Nebraska high school football quarterfinal round playoff capsules, compiled by The World-Herald's Stu Pospisil. All games are Friday, Nov. 8.
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All times are in Central Time.
No. 8 Elkhorn South (7-3) at No. 2 Millard West (10-0), 8 p.m. at Buell Stadium: The Storm, in the quarterfinals for the second straight year, must break through against a defense giving up 180 yards a game. Elliott Brown has thrown for 1,226 yards for South, but has thrown 10 interceptions against 13 touchdowns. Eli Hustad is its leading rusher and receiver. Dalys Beanum and Kaedyn Odermann are the top two targets for West’s Tristan Gomes. Ethan Valencia is the Wildcats’ leading rusher. Stu’s pick: Millard West. Radio: KOBM (94.5, 1420, Omaha).
No. 4 Omaha Burke (9-1) at No. 1 Bellevue West (10-0), 7: The top two passers and top two receivers in Class A will be on the field. Oh, yeah, also a running back who’s one touchdown away from 100 in his career. Notre Dame pledge Xavier Watts has caught 61 passes for 1,072 yards and 13 touchdowns for defending champion Burke from QB Reid Burke, who’s No. 2 with 1,874 yards and 20 TDs passing. NU-bound Zavier Betts has 47 catches for 933 yards and 15 touchdowns for West from Nate Glantz, who leads with 2,407 yards and 30 TDs. West’s Jay Ducker has rushed for 1,550 yards and scored 34 touchdowns. Stu’s pick: Bellevue West. TV: Cox13.
No. 7 Omaha Westside (8-2) at No. 5 Lincoln Southeast (9-1), 7 at Seacrest Field: Southeast rallied for a 22-17 win over the Warriors in September. Nick Halleen has 23 touchdowns and 1,556 yards on the ground for the Knights. Westside’s rushing and receiving are by committee, but Cole Payton has thrown for 1,723 yards and 21 touchdowns. Stu’s pick: Lincoln Southeast. Radio: KNTK (93.7, Lincoln), KLMS (1480, 101.5, Lincoln).
No. 6 Grand Island (9-1) at No. 3 Millard South (9-1), 4: The visiting Islanders are trying for their second quarterfinal win in a row at Millard South, winning last year 27-24. Carson Cahoy has thrown for 1,754 yards and 15 touchdowns against one pick, with Broc Douglass gathering in 52 passes for 851 yards and nine scores. A healthier Caleb Francl has improved G.I.’s rushing game. Isaiah Harris leads Millard South with 1,676 yards rushing, and T.J. Urban has thrown for 1,096 yards and rushed for 995. Stu’s pick: Millard South. Radio: KRGI (99.7, Grand Island), KOBM (94.5, 1420, Omaha).
No. 8 Norris (7-3) at No. 2 Scottsbluff (10-0), 7: This game may hinge on the availability of Scottsbluff quarterback and linebacker Sabastian Harsh, who’s been hurt the past six quarters; Brett Hill has been his replacement. Jacob Krul has rushed for 1,512 yards for the host Bearcats, and Harsh has 1,174. Aidan Oerter is averaging nearly 200 yards passing a game for Norris. Stu’s pick: Scottsbluff. Radio: KNEB (101.7, Scottsbluff), KHYY (106.9, Minatare).
No. 5 Omaha Roncalli (8-2) at No. 4 Grand Island Northwest (9-1), 7: The host Vikings have their most wins since 1985, the last time they were state champions. Rans Sanders has thrown for 1,441 yards and rushed for 719. Roncalli’s offense, averaging 449 yards a game, has Jack Dotzler (2,560 yards) throwing to Shane Orr (762 yards, a Class B record-tying 14 TD catches) and Ryan Fenoglio (754 yards). Stu’s pick: Grand Island Northwest. Radio: KKJK (103.1, Ravenna), KSYZ (107.7, Grand Island), KVSS (102.7, Omaha).
No. 6 Bennington (7-3) at No. 1 Omaha Skutt (10-0), 7: How much has the SkyHawks’ secondary improved from when it gave up 44 completions and 407 yards to the Badgers’ Nick Bohn in Skutt’s 49-28 win in the season opener? Bohn is on the threshold of a 3,000-yard season and has 37 touchdown passes. Skutt’s winning streak is at 23 games as Tyson Gordon has topped 1,000 yards rushing and passing. Stu’s pick: Omaha Skutt.
No. 7 Hastings (8-2) at No. 3 Waverly (9-1), 7: Contrasting styles collide. Hastings relies on the pass with Jarrett Synek, who’s thrown for 2,363 yards and 27 touchdowns. Waverly is run-first with quarterback Mason Nieman rushing for 1,049 yards and Zane Schawang 948. Stu’s pick: Waverly. Radio: KHAS (1230, Hastings).
No. 3 Adams Central (10-0) at No. 6 Aurora (7-3), 7: Defending champion Aurora comes full circle from its 24-8 season-opening loss to the Patriots, who have topped 30 points in every game after that. Adams Central’s Gabe Conant is up to 27 touchdowns and 1,399 yards rushing, and C-1 record-setting passer Evan Johnson has season totals of 1,951 yards and 19 scores. Stu’s pick: Adams Central. Radio: KICS (1550, Hastings), KRGY (97.3, Aurora).
No. 2 Pierce (10-0) at No. 7 Ord (7-3), 7: Pierce has beaten the Chanticleers three times in the past two seasons, but it’s Ord that was in the 2018 state finals. Pierce won 28-14 on Sept. 13, but gave up 205 yards passing to Zach Smith (1,313 in 10 games). Tommy Stevens has rushed for 1,451 yards for Ord. Pierce will pound away with 1,000-yard rushers Brett Tinker and Carson Oestreich. Stu’s pick: Pierce. Radio: KEXL (97.5, Norfolk), KING (103.9, Ord).
No. 5 Columbus Scotus (8-2) at No. 1 Wahoo (10-0), 7: Two weeks ago, without starting quarterback Tyler Palmer, Scotus lost 49-0 at Wahoo. He’s back and helped the Shamrocks beat Wahoo Neumann in the first round. Wahoo is allowing only 101 yards a game. Stu’s pick: Wahoo. Radio: KLIR (101.1, Columbus).
No. 4 Ashland-Greenwood (10-0) at No. 8 Wayne (8-2), 7: Wayne hasn’t been past the quarterfinals since 1983. Blake Bartos and Reid Korth are the Blue Devils’ 1-2 punch in the running game. Ashland-Greenwood is playing its first ranked opponent this season. Stu’s pick: Ashland-Greenwood. Radio: KCTY (1590, 98.5, Wayne).
No. 5 Battle Creek (9-1) at No. 3 Sutton (9-1), 7: Sutton opened the 2018 playoffs with a 22-7 win over the Braves. The Mustangs’ Jackson Perrien has rushed for 1,561 yards and 19 touchdowns. Sutton has four shutout wins, Battle Creek three. Stu’s pick: Sutton. Radio: KNEN (94.7, Norfolk), KTMX (104.9, York), KLIQ (94.5, Hastings).
No. 4 Bancroft-Rosalie/Lyons-Decatur (9-1) at No. 7 North Bend (9-1), 7: BRLD got Lucas Vogt back from a rib injury, and he caught two touchdown passes from prolific quarterback Will Gatzemeyer in the first round. Gatzemeyer is averaging 376.5 yards a game in total offense and is No. 1 in passing. No. 2 is North Bend’s Austin Endorf, who has 2,110 yards this year and 6,270 in his career. His teammates have improved greatly on defense. Stu’s pick: BRLD. Radio: KQKX (106.7, Norfolk).
No. 6 Doniphan-Trumbull (9-1) at No. 2 Oakland-Craig (10-0), 7: Oakland-Craig finished last week’s win without injured quarterback Colten Thomsen. With him, the Knights are averaging 50 points a game. Doniphan’s quarterback, senior Griffin Hendricks, started two years ago for Yutan on its state title team. Stu’s pick: Oakland-Craig. Radio: KTIC (107.9, West Point).
No. 8 David City Aquinas (8-2) at No. 1 St. Paul (10-0), 7: St. Paul’s Eli Larson leads C-2 rushers with 1,818 yards. The Wildcats played only one team ranked at the time (Norfolk Catholic, 3-6). They’re the eighth opponent for Aquinas to have been in the ratings. Stu’s pick: St. Paul. Radio: KZEN (100.3, Central City), KRGI (96.5, Grand Island), KKPR (98.9, Kearney).
No. 7 Arthur County (7-2) at No. 3 Cody-Kilgore (9-0), 2: Cody-Kilgore won 73-32 at Arthur on Sept. 6. This is the only quarterfinal rematch in six man. The Cowboys are coming off a 100-0 win over SEM, in which Taylor Cady made 11 of 13 two-point kicks unique to six man. Stu’s pick: Cody-Kilgore. Radio: KMCX (106.5, Ogallala), KVSH (940, Valentine).
No. 8 Eustis-Farnam (7-2) at No. 2 McCool Junction (9-0), 4: McCool made it past the first round for only the third time in 12 playoff appearances. Eustis-Farnam is seeking its first spot in the semifinals since 2003. Its freshman running back, Colton Stubbs, is averaging 13 yards a carry while amassing 1,021 yards. McCool’s Dana Hobbs has 34 touchdowns. Stu’s pick: McCool Junction. Radio: KAMI (92.7, 100.1, 1580, Cozad), KOOL (103.5, 1370, York).
No. 5 Creek Valley (9-0) at No. 10 Sandhills Valley (5-4), 7 p.m. at Stapleton: Creek Valley’s Oakley Hodges has scored on 17 of his 26 receptions, mostly from senior Patrick Hansen. Sandhills Valley moves up to eight man next season. The Mavericks’ Conner Phillips was out four games, but returned last week to throw three touchdown passes. Stu’s pick: Creek Valley. Radio: KMCX (106.5, Ogallala).
No. 6 Sioux County (8-1) at No. 1 Harvard (9-0), 3: Harvard averages 440 yards a game and doesn’t yet have a 1,000-yard rusher or passer. Sioux County is close to one as Tommy Watson has passed for 1,284 yards and rushed for 985. Stu’s pick: Harvard. Radio: KBPY (107.7, Chadron).