Let's do a little compare and contrast, shall we?
In 2017, there were four Lincoln teams that qualified for the State Football Playoffs (Lincoln High, Southwest, Pius X and Lutheran), while Waverly was the other Lincoln metro team that also reached the postseason. All but Lutheran had early exits, while the Warriors finished in the semifinals of the C2 playoffs.
Now a year later, there are five Capital City teams in Class A (LHS, Southwest, Southeast, East and Pius X), two area teams in Class B (Norris and Waverly) and one in C1 (Lutheran) that will embark on a journey to try and bring home the first state championship in Lincoln since 2011.
The big matchup in the opening round of the Class A field features No. 9 Southwest vs. No. 8 Southeast, in a return matchup from the second week of the season, which the Knights won. The winner of Friday night's game will have to face undefeated, top-ranked and No. 1 seed Omaha Burke.
Lincoln High, who has won their last seven games, may be the hottest team in the state. The Links are a No. 6 seed and host No. 11 Elkhorn South. The winner gets No. 3 seed Bellevue West, which, if Lincoln High wins, would be a rematch of a double-overtime thriller from week one the Thunderbirds won in double-overtime.
Lincoln East and Lincoln Pius X each face a tall task in their brackets. The Spartans play at No. 4 seed Omaha Westside, with the winner to face either Millard West or Creighton Prep. By the way, we're a little more than a week removed from East upsetting Millard West at Seacrest Field.
Pius X plays at No. 2 seed Millard South. This, too, is another return bout for both teams. The Patriots, though, escaped from Lincoln with a 42-39 win in the late moments of that game in week 2.
Class B weighs heavily in favor of Omaha Skutt, Scottsbluff, York and McCook. Waverly is right behind them, as a potential "final four" team. The Vikings host Lexington on Friday, but likely would face McCook in the quarterfinal. Last year, the Bison beat Waverly 34-23.
Norris makes the playoffs with a 5-4 record and hopes to spoil Seward's bid make a run.
In Class C1, Lincoln Lutheran, who just beat Ashland-Greenwood 26-21 on Friday, will have to try and beat the Bluejays again to advance in the playoffs. Both teams will square off Friday night at 7 here on LincolnPrepSports.com. ROCKETS JUST MISS OUT
Lincoln Northeast saw the biggest improvement this year from a year ago. Head Coach Shane Zimmerman, who had a run of great success at the prep level in Colorado, is looking to establish the same thing in Nebraska with Northeast.
The Rockets return quarterback Shadon Shannon and running back Nick Halleen next year, in what looks to be a promising campaign.
Zimmerman sold his players on his system and they responded well. Restoring a winning culture at Northeast by going 5-4 and just missing the playoffs is a very good first step, if you ask me. Still, the Rockets in the playoffs would have added to all of the postseason fun.CROSS COUNTRY SUCCESS FOR EAST, PIUS X GIRLS/NORTH STAR'S CHOT
Lincoln East and Lincoln Pius X won team titles Friday at the NSAA State Cross Country meet in Kearney.
The Spartans had five of their seven runners finish in the top 25 in Class A, giving them the championship, while Fremont finished second. East sophomore Jenna Muma finished second, while junior Abigail Schmidt came in 9th, senior Madison Muma was 11th, while senior Abby Volkmer and junior Taylor Searcey finished 19th and 24th respectively. Sophomores Eve Weber and Ella Laessig came in 35th and 63rd.
In Class B, the Thunderbolts won the team championship ahead of Elkhorn. Pius X's Laura Martin was sixth, while Adelina Herrera came in 11th, Allyson Kourus was 13th. Monica Hanus finished 14 and Helena Occansey came in 17th.
On the boys side, Lincoln North Star's Liem Chot won the Class A race. The sophomore also won the LPS championship in late September and shows a bright future in the sport the next couple of years.
Fremont won the boys team title.