I sit here two days away from the Class A State Football Championship, writing and reflecting on some great Lincoln Southeast football teams of years past.
The Knights have captured eight state titles in the 36-year history of the playoff system and rank fourth all time in Class A for most playoff appearances. Southeast won state titles in 1976, 1977, 1991, 1992, 1997, 1998, 2000 and 2002.
The names that have graced through the program. Bahe, Ruud, Hesse, Goode, Anderson, Muhleisen, Avila, Gifford, White, Weber, Sundberg, Birkel, Sewell and Loos.....the list goes on and on.
Frank Solich built a program into a power, after he guided Southeast to the schools first two state titles in the playoff system. From there, Chuck Mizerski took it to new heights. After falling short of winning titles in 1988 and 1989, Mizerski claimed the first of his six titles with a 21-7 win over Omaha Creighton Prep in the 1991 title game at UNO. Prep beat the Knights in '88 and '89 as part of their four-year title run. Mizerski would go on and lead Southeast to titles five more times.
Following Mizerski's retirement, John Larsen (longtime assistant and LSE's head girls basketball coach) took over and suffered back to back 1-8 seasons. In 2009, he turned things around by leading Southeast to the playoffs and came within one game of returning to the championship game last season.
Southeast's success in football can be compared to the success of the school's girls basketball program. The same can be said for Northeast's boys basketball and volleyball programs, East High's run in wrestling, Southwest's girls softball and boys golf teams. Each had dynasties, great runs and outstanding athletes.
Tuesday night's game at Memorial Stadium for the NSAA Class A football title is a test of whether or not the tradition is back at Southeast. Omaha Burke is a good football team in search of the school's first ever state football title under the playoff system.
Burke has played for two state titles, losing both of them in 1980 (24-7 to Prep) and 1984 (34-14 to Central). This is the 22nd time Burke has made the playoffs and they're long overdue for a title.
Southeast quarterback Najee Jackson has done a solid job as a full-time starting quarterback and receives offensive help from running back Devin Washington, wide receiver Desmond Robinson and tight end Sam Cotton.
The last time Southeast played for a title at Memorial Stadium in 2002, each player was in grade school, between 6 and 9-years-old. Will there be nerves? Possibly. Will adrenelin flow? You bet. Should we be in for a treat of a football game Tuesday night? Sit back and judge for yourself.More of From The Press Box coming up later today!