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08/21/2016 - From The Press Box: Football Season Has Arrived, Already?

 I'm told that with age time flies by faster each year.

So what happened to summer?  Gone in an instant and we're talking football, all of a sudden.

I'm not complaining, just always wondering where does the time go.

With that said, the high school football season officially gets started with games this week and plenty of great match ups to begin the 2016 campaign.

There will be plenty of talk about which Omaha area team will win Class A and if the outstate teams even stand a shot of winning gold.  Can the Lincoln teams rebound this year and overcome a sub par performance from 2015?

Our Union Bank and Trust Pre-Season Top Ten has no Lincoln metro teams in the Class A rankings but Southeast is listed as a contender.  I, for one, believe this year's Knights ball club will shed the underachieving image from the past two years and actually have a pretty good run this season.

Face it, there is experience and depth that Southeast coach Ryan Gottula has kept in the program but somehow nothing has really gelled from 2015.  Quarterback Jack Strong, tight end Sterling Smith and lineman Bryson Williams are veterans with an idea on what it will take to be successful.

It also helps that Southeast has plenty of returning players with varsity experience and newcomers from an 8-1 JV team that could put the Knights back in the spotlight.  The key, as stated in their season preview, is that Southeast needs to build team chemistry.

I'm confident that the Knights will be much better than what they've produced the past two seasons.  But they must win key games early (Northeast, Southwest and East) to get off on the right foot.

Southeast's season opening opponent, Northeast, returns ten starters, five on each side of the ball.

The Rockets are coming off a playoff berth from last season and hope to do it again with a new quarterback, senior Talon Little.  He's got a great running back in Tivon Phillips, split end Caden Highsmith and tight end KaVon Lofton.  Highsmith became Northeast's single season receptions leader last season.

East is another team that's optimistic.  The Spartans, who missed the playoffs last year after winning city titles and 

While we're talking about teams with higher expectations, we can't forget about Lincoln High.  A 4-5 record a year ago and missed the playoffs after losing a key game toward the end of the season.  The Links have a renewed sense of optimism this year.

However, replacing starters at key skill positions will be challenging.  Lincoln High's freshman team was the talk around town, winning by big margins in winning the city title.  The Links hope that can transition well to the varsity level.

Overall, Millard North is my pick to be No. 1 in Class A.  However, they could be interchanged with Bellevue West and Omaha North.  The Metro Conference will be tough once again and likely battling for supremacy in the state.

Papillion-LaVista South, Millard West and Omaha Creighton Prep are the next three, then comes Omaha Central, Grand Island, Kearney and Omaha Burke.  Still, I think it's worth mentioning that Lincoln East and Lincoln Southeast are in contention for a ratings spot and how they perform early in the season will determine if they can make a move up or not.

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Defending Class B champ Elkhorn South starts the year at No. 1.  The Storm should be dominant, but will have Omaha Skutt, Aurora and York looking to take the top spot at some point.

Class B should be loaded with great teams again.  Looking back over a 15-year period, the race to No. 1 in Class B (also Class C1) has probably been the most interesting out of six classes.  

All the fun begins Thursday night and again on Friday!  Sit back and enjoy!


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