As far as I'm concerned, we're passed the halfway point in the high school football season and it may be one for the Class A Lincoln teams to forget.
But before I go any further, let's consider this.
Lincoln North Star and Lincoln Northeast are each 3-2 on the year and have legitimate shots of post-season chances. Did anyone think at the start of the season this would be true? To be honest, I didn't.
Nothing against the teams or coaches from those fine institutions. Just on paper, teams like Lincoln Southeast (pre-season rated) and Lincoln Southwest seemed to be the favorites.
I'll admit to being wrong. Nobody's perfect. Hopefully, those at my alma mater (Northeast) can forgive me as well.
My first chance of seeing Northeast play this season will be this Thursday night when they host Millard South. It's a district matchup with a lot on the line for both teams. First and foremost, each team wants to come away with a win. Northeast wants to keep building momentum, while Millard South is looking to rebound from a huge loss to their "Q" Street rival, Millard West, last Friday.
Northeast's four remaining games are huge. They need to secure at least three district wins to solidify themselves into the Class A playoffs. Of the four games left, the biggest challenges will be from Grand Island and Norfolk, both of whom are ranked and undefeated. Millard South and Omaha Burke are good opponents, but seem to be winnable games for the Rockets.
Northeast has one district win, 33-17 at Fremont on Friday night. Again, it's about keeping up momentum and staying on your "A" game. Trevor Petersen and Alonga Chol demonstrated that in the victory over Fremont.
North Star continues to recover from that 49-14 loss to Millard North, who managed to throw for 302 yards and three touchdowns in the game.
That, to me, is staggering to think about. Millard North rarely throws the football.
For North Star, they need to respond quickly. The task doesn't get any easier when they go up to Papillion-LaVista South on Friday night. The No. 6 Titans are still a major contender for a big run through the Class A postseason. Trevin Ball, Keanu Russell, Tavlin Hunt, Dillon Ertz and the rest of the Navigators, like Northeast, will have to bring their "A" game.
As far as the rest of Lincoln, teams like Southeast, Southwest and East are fighting to stay in connection. The Knights face Lincoln High Friday afternoon at Seacrest. Southwest later hosts Papillion-LaVista, which could mark as a stepping stone for the Silver Hawks. East hits the road to play at Kearney, who already has defeated Southwest and Southeast in Lincoln this season.
AYLWARD REACHES 200TH WIN
Join me in tipping the hat to Lincoln Pius X head football coach Tim Aylward, who picked up his 200th career coaching win, as Pius X won 30-14 over Omaha Gross Friday night.
In 30-plus years at Pius X, Aylward continues the tradition of football excellence built up by his predecessor, the late Vince Aldrich.
Since taking over in 1985, Aylward has taken the Thunderbolts to 21 playoff appearances, which have resulted in four Class B state titles. The number of great athletes that have come through and played for Aylward is hard to keep track of, other than it's shown results.
Congratulations, again, to Coach Aylward!