Omaha Burke coach Paul Limongi spoke during practice this week about getting the ball in the hands of his big-play guys.
Quarterback Reid Burke got the message, tossing three touchdown passes in a 34-17 homecoming win over Omaha Central on Friday night.
Reid Burke fired touchdown passes of 19, 31 and 85 yards as sixth-ranked Burke (2-1), the defending Class A champion, bounced back from last week’s loss to Millard West.
“Coach preached about getting the ball into our playmakers’ hands,” Burke said. “I was happy that I was able to do that.”
The Bulldogs sprinted to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter and never looked back. Limongi said it was nice to see his team maintain pressure on the Eagles (1-2) until the end.
“Our first two games, we didn’t have the killer instinct,” he said. “Central battled us, but I thought we did a pretty good job tonight.”
Tonio Clark set the tone for the Bulldogs, racing 58 yards on the opening play. Four plays later, Clark went over from the 1 to put Burke on top 7-0.
After the Bulldog defense forced a three-and-out, the offense went back to work. On third-and-15, Reid Burke hit Notre Dame recruit Xavier Watts on a 31-yard touchdown connection.
Burke’s second touchdown pass came when he found Michael Payne for an 85-yard score. The Bulldogs faced third-and-16 from their own 15 before striking on the long touchdown.
Central recovered a pair of fumbles and closed to 21-10 by halftime.
DeAnthony Bridgeford-Jackett caught a 6-yard scoring pass from quarterback Abe Hoskins, and Sam Levy booted a 27-yard field goal.
The Bulldogs extended the lead on their first drive of the second half. Jaylon Roussell rushed for 41 yards on the march and capped the drive on a 19-yard scoring toss from Burke.
It was the last pass of the night for the quarterback, who completed 10 of 11 for 200 yards.
“Reid put the ball in the hands of our playmakers,” Limongi said. “That’s what we wanted him to do.”
Watts, one of the biggest playmakers in the state, scored the Bulldogs’ final touchdown on an electrifying 65-yard interception return. He tightroped the Burke sideline and left several defenders behind as he sprinted to the end zone.
“That was pretty special,” Reid Burke said. “Not too many guys are going to make that play.”
Central’s final score came on a 6-yard pass from Hoskins to Marcus Baptiste.
Roussell rushed for 161 yards to lead the Burke ground attack. He had 80 yards in the first half and 81 in the second.
Hoskins passed for 149 yards and rushed for 67 more to lead Central. The quarterback came over to congratulate Reid Burke after the game when Burke was speaking to a reporter.
“We know we’ve got some things to clean up,” the Bulldogs quarterback said. “But it was nice to get a win tonight.”
Omaha Central (1-2).............0 10 0 7—17
At Omaha Burke (2-1)............14 7 6 7—34
OB: Tonio Clark 1 run (Colin Urban kick)
OB: Xavier Watts 31 pass from Reid Burke (Urban kick)
OB: Michael Payne III 85 pass from Burke (Urban kick)
OC: DeAnthony Bridgeford-Jackett 6 pass from Abe Hoskins (Sam Levy kick)
OB: Jaylon Roussell 19 pass from Burke (kick failed)
OB: Watts 65 interception return (Urban kick)
OC: Marcus Baptiste 6 pass from Hoskins (Levy kick)
Rushing: OB, Abe Hoskins 16-67, DeAnthony Bridgeford-Jackett 10-14. OC, Jaylon Roussell 19-161, Tonio Clark 6-64, Toby Kellner 8-36, Xavier Watts 1-6, Reid Burke 7-(minus-32), team 1-(minus-27).
Passing: OC, Hoskins 21-34-1 149. OB, Burke 10-11-0 200.
Receiving: OC, Dylan Baker 2-14, Alex Castillo 6-41, Marcus Baptiste 6-54, Bridgeford-Jackett 6-33, Amariyan Lathan 1-7. OB, Watts 3-42, Roussell 2-14, Michael Payne 3-113, David Moreano 2-31.
1 of 15
Front row, from left: Sam Sims, Grand Island; Dietrick Stolz, Grand Island Central Catholic; James Burks, Omaha Burke; Dylan Sales, Omaha Burke; Shane Dailey, Bellevue West; Jarod Epperson, Omaha Skutt. Second row, from left: D.J. Gross, McCook; Garrett Snodgrass, York; Xavier Watts, Omaha Burke; Jevyon Ducker, Bellevue West; Kohl Herbolsheimer, Millard South; Alex Rodgers, Omaha Roncalli. Third row, from left: Joseph Krause, Seward; Ethan Piper, Norfolk Catholic; Nick Henrich, Omaha Burke; Garrett Nelson, Scottsbluff; Chris Hickman, Omaha Burke. Back row, from left: Zavier Betts, Bellevue West; Mehki Butler, Omaha North; Caden Johnson, Wahoo Neumann; Tyson Gordon, Omaha Skutt; Baylor Scheierman, Aurora; Noah Stafursky, York. Not pictured: Isaiah Alford, Lincoln High
Like the burr oaks at Mahoney State Park that were the backdrop for this photo, the 2017 All-Nebraska football team branched out with players from the Wyoming state line to the Missouri River.
The 2016 All-Nebraska football team "earned their wings" at the Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum.
Back row from left: York's Masry Mapieu, Bellevue West's Sylvo Johnson, Lincoln East's Chris Walker, Gretna's Patrick Arnold, Bellevue West's Tyler Ciurej, Omaha Burke's Cole Frahm, Wilber-Clatonia's Riley Homolka, Norfolk's Lane McCallum, Ashland-GW's Brett Kitrell, and Beatrice's Cam Jurgens.
Middle row from left: Kearney's Noah Urbanek, Bellevue West's Jaylin Bradley, Omaha North's Kendrick Parker, Omaha North's Milton Sargbah, Elkhorn South's Moses Bryant, Omaha Skutt's Christian Banker, and Creighton Prep's AJ Hubner.
Front row from left: Wahoo Neumann's Noah Vedral, Omaha North's Zion Williams, Bellevue West's Diego Galvan, McCook's Zach Schlager, Bellevue West's Kevin Ponec, Norris' Austin Schultz, and Millard North's Jack Begley.
The 2015 All-Nebraska football team gathered at Papillion-La Vista High School for the photo shoot.
The 2014 All-Nebraska football team posted on the steps of the Joslyn Art Museum. The cover read: "A Step Ahead: The 24 members of the All-Nebraska football team towered over foes."
Back rows, starting from left: Papillion-La Vista South’s Jeremy Kowalski, No. 75; Seward’s Adam Holtorf, No. 79; Papillion-La Vista South’s Ryan Earith; Kearney’s Brian Arp, No. 55; Elkhorn South’s Brett Stinson; Grand Island’s Kevin Cahoy, No. 12; Omaha Central’s Tre Sanders, No. 6; Omaha Central’s DaiShon Neal, No. 9; Grand Island’s Pierce Almond, No. 2; Blair’s Vance Janssen; Bellevue West’s CJ Johnson; Boone Central/Newman Grove’s Wyatt Mazour; Omaha Central’s Xavier Graham, No. 64; Creighton Prep’s Jeremiah Stovall; and Creighton Prep’s Jack McLeay, No. 54. Front rows, starting from left: Omaha North’s Cole Bixler, No. 34; Omaha North’s Michael Decker, No. 78; Omaha North’s Calvin Strong, No. 5; Omaha North’s Jason Martin; Grand Island Central Catholic’s Youhanna Ghaifan; Millard North’s Adrrell Taylor, No. 27; Omaha North’s Marquise Lewis, No. 1; McCook’s Bryce Lyons, No. 21; and Omaha North’s Markell Vaughn, No. 22.
In 2013, the All-Nebraska football and volleyball teams came together for a photo shoot, and the cover was designed to look like a Facebook page with the teams taking one big selfie.
The 2012 All-Nebraska football team made a splash in the shark tunnel of the Scott Aquarium at the Henry Doorly Zoo.
Standing, from left: Luke McNitt, Kearney; DJ Foster, Lincoln Southeast; Josh Banderas, Lincoln Southwest; Nick DeLuca, Millard North; Harrison Phillips, Millard West; Mike Milenkovich, Millard North; Bryce Sosnowski, Millard South; Nathan Bazata, Howells-Dodge; Casey Sayles, Omaha North.
Middle row: Christian LaCouture, Lincoln Southwest; Jordan Bellar, Norfolk Catholic; Clay Fisher Millard North; Isaac Aakre, Millard North; Matt Kraft, Millard South; Alec Ditoro, Papillion-La Vista; Jake Schlager, McCook; Lee Carhart, Creighton Prep; Freeman Coleman, Millard South.
Front row: Andy Bayne, Millard North; Trey Carr, Omaha Burke; Calvin Strong, Omaha North; Skyler Monaghan, Millard West; Devin Washington, Lincoln Southeast; RJ Urzendowski, Creighton Prep.
With the Omaha skyline in the background, the 2011 All-Nebraska football team was "Standing Tall" at Pioneer Courage Park not far from the Omaha World-Herald building.
Bottom Row (from left): Tay Bender, RB, Lincoln Southwest; Isaac Aakre, RB, Millard North; Landon Arnold, OL, Millard North; Andrew Coppa, DL, Omaha Burke; Trey Foster, DL, Lincoln Southeast; Bo Liekhus, DB, Bellevue West.
Middle Row (from left): Darian Barrientos-Jackson, DB, Omaha Central; James Anderson, OL, Omaha Burke; Andy Janovich, LB, Gretna; Drew Farlee, K, Norfolk Catholic; Mike Minter Jr., DB, Lincoln North Star; Sam Cotton, DL, Lincoln Southeast; Devin Washington, RB, Lincoln Southeast; Sam Foltz, DB, Grand Island; Jeremy Callahan, P, Lexington; Robbie Lafour, OL, Lincoln Southeast; Jake Schany, LB, Blair; Jordan Nelson, RB, Omaha Burke; Ryker Fyfe, QB, Grand Island.
Top Row (from left): Jordan Brichacek, OL, Howells; Zach Oliver, WR, Omaha Burke; Terry Grigsby, DB, Omaha North; Drew Ott, LB, Giltner; Mike Shoff, OL, Cambridge.
All-Nebraska football captains Jimmie Forsythe of Omaha Burke and Tyson Broekemeier of Aurora were the focus in 2010 during this shoot at Turner Park at Midtown Crossing.
The 2009 All-Nebraska football hopped aboard this old streetcar at the Durham Museum.
There was "nothing pedestrian" about the 2008 All-Nebraska football team, which posed in front of the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge.
Back row, from left, Tyrone Sellers of McCook, Corey Serrano of North Platte, Nathan Zook of Grand Island, Eric Koehlmoos of Pierce, Tyler Daake of Norfolk Catholic, Tyler Niederklein of Millard West, Charles Viers of Millard West, Josh Kage of Papillion-LaóVista, Jake Herweyer of Millard West, Cole Pensick of Lincoln Northeast, Jordan Hale of Millard South, Andrew Rodriguez of Aurora, James Davis of Omaha North, Jon Lechner of Prep, Scott Criss of Omaha Creighton Prep and C.J. Zimmerer of Omaha Gross. Front row, Matt Berry of McCook, Braden Taylor of Grand Island, Vinny Molina of Kearney, Kohlman Adema-Schulte of Millard West, Bryant Giles of Omaha North, Michael Burrus of Papillion-LaóVista South, Ronald Coleman of North, Tyler Seals of Bellevue West and Greg Hardin of Bellevue West.
For the 2007 All-Nebraska football team, The World-Herald chose individual shots for the cover instead of the group photo, and the result was "Picture Perfect."
No challenge was too steep for the "Rock Solid" 2006 All-Nebraska football team, who posed in front of a climbing wall at Dick's Sporting Goods.
The 2005 All-Nebraska football team wore letterman jackets for the photo shoot instead of their jerseys.
Top, from left, Millard North's Corey Young, Lincoln Southwest's Ian Dike, Millard North's Adam Nelson, Bellevue West's Silas Fluellen, Omaha Central's D.J. Jones (back row), Millard North's Jeff Tarpinian, Kearney's Tony Green, Lincoln Southwest's Ben Martin, Bellevue West's Jeff Martin, Lincoln Southwest's Ollie Sloup, Papillion-LaVista's Kyle Dooley and McCook's Josh Cherry.
Bottom, from left, Omaha Benson's Anthony Williams, Kearney's Joey Rousseau, Lincoln Southwest's Andy Cotton, Omaha Burke's Ricky Henry, Omaha South's Philip Barrientos, Creighton Prep's Mark Waring, Omaha Burke's Alex Henery, Millard West's Brandon Pete, Omaha Burke's Travis Liechti, Millard North's Paul Homer, Omaha North's Aaron Terry and Millard West's Matt Leaders.
Nothing says football like rows of poinsettias. Those were the accents that went with this photo shoot for the 2004 All-Nebraska football team.