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09/27/2014 - From The Press Box: Aylward Hits 200, Favorites Fall In One Night and Bowden Returns to Nebraska
 Tim Aylward is now part of a coaching fraternity in Nebraska.

The longtime Lincoln Pius X head football coach (also serves as athletic director) picked up his 200th career coaching win Friday night, as the Thunderbolts defeated Omaha Gross 20-9 at Bryan Stadium.

Certainly, the milestone can be marked with the simple fact that Aylward is only the second ever football coach in Pius X history.  He's been at the helm for 30 years, after taking over for Vince Aldrich, who died in 1984 after a nearly 30-year run at Pius with three state titles in his tenure through the playoff system.  

Aylward started his head coaching career in 1982 at Cozad, where he compiled a 4-21 record in three seasons with the Haymakers.  His 1983 team won three games, while the '82 team won a single game and the 1984 squad was winless.

Still, Aylward came back to Lincoln to take over a program rich in football tradition and carried them to a whole new level.   Let's face it, when I think of some of the top high school football teams not only in Class B, but overall in Nebraska, I think of Pius X.  His overall coaching record now stands at 200 wins and 104 losses, roughly winning more than 60 percent of his games.

Aylward has produced major college and pro prospects in his 30 years at Pius X.  Adam Treu, who played at Nebraska and later in the NFL for teams like the Oakland Raiders.  How about kicker Greg Zuerlein?  He was the kicker on Pius X's 2004 Class B state championship team, played at UNO before the program dissolved with the move up to Division I and later kicked at Missouri Western.   Zuerlein is now kicking for the St. Louis Rams, who have greatly benefited from his leg that used kick long-range field goals at Aldrich Field.


Aylward's guidance as Pius X's head football coach goes beyond the field and has helped shape the lives of many great athletes in that school's history.

We wish Coach Aylward a big congratulations on achieving the milestone!

Other coaching milestones this season include Lincoln Northeast softball coach Kari Amen, who picked up her 300th career win earlier this season.  She earned it when the Rockets beat Fremont 12-3 on Aug. 22.


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UPSET BUG BECOMES FRIDAY EPIDEMIC

Several rated teams fell in upsets on Friday night.  Most notably in Class B, with top-ranked and defending state champion Omaha Skutt was upset by Blair 45-28.  A 16-game win streak came to a crashing halt for the SkyHawks.  Blair, by the way, had a 1-3 record coming into the game and those three losses came at the hands of ranked teams like Elkhorn, Gretna and Seward.

Grand Island got knocked off by Omaha Westside 27-24 Friday night at GI's Memorial Stadium.  The Islanders had the ball with 2 1/2 minutes left in the game, but the Warriors withstood the GI attack and held on for the win.

The rivalry game between Norris and Waverly goes back more than 50 years and Friday night, the two teams met again as if they were contenders for a state title.  Although Waverly was winless entering the game and Norris had one win under their belt, the atmosphere proved otherwise, as a last second field goal from Bryton Bell sealed it for the Titans with a 23-20 victory.



Bobby Bowden Back In Nebraska?!

You may remember about two months ago that MaxPreps.com announced that former Florida State football coach Bobby Bowden was coming to Nebraska as part of the MaxPreps 2014 Rivalry Series.   

The legendary coach was at Gibbon's homecoming football game with Wood River Friday night, signed autographs before and after the game, spoke to the players before kickoff and expressed the great appreciation he has for Nebraska.

Bowden's Florida State teams were national contenders during Nebraska's heyday in the 1980s and 1990s.  The 1993 national title was decided between the Cornhuskers and Seminoles, with Florida State winning 18-16.

Bowden spoke at halftime to the crowd at Gibbon, saying the most American people in the country are in Nebraska.  He told the Omaha World Herald he wouldn't have come if the invitation hadn't been Nebraska.  Bowden added he felt like he owed it to Nebraska.

Bowden's Florida State teams occasionally came to Lincoln and played Nebraska in a regular season series.  Even then, he expressed the admiration he had for the fans and program.  Nothing has changed in Bowden's mind.
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