Omaha North has been the standard for Class A football in the past decade. The Vikings have advanced to at least the semifinals in five of the last eight seasons.
Last year, North lost to eventual runner up Grand Island in the first round and finished the season with a 6-4 record. Now the 2019 Vikings are looking to get back into championship form.
World-Herald prep recruiting specialist Mike Sautter attended Omaha North football practice Monday. Here are his observations.
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The 2019 Viking secondary might be the best in the state. Led by North Dakota State commit Marques Sigle the Vikings have speed, strength and will look to punish their offensive counterparts. Sigle is likely to play cornerback in college but lined up at free safety Monday. Opposite Sigle at strong safety is big hitting senior Treon Fairgood-Jones. At left cornerback is senior Aveon Barnes, while junior speedster Mahliq Duff is opposite him.
Sticking with defense, the linebacker corps should be a strength of the team as well. D'Anthony Cribbs and fellow inside linebacker LaVaughn Luellen will lead the Vikings' 3-4 defensive front. Sophomore Keshaun Williams moves from defensive back to outside linebacker, and Omaha Concordia transfer Sam Scott can do a little bit of it all.
North will run the ball and run it well with Cribbs and Fairgood-Jones among those splitting time in the backfield. Sigle will likely play some receiver as well. Senior slot receiver Carter Martin could have a big year. He won't take the top off the defense like some of his teammates, but he is sure-handed and can make the clutch third-down catch.
Replacing record-breaking running back Zander Gray will be a challenge, but the Vikings have the players to fill some of that production. It is still yet to be determined if Cribbs, Fairgood-Jones or someone else can take the role of lead back in 2019.
Last season's steady quarterback Houston Fogelstrom has graduated. Replacing him will likely be Darius Hagen. He has the skills that should help him transition to the Vikings' starter.
The depth on the offensive and defensive line will be a question. Juniors Hunter Push and Tristan Gray are both promising linemen but will need to step into leadership roles. Push will likely need to play 20-30 snaps on the defensive side of the ball. Providing depth on the defensive line is Alex Rodriguez and converted junior receiver John Farmer.
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