Creighton Prep

Quarterback Dave Jandric helped Omaha Creighton Prep to its last undefeated season in 1985. The Junior Jays have had seven perfect seasons, which leads the list of Omaha high schools.

All seven of last year’s high school football champs were undefeated.

Think that’s normal?

Hardly. It happened for the second time since the state playoffs began in 1975.

The rare perfect year of perfection triggered my curiosity for another search through the archives.

How many perfect seasons — no losses, no ties — have there been in Nebraska high school football through the ages?

After 2018, the total is 945. Chronologically from Ashland in 1893 to Omaha Skutt last year. Alphabetically from Adams to York St. Joseph’s (both schools no longer in existence).

Let’s run through some of the superlatives:

Most perfect seasons, any division: Lincoln High with 15, the last in 1954. Four others also are in double digits — Perkins County (Grant) with 14, Cambridge with 13, Norfolk’s Catholic high school (Burns/Sacred Heart/Catholic) with 12 and Battle Creek with 11.

Most, eight-man: Falls City Sacred Heart leads with seven. Howells had six, with five for Odell, Winnebago, Adams and Wheatland.

Most, six-man: Big Springs and Hardy had six. Those with five are Arthur County and Palisade.

Most by one coach: Ed Haenfler of Perkins County guided the Plainsmen to nine in 19 seasons (1948 to 1966). Doug Goltz at Falls City Sacred Heart is the active leader with seven, spanning 16 seasons beginning in 1988.

Those with six: Jeff Bellar at Norfolk Catholic, most recently 2017; Mike Speirs with Howells (all between 2000 and 2010); Dan Keyser with Cambridge (between 1989 and 2003) and Bob Schnitzler of Battle Creek (his last was the 1992 Braves juggernaut that blasted Scott Frost and Wood River in the Class C-1 semifinal).

Most by an Omaha school: Creighton Prep, which has laid claim to 19 state titles, has seven, the last in 1985. Omaha Holy Name was the first with seven in 16 years ending in 1958. Omaha North has four spanning 1929 to 2014.

Most consecutive: In eight-man, Sacred Heart ran the table each year from 1988 to 1993 while winning a state-record 87 games in a row. In 11-man, Cambridge was perfect in C-2 from 1996 to 1998 during a 48-game winning streak. Earlier trifectas were by Grant from 1962 to 1964 and West Point from 1965 to 1967. Six-man trifectas have been by Diller from 1954 to 1956, Arthur County from 2009 to 2011 and Riverside from 2015 to 2017.

During the 44 years of playoffs, there have been 17 undefeated state champions in Class A, 23 in Class B, 28 in C-1, 30 in C-2, 29 in Eight Man-1, 28 in Eight Man-2 and 22 in Six-Man (which didn’t crown champions when the NSAA didn’t conduct playoffs).

Compilation of this list began with World-Herald archives, NSAA playoff records and research done by the late Jerry Mathers, the state’s first dedicated prep historian. Other daily and weekly newspapers that are digitally searchable then were consulted, especially to verify Mathers’ material amassed long before the Internet.

If this is not a perfect list of perfection, let me know. The years prior to 1940 are the most difficult to track down. So please provide verification.

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Reporter - High school sports

Stu is The World-Herald's lead writer for high school sports and for golf. Follow him on Twitter @stuOWH. Phone: 402-444-1041.

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