: 6. Last week: unranked
Comments: Want to have some fun on any of the next two Fridays? Pick a District 4 game to attend (Centennial, Shelby-Rising City, Aquinas Catholic and North Bend are all ranked and all 2-1 in the district) because anyone can beat anyone. Last week? Centennial got then unbeaten SRC and NBC bounced back to beat Aquinas. So, NBC re-enters and Fremont Bergan (6-1) falls out for the 52-0 loss to Oakland-Craig. Playoffs: Seven district champions, nine wild cards.
- Howells-Dodge (6-0). Points: 1. Last week: 1.
- Wakefield (5-1). Points: 6 (no playoffs). Last week: 2.
- BDS (6-0). Points: 3. Last week: 4.
- Dundy County-Stratton (6-0). Points: 7. Last week: 5.
- Elm Creek (6-0). Points: 5. Last week: 6.
- Cambridge (6-0). Points: t11. Last week: 7.
- Wisner-Pilger (6-0). Points: t11. Last week: 8.
- Arcadia-Loup City (5-1). Points: 13. Last week: NR.
- Fullerton (5-1). Points: 4. Last week: NR.
- Neligh-Oakdale (5-1). Points: t8. Last week: 10.
Comments: Holy cow, what to do with D-1 after North Central’s upset of No. 3 Creighton and Arcadia-Loup City’s 36-6 thrashing of Burwell? Creighton and Burwell have to drop out. Last week’s 4-8 all jump up a spot. This give room for Arcadia-Loup City and Fullerton (who beat ALC in week one). We note the Warriors have a loss to Ravenna, which if playoff ineligible. The Bluejays and Lutheran High Northeast would likely be the next two teams here, with LHNE getting a shot at the rankings in final week of the regular season against N-O. The Eagles lone losses are to H-D and Wakefield. Elmwood-Murdock with a loss to BDS and a win over defending D-2 champion Johnson-Brock is knocking on the door as well. Also Sutherland is still undefeated and unranked. Clinched districts: BDS (1). Playoff qualifiers: 10 district champions, 22 wild cards. Sorted west-to-east and seeded 1-16.
- Humphrey St. Francis (6-0). NSAA playoff points: t7. Last week: 1.
- Falls City Sacred Heart (6-0). Points: 6. Last week: 2.
- Bloomfield (6-0). Points: t7. Last week: 3.
- CWCE (6-0). Points: t7. Last week: 4.
- Central Valley (6-0). Points: t7. Last week: 5.
- Sandhills/Thedford (6-0). Points: 15. Last week: 6.
- Garden County (7-0). Points: 13. Last week: 7.
- Johnson-Brock (5-1). Points: 4. Last week: 8.
- Plainview (6-0). Points: t7. Last week: NR.
- Kenesaw (5-1). Points: 1. Last week: 9.
Comments: Ten games, ten wins for the Class D-2 top-10 last week. But, we move Overton out of the rankings to make way for undefeated Plainview who defeated Riverside 62-32 on Friday night — a win equal to No. 5 Central Valley’s in the opening week. The top nine teams are still undefeated in the class. Clinched districts: Garden County (9). Playoff qualifiers: nine district champions, 23 wild cards. Sorted west-to-east and seeded 1-16.
- Harvard (7-0). NSAA playoff points: 3. Last week: 1.
- McCool Junction (7-0). Points: 6. Last week: 2.
- Humphrey/Lindsay HF (5-1). Points: t6 (no playoffs) Last week: 3.
- Creek Valley (6-0). Points: 1. Last week: 4.
- Cody-Kilgore (6-0). Points: 2. Last week: 5.
- Sioux County (6-0). Points: 4. Last week: 6.
- Eustis-Farnam (5-2). Points: 5. Last week: 7.
- GI Heartland Lutheran (5-1). Points: 8. Last week: 8.
- Maywood-Hayes Center (4-2). Points: 7. Last week: 9.
- Wilcox-Hildreth (4-2). Points: 11. Last week: 10.
Comments: The top nine teams all won and remain in the same spots. Cody-Kilgore and Sioux County will battle this week, but the result may only be a flip-flop in the rankings. Wilcox-Hildreth lost to Eustis-Farnam 86-34, but there is no one to replace them at 10th so they stay. Harvard is an interesting case study for rest. They are off next week, and then have Hampton to finish this season with the possibility of a forfeited game. McCool Junction will play Dorchester next week and then have a week off before the playoffs. Clinched districts: Harvard, McCool Junction. Playoff qualifiers: six district champions, 10 wild cards.