Millard North’s promotion to No. 1 definitely has been earned.
Its 17-7 win last week over Omaha Creighton Prep was the third in as many weeks against a ranked team.
Now look at what’s on the horizon for the Mustangs. Starting with Thursday’s home game with undefeated and sixth-ranked Kearney, they won’t go a week the rest of the way without playing either a team that’s been ranked or has a winning record going into the game:
Once-ranked Omaha Burke on Sept. 21. Undefeated, No. 4 Papillion-La Vista on Sept. 28. Bellevue West, which should be 4-2, on Oct. 5. No. 9 Omaha Westside on Oct. 12. Undefeated, No. 5 Omaha North on Oct. 19.
A 9-0 record definitely will have been earned.
Millard North’s defense has been tops in Class A through three weeks, giving up 20 points. There are playmakers at every level of the 4-2-5 alignment — Mike Milinkovich, Steven Graeber and Nick Marchese in the front four, Nick DeLuca at linebacker, Clay Fisher in the secondary.
Who can’t wait to see them go up against Papillion-La Vista’s offensive show with quarterback Alec Ditoro and all his receivers and running backs? If both teams are undefeated until then, Buell Stadium should be rocking that night.
First, though, is a Kearney team that last week gave Lincoln Southwest its first loss. Dual-threat quarterback Luke McNitt, at 6-foot-2 and 225 pounds, must keep the Mustangs’ defense off-balance and guessing for the Bearcats to pull the upset. It’s the first meeting between the schools.
Millard South’s 28-20 win at Lincoln Southeast, which ended the Knights’ winning streak at 13 games, opened No. 1 for the Mustangs. Millard South is second this week, with Southeast third.
Papillion-La Vista and No. 5 Omaha North are the two other undefeated teams in Class A. Neither has played a ranked team. North has beaten its three overmatched Omaha Public Schools rivals — Benson, South and Bryan — by a combined 171-7. The blowouts come to an end for the Vikings with Friday’s game against Lincoln Southwest at Seacrest Field.
Prep remains seventh, with Southwest falling from fifth to eighth. No. 9 Omaha Westside drubbed Grand Island 42-7. Millard West (1-2) returns in 10th after its 15-7 comeback win over Burke.
Ratings leaders Beatrice in Class B and Norfolk Catholic in C-1 also needed comebacks. Beatrice trailed York (1-2) 24-21 before scoring the final 17 points for a 38-24 win. Norfolk Catholic trailed Boone Central/Newman Grove by 10 in the third quarter before winning 35-31 on a touchdown with 1:06 left.
Minter out at North Star: Mike Minter Jr., a returning All-Nebraska player and a Super Six selection, has been dismissed from the Lincoln North Star team.
“Mike no longer is a part of our program,” North Star coach Mark Waller said. “He didn’t play against Lincoln Southwest, and he was getting ready to play the next week and got in more trouble the night before the Lincoln Northeast game. We just had to let him go.
“I feel bad. He has tremendous skill and talent, and a lot of people, including Coach Bo (Pelini) and Coach (Tom) Osborne at Nebraska, tried. But until he decides to choose well and change, you can only do so much.
“We’re moving on without him. We hope he hangs in there, stays at North Star and gets his high school diploma.”
Minter, the oldest son of former Blackshirt Mike Minter, is a 6-1, 180-pound running back and defensive back who reportedly has offers from Kansas, Purdue, Clemson and South Carolina and also said he was considering Alabama, Stanford, Tennessee, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Oregon.
Top games this week:
Class A—Thursday: Kearney-Millard North at Buell. Friday: Omaha North-Lincoln Southwest at Seacrest (4:30 p.m.), Lincoln North Star at Lincoln Pius X, Millard South-Millard West at Buell, Omaha Creighton Prep-Lincoln Southeast at Seacrest (8 p.m.).
Class B—Thursday: Crete-Omaha Gross at Bryan Stadium. Friday: Blair at Beatrice, Columbus at Norris, Gering at McCook, Gretna at South Sioux City.
Class C-1—Friday: Ashland-Greenwood at Fort Calhoun, Chase County at Chadron, Raymond Central-Lincoln Lutheran at Nebraska Wesleyan, Cozad at Broken Bow.
Class C-2—Friday: Elmwood-Murdock at David City Aquinas, North Platte St. Patrick’s at Ravenna, Ponca at Hartington Cedar Catholic, Battle Creek at Oakland-Craig.
Eight Man-1—Friday: High Plains at Howells-Dodge, Overton at Elm Creek.
Eight Man-2: Kenesaw at Giltner.
Six Man: Elkhorn Valley at Silver Lake, Arthur County at Wauneta-Palisade.
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