First and Ten Rankings: Week Six (2020)


I usually ask when I see BDS co-coach Chris Ardissono a simple question: “How many boys in school this year?” And, the answer is usually pretty easy to figure out. Look at the BDS roster for the season and add, maybe, one or two boys at the most.

Down in Class D-2 this year the Eagles, who have a senior bunch that has not lost a regular season game in their career, have 26 boys out for football. The number this year is 34 and their are 6-man schools that have bigger numbers. But, much like the three towns that make up this consolidation, the Eagles do it their way and it usually involves a quick, physical defensive line that makes trying to score and drive the ball something akin to a doctor’s office visit.

Kenesaw coach Craig Schnitzler has seen enough good football to know that BDS is the real deal.

“They are big. They are fast. Even their big guys move well. They just controlled the line of scrimmage. Anybody is going to have problems against that kind of size. And their skill kids, my goodness, they can cut on a dime. They are just an all-around good ball club.”

You don’t get much out of Ardissono and his coaching equal Mark Rotter. Ardissono on defense and Rotter on offense — a sort of 8-man Mike Leach — who carries a laminated sheet on a binder hook and dissects every piece of your defense. Yes, these Eagles will tear you apart. And, in October it’s harvest time. Come November, BDS may be ready for a feast.

Let’s dive into the rankings. And, when you are done, get our first prediction of the Class A bracket, which will be seeded by an NSAA committee this year.

Class A

  1. Bellevue West (3-0). Last week: 1. Ugh. Idle.
  2. Omaha Westside (6-0). Last week: 2. Handling everything in their path, including Millard North on Friday.
  3. Millard South (4-1). Last week: 3. Patriots seem to be well on their way to 6-1, but could Fremont slow them down this week? 
  4. Lincoln Southeast (6-0). Last week: 4. The best team in Lincoln, no doubt. Game with Gretna in two weeks, will determine the four-seed in the playoffs, maybe?
  5. Elkhorn South (5-1). Last week: 5.  Big suburb game this week with Gretna.
  6. Omaha Creighton Prep (3-2). Last week: 6. It looks like the Jays will be 5-2 on Seeding Saturday. Good enough for a bye? Possible.
  7. Gretna (5-0). Last week: 7. The finish will test the Dragons. Could they hang on to a bye if they lose to Elkhorn South and Lincoln Southeast.
  8. Lincoln East (4-2). Last week: NR. 
  9. Kearney (1-3). Last week: 9. The losses: Southeast, Westside, Bellevue West. First win on Friday over Columbus. What’s left: Lincoln High, Elkhorn South.
  10. Millard West (1-4). Last week: 8. Still deferring to the Wildcats here. Losses to Elkhorn South, Millard South, Creighton Prep and Lincoln East. This week? Ugh, Bellevue West. Will play North Platte on the 16th for the 10th spot in the rankings?

Comments: Millard West, Lincoln East, Columbus, Fremont and North Platte all have games before the season is over that should help us sort this bottom out. We said that last week and it hasn’t changed much.

STINGY: Class B top-ranked Hastings has relied on a stingy defense through six games. The Tigers allowed 20 points for the first time on Friday against York. (nebpreps photo / Ben Mohorn)

Class B

  1. Hastings (6-0). Last week: 1. Won at York, which is a good win no matter the Duke record. Aurora, BYE, Northwest to finish. We’ll know if they are ready for the playoffs.
  2. Norris (5-1). Last week: 2. Snuck by Plattsmouth, 29-26. Final week with Waverly. Loss: Bennington.
  3. Elkhorn (5-1). Last week: 3. Bennington this week. Skutt in the closer. If they win them both are they the Class B favorite? Loss: Norris.
  4. Omaha Skutt (4-2). Last week: 4. Lost to Gretna 31-28, but may have improved our opinion. It’s also possible that Omaha North transfer Sam Scott has changed the team race in B. Loss: Waverly, Gretna.
  5. Bennington (5-1). Last week: 5. A big one for Bennington this week. Can they slow down Elkhorn? Can Elkhorn slow down Bennington? Loss: Skutt.
  6. Waverly (4-2). Last week: 6. Settling this ranking with Plattsmouth this week.
  7. Plattsmouth (5-1). Last week: 7. No damage done in 3-point loss to Norris.
  8. Aurora (4-2). Last week: 8. The losses are to Class A North Platte (4-1) and Bennington. Kind of controlled the whole deal against McCook. Quarterback Ethan Shaw playing at an elite level.
  9. Scottsbluff (3-3). Last week: NR. Dropping McCook after the loss to make way for Scottsbluff. They can settle the ranking in a few weeks.
  10. Grand Island Northwest (4-2). Last week: 9. Want an honest take from a Northwest homer (my kids do and will go to school there)? The Vikings can be 7-2 if they play like they played against Waverly. If they play like they have played the last two weeks, they’ll be 4-5 and squeaking in to the playoffs.

Comments: These playoffs are going to be interesting.

Class C-1

  1. Pierce (5-0). Last week: 1. Rolled past O’Neill. Everyone left — West Point-Beemer, Battle Creek and Wayne — is 4-2.
  2. Adams Central (6-0). Last week: 2. Oh, sure, Central City threw for a load against the Patriots. But, guess, what, they had eight points total and three second half possessions. You can win a bunch of games with ball control and defense.
  3. Ashland-Greenwood (6-0). Last week: 3. Bluejays quietly going about their business. At Wahoo this week so we can figure out this ranking thing.
  4. Wahoo (5-1). Last week: 4. Did everything we asked to keep the ranking. Now a chance for Chad Fox’s crew to get a statement win.
  5. St. Paul (5-1).  Last week: 5. Think Central City won’t have the full attention of St. Paul. Think again. A game that has turned into a pretty decent rivalry.
  6. Cozad (5-1). Last week: 6. Handled business against Ogallala. The headlights still on week nine trip to Kearney Catholic.
  7. Auburn (5-1). Last week: 8. Still just a single blemish against Ashland-Greenwood in week one and it looks like the Bulldogs could be an 8-1 playoff team.
  8. Kearney Catholic (4-1). Last week: 8. Get that stingy Adams Central defense this week. Can Heinrich Haarberg and the Stars finally make some plays against a ranked opponent.
  9. Wayne (4-2). Last week: 7. Staying here, despite loss to Norfolk Catholic. But the Devils might need to win out and Pierce looms in week nine.
  10. Lincoln Christian (5-1). Last week: NR. Knocked out the Crusaders last week after loss to Auburn. Back in this week after we gave Mitchell a shot.

Comments: Keeping our eyes on Gothenburg. After Cozad, maybe the best team west of Kearney and a possible 6-3 dangerous lurker in the playoffs.

Class C-2

  1. Oakland-Craig (6-0). Last week: 1. Still hammering everyone in sight. The next two weeks are against No. 4 Hartington Cedar Catholic and No. 3 Fremont Bergan. Some think the Knights are better than last year’s champs. We find out soon enough.
  2. Ord (6-0). Last week: 2. Demolished No. 10 GICC 59-6 with a 28-0 first quarter onslaught. Forgive us, we’d like to see Ord and Oakland-Craig play at some point.
  3. Fremont Bergan (6-0). Last week: 4. Whole bunch of adjectives for Bergan’s 31-7 win over David City Aquinas. Impressive tops the list. They won’t look ahead, but we will. O-C on 10/16.
  4. Hartington Cedar Catholic (5-0). Last week: 8. Big leap for the Trojans who get a 29-14 win over Crofton and a date with Oakland-Craig on Friday. You know who the Knights escaped in the round of eight last year, right? Yeah. Thought so.
  5. David City Aquinas (4-2). Last week: 3. Losses to Oakland-Craig and Bergan aren’t the end of the world, but the Monarchs need to win out to stay here.
  6. Norfolk Catholic (3-2). Last week: 9. What have you done for me lately, I guess. The Knights get a big 31-21 win over Class C-1 Wayne. Now ahead of Bishop Neumann who they lost to in week two.
  7. Sutton (4-1). Last week: 6. We defer to the Mustangs here, though from this point on, Class C-2 is a crap shoot.
  8. Yutan (5-1). Last week: NR. The Chieftains are back after a 28-14 win over Wilber-Clatonia who may have had a Covid hangover after a two-week break because of quarantine. Nevertheless, the only loss is to Bergan.
  9. Wahoo Neumann (3-2). Last week: 7. The Cavs drop two spots for a loss to Centennial who is scratching for a ranking. The win over Norfolk Catholic gives them a little credence.
  10. Wilber-Clatonia (3-1). Last week: 5. Win over Sutton keeps W-C here, but a game with Centennial this week is for a ranking. And Crofton is clawing on this door, too. And, you can still see Grand Island Central Catholic here, too.

Comments: A chance we see Bridgeport and North Platte St. Pat’s each go 8-1 out west. The issue? Previous No. 10 GICC (3-3) beat St. Pat’s who beat Bridgeport. Add in GICC has a win over Centennial and you also have Crofton with three top-five losses. So, that’s a hard one to figure out. Still a few things to shake out before the playoff pairings come out.

Class D-1

  1. Burwell (6-0). Last week: 1. Passed a playoff-like test against Arcadia-Loup City.
  2. Cross County (6-0). Last week: 2. Off the bye, the Cougars scored 82 against Shelby-Rising City.
  3. Dundy County-Stratton (5-0). Last week: 3. Impressive 52-0 win over Hi-Line, who came into the week 4-1.
  4. Wakefield (5-0). Last week: 4. Blasted Elkhorn Valley 72-6. A shame Wakefield can’t have a playoff crack.
  5. Tri-County (6-0). Last week: 5.  Trojans have ran the clock in every game but a 52-20 win over 5-1 Weeping Water.
  6. Lutheran High Northeast (5-1). Last week: 7. 
  7. Nebraska Christian (4-1).  Last week: 8. Covid shut down NC this week and it’s a big finish: H/LHF (4-1) and Neligh-Oakdale.
  8. Neligh-Oakdale (5-1). Last week: 9. 
  9. Arcadia-Loup City (3-3). Last week: 10. Took Burwell all the way to the end in a 28-22 loss. Not being punished for it. Think the Raiders will win some playoff games.
  10. Stanton (5-1). Last week: NR. Here come the Mustangs off an impressive 42-36 win over previously No. 6 Howells-Dodge. Mustangs are fourth in the Class D-1 points, too.

Comments: Going to be plenty of jockeying for playing qualifying round position over the final two weeks of the season. Lot of dangerous teams right now on the bottom side of the top-32.

TOUGH RUNNER: Tyson Denkert was tough to bring down for top-ranked BDS. The sixth-ranked Blue Devils will be a tough out in the playoffs. (nebpreps photo / Tony Chapman)

Class D-2

  1. BDS (6-0). Last week: 1. Have scored 56, 70, 50, 80 and 50. So, even though No. 6 Kenesaw held them to 42, the Eagles still look like the team to beat.
  2. Osceola (6-0). Last week: 2. Scored — wait for it — 100 on Nebraska Lutheran on Friday. The new hoops coach would take that in January, too.
  3. Humphrey St. Francis (6-0). Last week: 3. Defense coming around now. Flyers have given up 12 points the last three weeks and scored 130.
  4. Falls City Sacred Heart (5-1). Last week: 4. Not much between Del Casteel and the Irish until they hit 7-1.
  5. Central Valley (5-0). Last week: 5. Lost the CWC game to Covid. Now have a planned off week before St. Francis. The Cougars will get just six regular season games.
  6. Kenesaw (4-1). Last week: 6. Held BDS to a season low 42 points and had it within 26-23 in the mid-third quarter.
  7. Pleasanton (6-0). Last week: 7. Still pointing to that date with Sandhills/Thedford. Tyce Westland one of the most dynamic players in 8-man.
  8. Sandhills/Thedford (6-0). Last week: 8. Big finish for S/T with Sandhills Valley (4-2) and Pleasanton (6-0) before the playoffs.
  9. O’Neill St. Mary’s (6-0). Last week: 9. Beat previously undefeated Creighton 28-18 in a ratings game on Friday.
  10. Medicine Valley (6-0). Last week: 10. Beat Brady. Ratings game with 5-1 Loomis this week.

Comments: Everybody with another win, except Kenesaw. But, the Blue Devils not penalized for their loss to top-ranked BDS.

THOROUGHBREDS: Chase Wilkinson (15) and his McCool Junction teammates are rolling through six-man after a 2019 finals appearance. (nebpreps photo / Tony Chapman)

Class Six-Man

  1. McCool Junction (5-0). Last week: 1. Still rolling. Beat Parkview Christian 78-12 and there doesn’t appear to be much in their way before the playoffs.
  2. Sterling (5-0). Last week: 2. Statement win against unbeaten Dorchester, 70-8. Are the Jets the team that could challenge McCool for a state title?
  3. Stuart (4-0). Last week: 3. Appears the Broncos could be in position to rattle off some wins before a week eight game with Spalding Academy. It started last night with a 65-18 win over Santee.
  4. Potter-Dix (5-0).  Last week: 4. How do you respond off a big win? By backing up and P-D did just that with a 62-27 win over South Platte.
  5. Arthur County (5-1). Last week: 5. At 4-1 Creek Valley next week, the Wolves have played a challenging schedule.
  6. Cody-Kilgore (2-2). Last week: 6. Idle.
  7. Red Cloud (4-0). Last week: 7. Passed test No. 2 over Wilcox-Hildreth with flying colors. But, game this week with No. 9 Franklin has been cancelled due to Covid.
  8. Sumner-Eddyville-Miller (3-1). Last week: 8. A shame we don’t have their game with Stuart to further grade the top-10.
  9. Franklin (3-0). Last week: 9. Flyers lost their three most challenging games on the schedule including a game with Red Cloud next week. Gonna be interesting to see how they look in the playoffs.
  10. Paxton (3-2). Last week: NR. Back enter the Tigers who’s win over Creek Valley (4-1) is the tiebreaker in to the rankings. Losses are to Cody-Kilgore and Arthur County. Get S-E-M last week of the season.

Comments: We talked a lot up there.

Bracket Breakdown

Due to no football from Omaha Public School this fall, and multiple schedule adjustments to Class A football, the schools voted to end the season on October 16 (after eight weeks) and take all 24 teams playing this fall to the playoffs. The teams will be seeded with the top-8 getting a bye to the round of 16. Our look into how teams could be seeded as of games through October 2.

The question looms, too. What will Grand Island do? The Islanders are squarely in position to host an opening round game on October 23rd. Their fan policy — and insane no visitors fiasco — was squashed by the NSAA last week. (All rules must be same for all teams). So, Islanders have three choice if they get picked: no fans at all, allow visitors or travel and play on the road. Let’s hope sanity prevails here.

Byes: Bellevue West, Omaha Westside, Millard South, Lincoln Southeast, Elkhorn South, Omaha Creighton Prep, Gretna, Lincoln East.

17. Columbus (4-2) at 16. Lincoln North Star (3-4). Winner plays 1. Bellevue West (3-0).
24. Lincoln Northeast (0-5) at 9. Kearney (1-3). Winner plays 8. Lincoln East (4-2).

20. Lincoln Southwest (2-4) at 13. Fremont (5-1). Winner plays 4. Lincoln Southeast (6-0).
21. Norfolk (1-5) at 12. Millard North (1-4). Winner plays 5. Elkhorn South (5-1).

19. Papillion-LaVista South (1-5) at 14. Grand Island (2-3). Winner plays 3. Millard South (4-1).
22. Bellevue East (1-5) at 11. North Platte (4-1). Winner plays 6. Creighton Prep (3-2).

23. Lincoln High (1-5) at 10. Millard West (1-4). Winner plays 7. Gretna (6-0).
18. Papillion-LaVista (2-4) at 15. Lincoln Pius X (2-4). Winner plays 2. Omaha Westside (6-0).

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