Gretna vs Elkhorn
Thursday, 7 p.m. at Elkhorn High School
Records: Gretna (1-5), Elkhorn (3-3)
What to expect: The Dragons play on the road for the second Thursday in a row. This time they head down Highway 6 to take on Elkhorn. The Antlers are 1-2 at home while Gretna are 1-3 on the road. The Gretna offense has moved the ball by averaging 200 yards per game but haven’t converted much of those drives into points. Elkhorn is allowing 27 points per game which should give the offense opportunities for big plays. The Dragons just need to not get down early to be able to mix in their rushing attack.
The Gretna defense has struggled to stop opponents this season, allowing 33 points per game. It’ll be a good opportunity for the Dragons with Elkhorn, who’s lost back-to-back games, only averaging 17 points per game. Although like Gretna, the Antlers have moved the ball this season, averaging over 100 passing and 150 rushing yards a game. Gretna will need to start fast to break its three-game losing streak.
Papillion-La Vista vs Millard North
Thursday, 7 p.m. at Buell Stadium
Records: Papio (3-3), Millard North (2-4)
What to expect: Two weeks ago, this matchup would’ve favored the Monarchs big, but the Mustangs have won their past two games by a score of 89-27, including a win over Elkhorn at Buell last week. The Papio offense has struggled against the pass this season, but the Mustangs run the triple option. Papio will need to contain the edges and be stout in the trenches to have success on defense. Millard North has been known to get better as the season moves forward, so the Monarchs will need to stop MN on first downs to play the option to their advantage.
Papio’s offense has gotten better as the season has progressed too. The Monarchs should be able to score points against a defense allowing 29 points a contest. Running backs Cole Price and Jake Koory will need to continue to produce to give Kyle Ingwerson favorable outcomes on passing downs. The Monarchs are on a three-game winning streak and have scored over 30 points in those games. Both teams are trending up which should make for a good Thursday matchup.
Bellevue East vs Papillion-La Vista South
Friday, 7 p.m. at Foundation Field
Records: Bellevue East (1-5), Papio South (3-3)
What to expect: The Titans host the Chieftains for an ITG matchup. Papio South is 3-0 at home this season while Bellevue East is 0-2 on the road. The Papio South offense holds the advantage with the Chieftains allowing just under 40 points per game. Also, the Titans have a balanced attack to lean on. Quarterback Connor Crandall is throw for over 150 yards per game and running back Nick Sich is averaging 123 yards per game. The Titans should have plenty of opportunities for big plays.
The Papio South defense has only allowed 21 points in its three games at home. It’ll be a tough matchup for Bellevue East, who’s struggled without quarterback Luke Johannsen. Still, the Chieftains will need to rely on moving the ball through the air. Five of their six touchdowns have come via passing. They’ll have to make quick passes as the Titan front seven is aggressive getting to the quarterback.
Bellevue West vs Omaha South
Friday, 7 p.m. at Omaha South High School
Records: Bellevue West (6-0), Omaha South (4-2)
What to expect: The No. 1 ranked Thunderbirds head north on US-75 to take on the Packers Friday. Omaha South has had success this season but has yet to face a top ranked opponent. The six opponents Omaha South has faced are a combined 5-31 on the season. Bellevue West’s offense should continue to reach new heights in this game, especially with wide receiver Nate Sullivan returning last week. The T-birds are averaging 51 points per game and should keep up with that mark.
The Packers are averaging 176 passing yards and 241 rushing yards per game this season. They’ll attempt to come out with a balanced offense, but the Thunderbirds speed on defense should be able to hold the nest. Bellevue West has held their opponents to seven points or less five of the six games, including two shutouts. Expect another good performance from the group.
Bryan vs Lincoln East
Friday, 7 p.m. at Bryan Stadium
Records: Bryan (0-6), Lincoln East (4-2)
What to expect: Bryan hosts Lincoln East at Bryan Stadium Friday. The Bears offense has struggled to get anything going this season. It’ll be a tough matchup for the Spartans defense that is allowing 11 points per game, including 11 interceptions and 12 sacks. Lincoln East is averaging 28 points on offense while Bryan is allowing 58 points per game. The Spartans have won their past-two games and are 3-0 on the road.
Gross vs Norris
Friday, 7 p.m. at Norris High School
Records: Gross (3-3), Norris (4-2)
What to expect: The Cougars, who are 1-2 at home, head past Lincoln to take on the Titans, who are 2-1 on the road. Bennington has been the only opponent this season to go pass first against the Titans and had success. Gross relies on the pass themselves and will need to do so with its inconsistent running game. Despite losing big to Waverly last week, quarterback Jake McGregor still had success passing the ball to different receivers. The Cougars will need to put up points against a defense allowing 22 points per game.
The Titans offense will be a tough matchup for Gross. Norris passes the ball for 224 yards per game and the Cougars struggle in passing situation. The Titans also average 122 yard rushing but have had only one rusher eclipses over 100 yards in a game once this season. If the Cougars can be steady defending the pass then they’ll have a shot on the road. Platteview vs Concordia
Friday, 7 p.m. at Concordia High School
Records: Platteview (3-3), Concordia (2-4)
What to expect: The Trojans have a good matchup to respond to after a tough loss at home last week. If Christensen is a no go this week, Tobius Nixon will carry the load on the road. Quarterback Braden Johnson should continue to find wide receiver Alex Draper this week with Concordia struggling against the pass. The Mustangs are allowing 43 points per game which should give the Trojans plenty of opportunities at big plays.
The Trojan defense has been stout against every team but two top 10 teams this season. The Mustangs pass the ball a majority of the time, so the Trojans will need to create pressure to help out the defensive backs in coverage. Concordia has struggled to move the chains which is a good thing for the Trojans.
Ralston vs Plattsmouth
Friday, 7 p.m. at Ralston High School
Records: Ralston (1-5), Plattsmouth (2-4)
What to expect: The Rams have a good opportunity to break their four-game losing streak this week. The Blue Devils are on a losing streak too at three games. Running back Rashad Madden will need to continue to be the Ram’s workhorse with the passing game being non-existent during the losing stretch. Ralston needs a start fast on offense. That’s something they haven’t been able to do this season.
The Blue Devils rely on the rushing attack to guide the offense. They’ve only completed 31 percent of their passes this season. If the defense can create stop then the Ralston offense should be able to gain momentum. Ralston has struggled to stop teams, putting the offense in desperate situations. This game will be a close one with whoever doesn’t turnover the ball winning the game.