Omaha North fighting for its playoff life in Week 6? Millard North and Norfolk Catholic, too?
Sure looks like it for the three perennial playoff teams that are sitting at 1-4. In this decade, Omaha North has qualified eight of nine years, been to five state finals and won three; Millard North qualified the first eight years before staying home last year and won three titles in six years; and Norfolk Catholic has gone 9 for 9 in qualifying with four titles in six finals appearances.
All three played incredibly difficult schedules the first five weeks with every loss to a ranked team.
Omaha North could be 3-2, but dropped a 24-21 overtime game to Omaha Creighton Prep on opening night and gift-wrapped Omaha Burke a 31-27 win after leading with a minute left.
Millard North also could have beaten Prep, having led by 20 with 13 minutes left only to lose 31-30. The Mustangs halted their six-game skid by winning 34-13 at Fremont on Friday.
Norfolk Catholic, which stayed in the Class C-2 ratings despite opening with four losses, led David City Aquinas with 90 seconds left before falling 14-3.
Omaha North probably has to beat Papillion-La Vista South (3-2) on Friday to remain in playoff contention. The winner looks to be the second-place qualifier from District 1. Otherwise, the Vikings would have to upset No. 1 Bellevue West on Oct. 17 — they did beat the Thunderbirds last year — to keep faint hopes of an at-large berth.
Millard North’s Thursday game against visiting Elkhorn (3-2) likely keeps the winner in contention for District 4’s two playoff berths. A loss for Millard North probably would mean winning out — including against Burke on Oct. 18 — to get to 4-5 and staying alive for the playoffs.
Norfolk Catholic, which edged Crofton 21-20 to break its five-game skid, hosts Hartington Cedar Catholic (2-3) on Friday. The Knights need to run the table to be district champion and an automatic qualifier.
Top 10/Class A: Kearney rises to No. 9 in a flip-flop with now-No. 10 Prep, which lost 49-21 at No. 6 Westside. The 10 teams look pretty entrenched.
Class B: Odd to see three teams that lost last week rise in the ratings, but that’s the nature of this class that has only nine teams with winning records. Bennington goes from ninth to seventh despite a 24-14 loss to No. 5 Omaha Roncalli, Norris returns at No. 8 after taking No. 3 Waverly to the wire in a 21-14 loss and Seward comes in at No. 10 after extending No. 4 Grand Island Northwest in a 35-28 loss.
Exiting are previous No. 7 McCook , which lost to Lexington for the first time since 1999 — 24-21 in two overtimes — and No. 8 York, which fell 19-13 to Beatrice. Those four teams are all 2-3.
Class C-1: Columbus Scotus (4-1) enters at No. 10 after previous No. 9 Wayne lost 42-0 to Pierce. Scotus’ loss was 50-21 to Pierce.
Class C-2: No losses, no changes from last week.
Eight Man-1: Major revisions, starting with Howells-Dodge rising to No. 1 after Elm Creek beat previous occupant Burwell 36-28. Burwell tumbles to ninth and Elm Creek enters at No. 7. Ravenna is 10th after beating previous No. 7 Fullerton 36-18.
Eight Man-2: No. 9 Overton (2-2) knocks Kenesaw from the ratings although Kenesaw beat the Eagles 18-6 on Sept. 6. Since then Pleasanton beat Kenesaw but Overton last week beat Pleasanton. So the principle of what-have-you-for me lately is applied. Pleasanton falls from sixth to 10th. Kenesaw had been seventh.
Six Man: Maywood-Hayes Center is eighth after ending defending state champion Wilcox-Hildreth’s 15-game winning streak. Red Cloud also enters, riding a three-game winning streak, as Sterling lost 55-0 to No. 2 McCool Junction. The Jets (2-3) faced Nos. 4, 2 and 1 the past three weeks.
Top games Friday
Class A: Kearney vs. Millard West (at Buell Stadium), Millard South vs. Elkhorn South (at Elkhorn Stadium).
Class B: Elkhorn Mount Michael at Omaha Roncalli, Grand Island Northwest at Beatrice, York at Hastings.
Class C-1: Columbus Scotus at Wahoo Neumann, Chadron at Ogallala, Columbus Lakeview at Pierce.
Class C-2: David City at David City Aquinas, Yutan at Fremont Bergan, North Bend at Centennial, Hartington Cedar Catholic at Norfolk Catholic, Kearney Catholic at Sutton.
Eight Man-1: Howells-Dodge at Neligh-Oakdale, Tri County at BDS, Elmwood-Murdock at Weeping Water.
Eight Man-2: Allen at Hartington-Newcastle, Pleasanton at Elwood.
Six Man: Crawford at Cody-Kilgore, Grand Island Heartland Lutheran at Harvard.