Playoff time is here.
What happened to the regular season? Gone so fast and now time to decide the state's best.
Class A will be wide open and here's why. No undefeated teams left, several one-loss teams are in and three Omaha area teams could come out smelling like a rose. Let us not forget about 4-5 Millard North, who had the toughest schedule, and 8-1 Lincoln East, who showed how clutch their offense is when you're down by three with seconds left and throw a touchdown pass to win the game.
Those two teams are among the 16 paired up to play in the first round of the playoffs starting Friday. It's likely that we'll carry the East/Millard North game at Buell Stadium on Friday, depending on game time and whether it will be simulcast on radio. We'll keep you posted. Lincoln Southeast is back in the playoffs and will face Omaha Burke at Burke Stadium, while Lincoln Southwest is back in to face Omaha Westside.
All seem like good matchups. In Class B, Norris plays Omaha Skutt in a tough opening round draw. C1 features Lincoln Christian and Milford Thursday night at Seacrest Field, while Raymond Central gets a tough opening round draw at Syracuse. Malcolm, coming off a 14-12 upset of defending state champ David City Aquinas will get a first round home game in hosting Ponca. Parkview Christian makes the D2 playoffs and faces a tough road test at Fullerton.
East has been solid through the season and hasn't earned enough credit for what they have accomplished. A dual quarterback threat with great receivers and a good line up front. Can't forget their talented backfield.
How about Southwest? Face it, a 1-3 start and you win the next four in a row before falling to East in the district and city championship, that's still quite an accomplishment.
Southeast is back in, a little beaten up but full of heart and determination to get back to where they were two years ago, state champions.
The tough task for all three and other playoff qualifiers in Class A, getting past Millard West, Omaha North, Omaha Westside and Millard North. As I mentioned earlier, Millard North had the toughest schedule in Class A and come in as the 7th-seed despite a 4-5 record.
Those four from the Metro have a better shot of capturing gold, but don't discount teams like East and Grand Island.
Been a long time for the Spartans and Islanders since they've captured gold. For East, 1979 was the last time they won the Class A crown, guided by quarterback Todd Zart. Grand Island won in 1978, behind guys like Jim Jeffries, Bret Baxter, and future Huskers Harry Grimminger and Tom Rathman.
Regardless, this ought to be an interesting month of post-season play.
Bullying On Texas Football Field?
I'm sure by now you have read or heard about the story of the parent filing bullying charges against a Fort Worth, Texas high school for winning a game by the final of 91-0.
A parent filed the complaint after Aledo High School, one of the top powerhouses in Texas high school football, defeated Western Hills last Friday. For Aledo (7-0), they called off the dogs early by playing conservative (according to head coach Tim Buchanan) and having continuous clock after halftime.
The Associated Press reports that Coach Buchanan went over what they could have done differently. Western Hills coach John Naylor told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that he disagreed with the bullying allegation, which Buchanan said suggested his coaches "should have made their players ease up and quit playing that hard."
According to Texas state law, Aledo's principal must investigate the complaint and lay out a report, since it was filed with the school district.
My question is this, is this "bullying" complaint a little extreme?
To me, what constitutes bullying is someone picking on somebody else by reason of using physical or psychological force. In this case, it was a sanctioned football game and wasn't predetermined to be a social media or weapons threat of any kind.
Many states, including Nebraska and Texas have a continuous clock rule in the second half, if a team is up by 35-points or more. What else could the team from Aledo High have done? Simply just lie down and not do anything to hold on for the win? That would be a bush league approach, but it seems like a safe alternative.
Face the facts, Aledo is powerful and Western Hills was just another unfortunate opponent on the schedule.
The parent who filed the complaint probably needs to cool off a bit and realize it's athletics, not the end of the world.
I'm sure the use of resources for bullying procedures could be better used elsewhere than to go after a high school football coach for his team's 91-0 win.