The final stats for Omaha North running back Calvin Strong told the story Friday night in the game against Papillion-La Vista South.
Thirty-one carries, 306 yards and five touchdowns.
Strong, the Class A rushing leader, ran roughshod over the host Titans in a 46-16 victory. The 5-foot-8 junior had 124 yards in the first quarter, 241 by halftime and 306 after the third quarter before sitting out the fourth.
“It's a blessing to be able to come out and show our talent like this,” Strong said. “And I feel like we're getting better every week.”
That's good news for the top-ranked Vikings, who are 5-0 heading into their tough district schedule. In the next four weeks, they'll face teams who all have been ranked this season — Omaha Burke, Papillion-La Vista, Bellevue West and Millard North.
“Our district is like a playoff atmosphere,” North coach Larry Martin said. “But we're going into that part of our schedule heading in the right direction.”
The Vikings, who are averaging almost 50 points per game, set the tone on their first drive in front of an estimated 2,000 fans. They marched 80 yards in 11 plays, with Strong scoring his first touchdown on a draw play up the middle.
He scored his second TD later in the quarter on a 1-yard run, then added two more touchdowns in the second quarter on runs of 3 and 29 yards.
The 2-3 Titans could manage only a first-half field goal from Billy Greco and went to the locker room trailing 27-3. It didn't get any better in the third quarter as the Vikings struck for three more touchdowns to take a 46-10 lead.
Strong scored his fifth TD on a 7-yard run, which came shortly before the Titans' lone TD of the night. A 70-yard scamper by Drew Klein set it up, and Papio South scored two plays later on a 6-yard run by Luke Sellers.
The Vikings responded with their first of two passing touchdowns, an 82-yarder from junior quarterback Payton Nelson to wide receiver Marquise Lewis. After a Titans fumble, Nelson hit Grant Martin with a 24-yard TD toss.
Papio South closed out the scoring midway through the fourth quarter on a 1-yard run by reserve quarterback Noah Thornton.
Strong gave credit to his blocking for his big night. The North linemen up front were seniors Quentin King and Adam Steinspring and juniors Neal Sellers, Justin Edwards and Michael Decker.
“Our blocking was tremendous tonight,” he said. “Those guys deserve a lot of credit, too.”
North amassed 541 yards in total offense — 405 rushing and 136 passing.
The Titans were able to put up 296 yards on the stingy Vikings defense, but 70 came on the long run by Klein. He rushed 20 times for 149 yards.
Martin, whose Vikings play next Friday night at Omaha Burke, smiled as he spoke about Strong's 306-yard performance.
“That young man is special,” he said. “But we've got to keep moving forward and play with a purpose every game, because it's not going to get any easier.”
Omaha North (5-0) ................................................ 14 13 19 0—46
At Papillion-La Vista South (2-3) ............................ 0 3 7 6—16
ON: Calvin Strong 35 run (Nick Polito kick)
ON: Strong 1 run (Polito kick)
PLVS: FG Billy Greco 26
ON: Strong 29 run (kick failed)
ON: Strong 3 run (Polito kick)
ON: Strong 7 run (Polito kick)
PLVS: Luke Sellers 6 run (Greco kick)
ON: Marquise Lewis 82 pass from Payton Nelson (kick failed)
ON: Grant Martin 24 pass from Nelson (kick failed)
PLVS: Noah Thornton 1 run (kick failed)
RUSHING: ON, Calvin Strong 31-306, Payton Nelson 3-14, JaVaughn Perkins 1-10, Jalail Jones 5-23, Tyrus Harris 3-49, Keonte Tolbert 2-4, Dalton Willmore 1- (minus 1). PLVS, Drew Klein 20-149, Gabe Smallwood 2-7, Luke Sellers 4-20, Noah Thornton 3-11, Triston Fairchild 1-7, Brian Lapke 1-7.
PASSING: ON, Nelson 4-15-1 136. PLVS, Smallwood 4-7-1 26; Thornton 5-8-0 69.
RECEIVING: ON, Marquise Lewis 2-104, Grant Martin 1-24, Tavion Seals 1-8. PLVS, Josh Manchigiah 1-12, Dylan Donahue 2-14, Klein 2-24, Sellers 1-3, Jared Norblade 2-28, Nik Shad 1-14.