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09/29/2013 - From The Press Box: Lincoln's version of "Bedlam" goes down to the wire

It's bedlam in Oklahoma, when the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University play football each year.  That state's two largest universities have successful programs and battle for what would be that state's "championship" in football.  It's always a good draw from a crowd's perspective.

In Lincoln, Nebraska, our version of bedlam the last few years has been Southeast vs. Southwest. 


Both schools have been successful and competitive in football and arguably have the biggest fan bases in the city.  It's difficult to truly say what the actual school rivalry is in town, since they all face each other in every sport, but with football lately it's safe to say Southeast and Southwest.

From a neutral standpoint, I love it.

In calling the 2012 game, more than 6,500 fans showed up on that Thursday night in September to see a great offensive battle in the first half, while it was purely defense in the second half.   A great game to watch, with an ending many Southeast and Southwest fans won't soon forget. 

Southwest had the ball with just seconds remaining and a Gunnar Peterson pass to Josh Banderas was ruled incomplete, with Southeast's Trey Beamon on deep coverage.  I was even forwarded a frozen-frame clip from the highlights that night, indicating there was some interference.  No call made, ball game. 

A year later, the rivalry is just as better.  Despite Southwest losing their last three games, they were due.  Southeast, though, had just suffered a tough loss at Creighton Prep last week and came into rivalry week with a bit of a chip on their shoulder. 

In Friday afternoon's game, both teams battled before more than 4,100 fans and the game went to overtime at 10 apiece.  The Knights had the ball, but a bad exchange on a handoff results in the Silver Hawks recovering to set themselves up for a shot at the win. 

Ryan Lindahl would be come the hero by nailing a 22-yard field goal for a 13-10 victory in overtime. It gave Southwest their first win against Southeast since 2008.  This week, Southwest has earned recognition as others to watch, as they head into another district matchup with Lincoln Northeast on Friday afternoon, which you can hear on

Southeast, meanwhile, will do some work for Thursday night's game against Norfolk, which will also air on  The Knights will look to stop sophomore quarterback Gunnar Fuelberth, who ran the Panthers' pistol option offense as if he were a veteran. 

This week's ratings

Based on their overall performances and not the quality of wins, Lincoln East will be ranked in our Class A poll at No. 10.  The Spartans, 4-1, are off to their best start since 2007 are set to face Pius X on Friday, which could be a make or break game for them.  East's passing offense is much better and the running game is still sharp, providing a challenge to the Thunderbolt defense. 

The Spartan defense will need to stop the Pius X receiving core of Noah Appleget, Thomas Hoefener, and Jack Rice, while stopping the run game with Sam Raun and Zach Cunningham.  Ethan Andersen, Pius X's sophomore quarterback, got a lot of snaps Friday against Norfolk, with starter Zach Pettit coming out of the game due to an injury.  He may be utilized if Pettit isn't 100 percent.

Southeast's 13-10 overtime loss to Southwest caused the Knights to bounce out.  The Silver Hawks are contenders, as are Southeast, Pius X and North Star.

The argument may lie with why isn't Southwest ranked.  While their win is good enough to put some 2-3 teams in the top ten, their losses against ranked opponents haven't been the greatest either.

It's not to say that Southwest is a poor program.  In fact, it's far from being in poor shape.  Coach Mark King has guided roughly more than nine of his 11 Silver Hawk teams to winning seasons and several playoff appearances, along with a spot in the 2005 title game.  For Southwest, it's a matter of filling some big shoes left by Josh Banderas, Christian LaCouture and Gunnar Peterson.

If Southwest picks up at least two more district wins, they essentially have clinched a spot in the Class A playoffs.  There's a shot.  They will challenge East when they meet at the end of the regular season.  I'm sure the Spartans will be prepared, too.

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