First and Ten is back for a fifth week to bring you our Week Eight 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.
A huge assortment of games this week as we get right into playoff projections starting with a loaded and balanced field in Class A. No new No. 1’s this week, but some have big week nine tests.
Two of Class A’s best athletes. Grand Island’s Broc Douglass (1) gives chase to Millard West’s Tristan Gomes. (nebpreps photo)
- Bellevue West (8-0). NSAA playoff points: 3. We talked here about Omaha North possibly being a test for the Thunderbirds last Thursday and then 57-6 later, the Birds are rolling. The problem? They might be the four-seed in the NSAA playoffs because of a schedule that did them no favors. Last week: 1.
- Millard West (8-0). Points: 1. Wildcats have been flawless against a schedule that will likely show four Division I wins in nine outings. Cats gave lone losses to Burke, Millard South, Grand Island and also have a win against 2-loss Kearney. Well ahead in the points, just a win over 2-6 North Star to lock down Buell to Memorial Stadium. Last week: 2.
- Omaha Burke (7-1). Points: 4. Ranking the one-loss team has been kind of a crap shoot, so you give the defending champions the leg up. After losing to Millard West in week two have play teams with a combined record 23-33 (all in Divsion 3). Last week: 3.
- Lincoln Southeast (7-1). 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. (Yeah, that’s the same thing we wrote last week.) Have yet to give up 20 points and their playoff tune up is against 1-7 Lincoln Northeast. Last week: 4.
- Omaha Westside (7-1). Points: t6. In the most compelling game of the week on Thursday against Millard South. All sorts of playoff ramifications as the winner is likely going to secure two home games and a top-four seed in the playoffs. The loser, likely falls all the way to 7th behind the two unbeatens and what appears to be four one loss teams. Last week: 5.
- Millard South (7-1). Points: t6. Last week: 6.
- Grand Island (7-1). Points: . Last week: 7.
- Kearney (6-2). Points: t9. Last week: 8.
- Elkhorn South (5-3). Points: t9. Last week: 9.
- Omaha Creighton Prep (6-2). Points: 8. Last week: 10.
Comments: No changes in the top-1o as Prep is not penalized for a loss to Millard South. No one else to take their place. The top-9 all won. Playoff seeding games with biggest impact this week: Millard South at Omaha Westside (Thursday), Elkhorn South at Creighton Prep, Grand Island at Lincoln East. We pick every week nine game and playoffs off that below. Playoffs: top-two in each of six districts and next four wild card teams.
- Omaha Skutt (8-0). NSAA playoff points: 2. The Skyhawks continue to hum along after beating Gross and winning No. 21 in a row. Another nice test before the playoffs with No. 9 Norris. Last week: 1.
- Scottsbluff (8-0). Points: 1. All seems right in the world when Scottsbluff and McCook meet for the district title out west. And that’s right where we are this Friday. Last week: 2.
- Waverly (7-1). Points: 3. Bounced back from a double overtime loss to Skutt with a 29-7 win over Plattsmouth. Ralston awaits before the playoffs. Vikings look ready. Last week: 3.
- Grand Island Northwest (7-1). Points: 4. Escaped Crete 34-27 on Senior Night with what was a MASH unit by the end. Third team quarterback Alex Brandt led the Vikings for nearly the whole fourth quarter and came up with a touchdown pass and a big run for a clinching first down late. Last week: 4.
- Hastings (7-1). Points: 5. An interesting back-and-forth with Beatrice last Friday in a 64-56 win that was a two possession game most of the way. Quarterback Jarrett Synek threw for nine touchdowns in the win. Their speed against, maybe, some power from Northwest for the district and the fourth seed in the playoffs on Friday. Last week: 5.
- Omaha Roncalli (6-2). Points: 6. Last week: 6.
- Elkhorn Mt. Michael (7-1). Points: 7. Last week: 7.
- Bennington (5-3). Points: 9. Last week: 8.
- Norris (6-2). Points: 8. Last week: 9.
- McCook (5-3). Points: 10. Last week: 10.
Comments: Ten games and ten wins for the top-10 this week, but a pair of district title game with rankings and state seeding implications on Friday as Northwest travels to Hastings and Scottsbluff travels to McCook. Hastings QB Jarret Synek broke the Class B record on Friday with nine touchdown passes in a 64-56 win over Beatrice. District Outlook: Omaha Roncalli (1), Omaha Skutt (2), Northwest/Hastings winner (3), Scottsbluff/McCook winner (4). Playoffs: Four district champions and 12 wild cards.
- Wahoo (8-0). NSAA playoff points: t2. Probably not much to complain about when you give up a season-high 14 points to Columbus Lakeview, but score 69 yourself. Final test against Scotus before the playoffs Last week: 1.
- Pierce (8-0). Points: t2. A 60-6 district title game win (!!!) for the Bluejays against West Point-Beemer. It’s Boone Central/Newman Grove to close the year out before playoffs. Jays look like a well-oiled machine that wants to exercise the demons from the 2018 playoffs. Last week: 2.
- Adams Central (8-0). Points: 1. Evan Johnson broke Scott Frost’s Class C-1 career yards mark and Matt Masker’s completion mark on the same play Friday in a 37-14 win over Kearney Catholic. Sure, the offense is impressive, but the defense is better. In staking a 24-0 lead against KC, the Patriots allowed six yards and a turnover in four possessions. Last week: 3.
- Aurora (5-3). Points: t9. Impressive district play after a 1-3 start that included losses to AC, Wahoo and Class B, No. 4 Northwest. Train fully on the tracks now, but their seed could cause problems in the playoffs. A second round match up with on of the top-3 is likely. Last week: 4.
- Ashland-Greenwood (8-0). Points: t3. Pounded Nebraska City 53-13 on Friday and a district title game with Lincoln Lutheran for a possible top-four seed in the playoffs. The Bluejays, however, have no Division I wins in the regular season. Last week: 5.
- Columbus Scotus (7-1). Points: 6. Last week: 6.
- Bishop Neumann (6-2). Points: 8. Last week: 7.
- Gothenburg (7-1). Points: 7. Last week: 8.
- Kearney Catholic (6-2). Points: 5. Last week: 9.
- Ord (6-2). Points: 11. Last week: 10.
Comments: Another fairly uneventful week in Class C-1 as the top-10 is firmly entrenched. Adams Central dominated Kearney Catholic early and defeated them 37-14, a similar loss the Pats gave Ord and so no changes at the bottom. Scotus against Wahoo and Gothenburg against Ord are ranked district title battles this week. District Outlook: Ashland-Greenwood/Lincoln Lutheran winner (1), Fort Calhoun with a win over Platteview (2), Pierce (3), Wahoo/Scotus winner (4), Aurora/Central City winner (5), Adams Central (6), Ord/Gothenburg winner (7), Ogallala/Chase County winner. Playoffs: Eight district champions and eight wild cards.
- St. Paul (8-0). NSAA playoff points: 2. Just when we were thinking about rewarding Oakland-Craig for their big wins against a good schedule, the Wildcats come out and blast Centura 57-7 for the district title. And, the Centurions are playing for a playoff berth this week. Last week: 1.
- Oakland-Craig (8-0). Points: 3. Not much left to say about Oakland-Craig who defeated a Yutan team that still has an outside shot at the playoffs this week if they can beat Louisville. But, the Knights wrecked them 66-7. BRLD this week. Last week: 2.
- BRLD (8-0). Points: 4. Escaped Fremont Bergan in overtime and their offense will be put to the test this week Oakland-Craig. Not much left to type except to let the two teams play it out. Last week: 3.
- Sutton (7-1). Points: 1. Still unbeaten in Class C-2 and the Mustangs have clinched the district and also sit on top of the point standings. Wins against unranked district leaders North Platte St. Pat’s and Wilber-Clatonia and the Mustangs might have what it takes for another deep run after last year’s semifinal trip. Last week: 4.
- Battle Creek (7-1). Points: 8. Now, seven straight wins for the Braves, who lost their opener to Shelby-Rising City 7-3. Survived Hartington Cedar Catholic 21-18 on Friday night to clinch the district championshp and a playoff spot. Last week: 5.
- Centennial (5-3). Points: 10. Last week: 6.
- North Bend Central (7-1). Points: 5. Last week: 10.
- Aquinas Catholic (7-1). Points: 7. Last week: 8.
- Doniphan-Trumbull (7-1). Points: 6. Last week: 9.
- Shelby-Rising City (6-2). Points: 9. Last week: 7.
Comments: A fantastic week nine awaits in Class C-2, with the aforementioned Oakland-Craig trip to BRLD topping the list. Shelby-Rising City looks to stop a two-game skid after a 6-0 start when they travel to Aquinas. And playoff seeding awaits. In the rankings, North Bend and Shelby-Rising City switch spots after the Tigers escaped with a 16-13 win on Friday. District Outlook: Wilber-Clatonia/Malcolm winner (1), Oakland-Craig/BRLD winner (2), Battle Creek (3), wins by NBC, Centennial and Aquinas would create a three-way tie (4), Sutton (5), St. Paul (6), North Platte St. Pat’s (7). Playoffs: Seven district champions, nine wild cards.
- Howells-Dodge (7-0). Points: 1. Last week: 1.
- Wakefield (6-1). Points: t7 (no playoffs). Last week: 2.
- BDS (7-0). Points: 2. Last week: 3.
- Cambridge (7-0). Points: t11. Last week: 6.
- Elm Creek (7-0). Points: 5. Last week: 5.
- Wisner-Pilger (7-0). Points: t11. Last week: 7.
- Arcadia-Loup City (6-1). Points: 13. Last week: 8.
- Fullerton (6-1). Points: 4. Last week: 9.
- Dundy County-Stratton (6-1). Points: 7. Last week: 4.
- Ravenna (6-1). Points: t7 (no playoffs). Last week: unranked.
Comments: This class has been one of the most difficult to rank all season. H-D, Wakefield and BDS remain in the top-three spots. Wakefield — ineligible for the playoffs — will get it’s playoff game this week when they play No. 6 Wisner-Pilger. Cambridge jumps past Elm Creek into fourth for their 40-22 win over then-No. 4 Dundy County Stratton who slides to ninth. Arcadia-Loup City and Elm Creek will do battle this week as well. After Neligh-Oakdale lost to Elkhorn Valley, that gives room for Ravenna who just has an opening loss to Cambridge and wins over Fullerton and Osceola/High Plains (5-2). Also Sutherland is still undefeated and unranked, but has beaten only one team with a winning record. District Outlook: BDS (1), Elmwood-Murdock (2), Osceola/High Plains (3), Wisner-Pilger (4, Wakefield ineligible), Howells-Dodge (5), Fullerton (6, Ravenna ineligible), West Holt (7), Elm Creek/Arcadia-Loup City winner (8), Cambridge (9, with win over Hitchcock County), Sutherland (10, with win over Morrill). Playoff qualifiers: 10 district champions, 22 wild cards. Sorted west-to-east and seeded 1-16.
- Humphrey St. Francis (7-0). NSAA playoff points: t7. Last week: 1.
- Falls City Sacred Heart (7-0). Points: t11. Last week: 2.
- Bloomfield (7-0). Points: t7. Last week: 3.
- Central Valley (7-0). Points: 2. Last week: 5.
- Sandhills/Thedford (7-0). Points: t11. Last week: 6.
- Garden County (7-0). Points: 5. Last week: 7.
- Johnson-Brock (6-1). Points: 4. Last week: 8.
- Plainview (7-0). Points: t7. Last week: 9.
- CWCE (6-1). Points: 3. Last week: 4.
- Kenesaw (6-1). Points: 1. Last week: 10.
Comments: Nine of ten ranked teams won and eight are still undefeated in the class, but that will change this week. No. 8 Plainview meets No. 1 Humphrey St. Francis; No. 7 Johnson-Brock will play No. 2 Falls City Sacred Heart. That should leave us six teams heading to the playoffs and it looks like they will balance three east and three west. Central Valley moves up from fifth to fourth for their win over No. 4 CWCE, while 6-9 all jumped a spot. District Outlook: FCSH/J-B winner (1), Clarkson/Leigh (2), Bloomfield/Hartingon-Newcastle winner (3), HSF/Plainview winner (4), Central Valley (5), Kenesaw (6), Elwood/Overton winner (7), Sandhills/Thedford (8), 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: 1. Last week: 1.
- McCool Junction (8-0). Points: 4. Last week: 2.
- Humphrey/Lindsay HF (6-1). Points: t6 (no playoffs) Last week: 3.
- Creek Valley (7-0). Points: 2. Last week: 4.
- Cody-Kilgore (7-0). Points: 3. Last week: 5.
- Sioux County (6-1). Points: t6. Last week: 6.
- Eustis-Farnam (5-2). Points: t8. Last week: 7.
- Maywood-Hayes Center (5-2). Points: 5. Last week: 10.
- Arthur County (5-2). Points: t8. Last week: unranked.
- Red Cloud (5-2). Points: 12. Last week: unranked.
Comments: The top four teams won and fifth ranked Cody-Kilgore defeated No. 6 Sioux County 40-6, but there were no changes to the top-7. Maywood Hayes-Center moved up from 10th after Red Cloud defeated then No. 8 Heartland Lutheran 26-24 and S-E-M defeated then No. 10 Wilcox-Hildreth. Arthur County is ranked for the first time at 5-2 with their only losses coming to Creek Valley and Cody-Kilgore. Five districts are clinched, it appears and District 5 is a mess. where Maywood-Hayes Center, Eustis-Farnam and McPherson County/Stapleton could go to a tie break. It appears all three will make the playoffs, however. Clinched districts: Spalding Academy, Harvard, McCool Junction, Creek Valley, Cody-Kilgore. Playoff qualifiers: six district champions, 10 wild cards.