The fall sports season began August 9, with the first official practices for fall sports teams.
Like the other Omaha Public Schools falls sports programs, Omaha North didn’t have a 2020 season. How the Vikings bounce back from a year off and handle adversity will be a key question in 2021.
Here are notes and observations from Omaha North practice last week.
The defensive line is clearly the strength of the team, the Vikings interior front can be extremely disruptive. There might not be a more disruptive nose tackle in Class A than senior Ceontre’ Brown (5-11, 267). Brown started at the position as a sophomore in 2019 and is a force that wins in the run game with some pass rushing quickness. Senior Orlando Hernandez (6-2, 260) and freshman Tyson Terry (6-3, 245) will start at the tackle positions in the Vikings three-man front. Terry, one of, if not the best freshman in the Metro, should have a big impact early in the passing game at tight end.
The offensive line doesn’t lack size, experience and athleticism. Four of the five likely starters across the line are seniors. Left tackle Hakem Neal is 260 pounds, Dupree Green (6-1, 285) is likely the best offensive lineman on the team at left guard, center Payton Knickerbocker (255) is the only junior. On the right side of the line is senior Alex Urbina (270) at right guard and senior Troyaun Thompson (250) at right tackle.
Keshaun Williams (6-1, 180) might just be one of the most explosive athletes in the state. Williams, a senior, made some head turning deep catches in the team offense portion of the practice. Williams can line up all over the field and North will likely find creative ways to get their best player the ball. On defense, Williams will move from linebacker in 2019 to safety this season.
Jordan Williams is now a senior. How much did missing the 2019 season set the quarterback’s development will be a question. Williams had a strong day finding reads in the team portion of the practice. He’s done a good job of staying level and doesn’t get flustered mentally. It feels like he trust’s his receivers and offensive personnel around him. His ability to be accurate in third and long situations will be key. Something he has previously struggled with. Look for him to use his legs a little more if a play breaks down.
North has always had a strong rushing attack with one or two backs that can carry the offense. Behind that offensive line they should find success running the ball. The question is who will emerge as the lead back or backs. Sophomore Ke’Vaughn Shannon has the speed and quickness that will remind North fans of a young Milton Sargbaugh. Junior Te’Shaun Porter has a nice balance of speed and strength. The Vikings like big backs and Hernandez could fill that void in short yardage situations.
Tre Brown is solidified at one of the cornerback positions. A junior, Brown holds an offer from Division II Wayne State and is one of the better corners in the Metro. Opposite Brown is a bit of an unknown. Sophomore Maurice Sherrod is unproven at the varsity level and looks like he will be the lead candidate to play that spot.