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11/06/2018 - From The Press Box: Burke Flexes Muscle Despite Unique Stat, Waverly Keeps Rolling

From The Press Box

OMAHA---Call me crazy, but there is no doubt who the better football team was Friday night at Burke Stadium.
Omaha Burke able to survive an attempt from Lincoln Southeast in the third quarter to take away the momentum to hold on for a 35-13 victory.  To Southeast’s credit, they were able to force two fumbles for a loss and recover an onside kick, which put Burke’s momentum sustainability in jeopardy.
Burke, though, is perhaps the most dangerous team in Class A with approximately 100 penalties for nearly 900 yards.  To me, you would see that unusually high statistic from a team that may be winless or under .500.

What makes up for that is the talent the Bulldogs have on both sides of the football.

Husker recruit Nick Henrich is an All-State selection at linebacker that can play running back.  However, he’s been sidelined with injuries.  Running back James Burks is an offensive threat, along with quarterback Tyler Chadwick.  Husker commit Chris Hickman is able to use his 6-6 frame to make leaping catches and is a great defensive end for the Bulldogs.  Throw in two-sport star Xavier Watts and you have an offensive and defensive threat at receiver and cornerback.  It was Watts who intercepted a pass from Southeast quarterback Coleby Daffer in that pivotal third quarter to cool the Knights’ chances to overtake the momentum.

But when will penalties finally catch up to Burke?  They host Millard West Friday night, who edged Omaha Westside 28-21.  The Wildcats would like to avenge the Week 2 loss to the Bulldogs (Burke won 31-14).  Millard West certainly could cause issues for Burke, if they are able to find a way to contain that high-powered offense and force them to commit mistakes.

As for Southeast, this was an exciting season for them and the other Lincoln schools.  The loss of Jampe Gergen in the first round against Lincoln Southwest showed the Knights may have been in an uphill battle with Burke.  But give credit to Coleby Daffer, the junior varsity quarterback who threw two touchdown passes in the win over Southwest, and McGuiness Schneider for helping command the Knight offense.  Both did what they were supposed to do, but somehow Burke found a way to over power Southeast's offense early.
The other side of the Class A semifinal features Bellevue West and Grand Island.  That may be the better game of the two to watch. 

The Thunderbirds are simply good, period.  Coach Michael Huffman has done a great job of building a respected program with great talent.

Meanwhile, the Islanders are simply dangerous.  Grand Island earning wins over defending Class A champ Omaha North and No. 2 seed Millard South makes for interesting discussion over whether they can make trip back to the Metro for a second-straight week to pull off another upset.  Grand Island hasn’t played in a state title game since 1990 and have only won a single Class A title in the playoff system (1978).
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It continues to be a magical football season for Waverly High School.

The Vikings (9-2) advance to the Class B semifinals and will host top-seed Omaha Skutt Friday night at Viking Stadium. 

Senior quarterback Rhett Jordon continues to amaze fans with his ability to run and pass the football.  He ran for almost 300 yards and two touchdowns and threw a 79-yard touchdown pass to Mason Nieman as part of the 36-30 victory over McCook on Friday night at McCook. 

Jordon is the first Waverly football player to rush for over 1,000 yards and pass for over 1,000 yards in a season.  He helped the Vikings rally back from a 20-7 deficit in the first quarter.  Kaleb Canoyer also contributed with two touchdown runs in the game.

More importantly, credit was given by Jordon to his offensive line, which consists of tackles Trevor Brown and Sam Schneider; guards Logan Schuelke, Justis Priess and Jared Nielsen; center Cade McKibben and tight ends Alex Murray and Sawyer Schroeder for helping in the ground game.

This Friday night’s game, which will be simulcasted on via KFOR Radio, should make for an exciting rematch between Waverly and Skutt.

In covering their Oct. 5 game at Skutt, the Vikings led the SkyHawks for much of the first half and hung in there, until a couple of big plays in the second half.  Jacob Epperson’s 60-yard touchdown run happened to be one of those big plays, as Skutt won 30-14.

The weather and crowd this week could be key in this game.  If a late-week weather system brings in snow and cold (as its forecasted to do), that could make a difference in the playing surface. 

Regardless of the weather, the crowd will show up.  I’m guessing the stadium will be packed. 

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