Two teams come to mind when I think of high school football royalty in Nebraska. Lincoln Southeast and Omaha Creighton Prep.
Now, if you're a Millard North fan, hear me out first before jumping to any conclusions.
For one, Southeast and Prep have been around longer, faced each other six times for the Class A title (the Knights with a 4-2 edge), and have storied traditions of producing great talent.
Nowadays, Millard North has taken supremacy in the Class A football scene. Despite a lackluster season compared to last year's undefeated campaign, the Mustangs have no doubt changed the landscape of dominance the last 15 years.
It wasn't until 1995 that Millard North started their tradition of being a power in Class A. Eric Crouch was junior quarterback for the Mustangs and was garnering Division I attention with his speed and ability to run the football as an option quarterback. We all know what happened from there, right? He was six years away from winning the Heisman Trophy and leading Nebraska back to another national championship game.
It was during Crouch's time at Millard North that the football machine started to take shape for head coach Fred Petito. After failing to make the championship game in previous years, the Mustangs made it to the Class A title game in 2002. John McCardle was the quarterback in the high-powered option offense. Their opponent: Southeast.
The Knights had won three out of the last four state titles at the point and had an edge on the Mustangs. But in the end, Southeast came out on top by winning 7-6 behind the play of Bo Ruud, Andy Birkel and Zac Rabe, who filled in for an injured Nick Bahe at quarterback.
Millard North's time had come. The next year, the Mustangs captured their first state football title by blasting Prep 38-7 in a battle of undefeated teams. The Junior Jays got their revenge a year later on the Mustangs in the championship and Millard North won the title again in 2005 by edging Lincoln Southwest 35-14.
Millard North won again in 2010 and 2012. So, yes, I guess you could consider them part of Nebraska High School football royalty.
Consider this......Prep has made the playoffs an astounding 35 times in 38 years of the current system. Their first state title came in 1980 after losing in the finals three previous times in 1976, 1977 and 1978. They won state titles in 1983 and a string of them from 1985 to 1989.
Class D2 power Humphrey St. Francis is right behind at 31 times, followed by Falls City Sacred Heart and Norfolk Catholic at 30 apiece.
Omaha Westside is the second Class A team to have more appearances in the playoffs at 29. Southeast has qualified 28 times and Grand Island has made it 27 times, only to win in it all in 1978, while losing in the finals two other times (1987 and 1990).
Elkhorn, Crete and Lincoln Pius X can be considered other football powerhouses in Nebraska, too. Obviously, the list could go on forever.
Just a reminder........
Lincoln Christian's game at Ashland-Greenwood in the C1 quarterfinals Tuesday night will be streamed on LincolnPrepSports.com as we pickup the radio feed from KFOR 1240. There may not be a mobile feed for the game on Tuesday, but we'll keep you informed on our Facebook and Twitter pages.