The picks sure to go wrong and provide some upstart team a little bulletin board material. Our Tony Chapman projects the entire 2022 state football playoffs. (That’s a link to his Twitter if you want to roast him when he’s wrong.)
Without further ado..
First round: Omaha Westside over Papillon-LaVista. Lincoln Southwest over Millard West. Millard South over Kearney. Grand Island over Omaha North. Elkhorn South over Lincoln East. Creighton Prep over North Platte. Bellevue West over Papio South. Gretna over Lincoln Southeast.
Quarterfinals: Westside over Lincoln Southwest. Millard South over Grand Island. Elkhorn South over Creighton Prep. Gretna over Bellevue West.
Semifinals: Westside over Millard South. Elkhorn South over Gretna.
Champion: Elkhorn South
Wild card: Bellevue West.
Quick thoughts: The picker likes line play and running backs in November so we have a slight lean to the Storm. That said this is as deep and wild a Class A field as there has been in awhile. As many as six different teams could pull it off.
First round: Bennington over Beatrice. Elkhorn North over Pius. Waverly over Norris. Elkhorn over Northwest. Scottsbluff over Plattsmouth. Blair over Skutt Catholic. York over Seward. Gross Catholic over Mount Michael.
Quarterfinals: Bennington over Elkhorn North. Elkhorn over Waverly. Scottsbluff over Blair. Gross Catholic over York.
Semifinals: Bennington over Elkhorn. Gross Catholic over Scottsbluff.
Champion: Omaha Gross Catholic
Wild card: Northwest
Quick thoughts: Gross — opted up from Class C-1 — with its 27 seniors feels like a feel good story for the ages. And, hey, sometimes we pick with our heart for the good story to happen. Could Northwest — with four one possession losses — finally get one to go there way and make a run?
First round: Aurora over Scotus Central Catholic. Omaha Roncalli over Lincoln Christian. Boone Central over Minden. Ashland-Greenwood over Auburn. McCook over Broken Bow. Adams Central over Platteview. Columbus Lakeview over Wahoo. Pierce over Central City.
Quarterfinals: Aurora over Roncalli. Boone Central over Ashland-Greenwood. McCook over Adams Central. Pierce over Columbus Lakeview.
Semifinals: Aurora over Boone Central. Pierce over McCook.
Wild card: Ashland-Greenwood
Quick thoughts: In their nine-game schedule Aurora beat seven playoff teams and only allowed 20 points once. On the other side, Pierce beat five. It’s the collision course we asked for all season, so we’ll see if we get it. The A-G, Boone quarterfinal could be the best match up in the bracket — a complete toss up.
First round: Hastings St. Cecilia over Valentine. Battle Creek over Gordon-Rushville. Cedar Catholic over Mitchell. Malcolm over Archbishop Bergan. Norfolk Catholic over Yutan. Bishop Neumann over Lincoln Lutheran. Oakland-Craig over Fillmore Central. Ord over Chase County.
Quarterfinals: Hastings St. Cecilia over Battle Creek. Cedar Catholic over Malcolm. Norfolk Catholic over Bishop Neumann. Oakland-Craig over Ord.
Semifinals: Ceda Catholic over Hastings St. Cecilia. Norfolk Catholic over Oakland-Craig.
Champion: Norfolk Catholic
Wild card: Malcolm
Quick thoughts: No one played Norfolk Catholic as tough as Cedar Catholic did in week nine, so we take a flyer on the Trojans here. But we can see as many as four teams from that side in the final. An Ord, O-C quarterfinal? Yes, please.
First round: North Platte St. Patricrk’s over Sandy Creek. Elmwood-Murdock over Hi-Line. Neligh-Oakdale over Heartland. Riverside over Summerland. Stanton over Ravenna. Thayer Central over Nebraska Christian. Clarkson/Leigh over Crofton. Laurel-Concord-Coleridge over Weeping Water.
Quarterfinals: Elmwood-Murdock over St. Pat’s. Neligh-Oakdale over Riverside. Thayer Central over Stanton. Clarkson/Leigh over Laurel-Concord-Coleridge.
Semifinals: Neligh-Oakdale over Elmwood-Murdock. Thayer Central over Clarkson/Leigh.
Wild card: Stanton
Quick thoughts: Key injuries have made this one a tough bracket to analyze. So, again with our heart for Aiden Kuester to break Scott Frost’s total offense record – he is already the 8-man record holder – on his way to a state title. As wide open as any class, the bottom could turn into a mess for us. Our pick hinges on the health of Thayer Central sophomore Sam Souerdyke to give the Titans the best 1-2 punch in the backfield in the class.
First round: Howells-Dodge over South Loup. Johnson-Brock over Dundy County-Stratton. Sandhills/Thedford over Central Valley. BDS over Lawrence-Nelson. Wynot over Twin Loup. Osceola over Bloomfield. Ainsworth over Elm Creek. Hitchcock County over Humphrey St. Francis.
Quarterfinals: Howells-Dodge over Johnson-Brock. BDS over Sandhills/Thedford. Wynot over Osceola. Hitchcock County over Ainsworth.
Semifinals: Howells-Dodge over BDS. Hitchcock County over Wynot.
Wild card: Ainsworth
Quick thoughts: Howells-Dodge has the best players and the best coach and they may be the best 8-man team regardless of class. The Ainsworth story is so good, but the pick on then bottom is Hitchcock County to parlay their D-1 semifinal run with a trip to Lincoln with a strong senior class.
Class D-6 (Six-Man)
First round: Sumner-Eddyville-Miller over Wallace. Shelton over Sterling. Parkview Christian over Southwest. Red Cloud over Hampton. Potter-Dix over Brady. Pawnee City over Stuart. Cody-Kilgore over Hay Springs. Arthur County over Wilcox-Hildreth.
Quarterfinals: Sumner-Eddyville-Miller over Shelton. Parkview Christian over Red Cloud. Potter-Dix over Pawnee City. Arthur County over Cody-Kilgore.
Semifinals: Sumner-Eddyville-Miller over Parkview Christian. Potter-Dix over Arthur County.
Wild card: Cody-Kilgore
Quick thoughts: In a class where previous year runner-up’s have faired exceptionally well, we go with last year’s runner-up Coyotes. They have the best player in the class in two-way star Luke Kasten who averages 16 yards per carry on offense and leads the team in tackles. P-D has not been held under 50 points and have given up 20 just once, an 81-28 win over South Platte.