Two weeks remain in the regular season. How healthy is your quarterback?
Hope we aren’t jinxing anybody, but many state contenders have kept their starter upright throughout the first seven games.
Three notable exceptions are Grand Island, Bellevue West and Norfolk Catholic.
Grand Island could be without Cole Evans, who went out in the first half of its 30-24 double overtime loss at Millard West with an ankle injury, for its nondistrict game Friday at home against Lincoln Southwest. Both teams are 6-1.
Evans’ backup, junior Carson Cahoy, kept the Islanders going but threw three interceptions, including one to Dalys Beanum in the second overtime.
Bellevue West lost Jacob Coldanghise for the season in its second game. Fortunately for the Thunderbirds, wide receiver Evan Kieser was their starter two years ago as a sophomore. He’s gotten them to 7-0.
Norfolk Catholic’s Nate Brungardt broke his collarbone in a season-opening loss at Pierce, but sophomore Cayden Cunningham has won all six of his starts to preserve the Knights’ No. 2 ranking in Class C-2.
Three teams already have clinched playoff berths as district champions — Bellevue West and Omaha North in Class A and Mullen in Eight Man-2. Six teams win district titles with wins this week — York in Class B, Arlington in Class C-1, Norfolk Catholic and Centennial in C-2, Nebraska Christian in Eight Man-1 and Bloomfield in Eight Man-2.
In the races for the last at-large berths in each 11-man class, Lincoln East moved in and Lincoln Northeast out in Class A, Plattsmouth in and Crete out in Class B, Central City in and Columbus Scotus out in C-1 and David City Aquinas in and Battle Creek out in C-2.
Top 10/Class A: Even at 6-1, Lincoln Southwest can’t crack the ratings. Strength of schedule — and a 22-13 win Aug. 31 over the Silver Hawks — is the reason for 4-3 Lincoln Southeast getting the No. 10 spot ahead of them. Southeast also edged previous No. 10 Lincoln Pius X 21-14 last week.
Millard West and Grand Island flip positions, with Grand Island remaining ahead of Lincoln High (5-2) and Omaha Westside (7-0).
Class B: No. 10 seems to be a revolving door. Norris returns after previous occupant Hastings lost 55-10 to new No. 5 Seward. Grand Island Northwest drops from sixth to ninth for losing 35-19 at No. 3 York. No. 6 Waverly loses one spot for its 30-14 setback at No. 1 Omaha Skutt.
Class C-1: Lincoln Lutheran’s 19-16 win at Auburn elevates the winner into eighth while costing the Bulldogs their No. 6 ranking. Adams Central picks up two spots to sixth and Wahoo Neumann stays seventh despite a 14-12 home loss to No. 3 Wahoo.
Class C-2: No changes.
Eight Man-1: Wakefield’s 38-22 win at then-No. 4 West Point GACC shook up the second five. The Trojans (4-2), on a four-game winning streak, are sixth, with West Point GACC seventh, Wisner-Pilger eighth, Norfolk Lutheran ninth and Nebraska Christian 10th. The last three move down, despite winning, because of Wakefield’s entry.
Eight Man-2: No. 9 Garden County and No. 10 Overton replace Wauneta-Palisade, which lost 34-20 to Garden County, and Randolph, which fell 30-12 to No. 6 Bloomfield.
Six Man: Sterling returns to replace Deshler, which lost 54-52 to the Jets.