Many football coaches don’t get to 100 games before calling it a career.
Jeff Bellar has coached in 100 playoff games, the last 99 at Norfolk Catholic.
That’s the equivalent of 11 nine-game regular seasons. That’s a reason Bellar has a state-record 346 career wins.
Friday night, Bellar makes it an even 100 at Norfolk Catholic. The Class C-1 No. 1 Knights (10-0) visit No. 4 David City Aquinas (8-1) for their highly anticipated quarterfinal. In the preseason rankings, Aquinas was first and Norfolk Catholic second.
Bellar’s career record in playoff games is 77-23. The Knights have won eight state championships in his first 31 seasons.
Only four coaches have playoff-game totals greater than those 77 wins. Two have teams still playing this year. Doug Goltz of Falls City Sacred Heart, whose team visits Bloomfield on Tuesday in the Eight Man-2 quarterfinals, is 63-22 in 85 games. Mark Wortman of Elkhorn, whose team hosts Elkhorn South in a Class B quarterfinal Friday, is 55-24 in 79 games.
Tom Jaworski was 59-23 in 82 games at Omaha Creighton Prep before retiring in 2010. Carl Tesmer of Hastings St. Cecilia, whose Bluehawks missed the playoffs this year, is 50-28.
Some other notables include Ron Mimick, 59-17 in 76 games at Aquinas (and St. Cecilia before there); Mike Spiers, 58-10 in 68 games at Howells and Howells-Dodge; Fred Petito, 44-19 in 63 games at Millard North; and Tim Turman, 44-21 in 65 games at Wahoo Neumann.
2 teams, 10 years, 105-13 marks
Here’s another curious stat involving Bellar, Mimick and their programs:
Going into this game, each team’s 10-year cumulative record is 105-13 — an .890 winning percentage.
Humphrey St. Francis, which saw its season end Wednesday on a 34-30 loss at Sacred Heart, is next best in the past decade at 102-14 (.879).
More tough decisions
It looks like Osceola and High Plains will form a co-op eight-man team after High Plains’ school board gave 4-2 approval in a special meeting on Oct. 25. The issue was reconsidered after the board deadlocked on a July vote.
Perkins County in Grant is in a pickle because of an extraordinary split in its three-grade NSAA enrollment of 72 — 51 boys, 21 girls. If the Plainsmen stay in eight-man — and they are in the Eight Man-1 quarterfinals after their Hail Mary pass won Wednesday’s game with West Holt — they have already used their one-time waiver on exceeding enrollment limits. With 20 players, a return to 11-man would not be prudent.
Bayard has announced it is dropping from 11-man to 8-man, making it at least the second Panhandle school to choose that route. Kimball is the other.