Photo Credit: John S. Peterson

2021 Nebraska High School Football Superlatives

November 18, 2021

The high school football season is ending soon. Hail Varsity has been on the scene all season long, taking in the action on a weekly basis. There’s been a lot of great action through a fun season of football. Next week we will see champions crowned in each of the classes. As the teams get ready to hit Memorial Stadium, let’s take a look back on some of the best things I saw through the fall.

Best atmosphere

As if the matchup between the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in Class B wasn’t enough, the teams agreed on a wrinkle for the game back in October. Bennington went with all-blue uniforms and Elkhorn went with all-red. This was agreed on before the season according to Bennington coach Kam Lenhart.

“Coach [Dan] Feichert and I texted during the summer and thought it would be cool,” Lenhart said. “The NFL does it, so hey, this is the perfect opportunity to do it with them wearing all reds and us in all blues. So, we said let’s roll with it.”

What a fun thing for their teams that these two coaches came up with. It definitely helped with the big game atmosphere. I do have to give an honorable mention. I have to mention the fire-throwing student that performed at the Gretna halftime show. That’s not something you see every day.

Best student section

I’m going all the way back to the opening week of the season for my pick here. The game between Bellevue West and Omaha Burke had a fun and lively atmosphere. Driving up to the stadium you could sense that something was different. This was an anticipated season-opener between a pair of Class A powers. After Omaha Burke didn’t play in 2020, there were a lot of players eager to show what they could do. It was a fun atmosphere at the game under the lights with both student sections staying active. Even seeing the band back in full force that night was a reminder of how cool these high school games can be. We missed that in 2020.

Best offensive performance

There was one performance that came to mind on this one. Lincoln East faced off against Lincoln Southeast back in October. There was one player people came away from that game talking about. Lincoln East quarterback Noah Walters. He went 23-for-29 with 430 yards and five touchdowns that night. He absolutely shredded a Lincoln Southeast defense that features several Division I players. Walters ended up having a record-breaking season. He broke Cedric Case’s single-season passing yards record for Class A. This is game that put him on the radar in 2022.

Best defensive performance

There were a lot of good defensive performances that I witnessed this season. The one I think stood out the most actually occurred in a loss. North Platte senior linebacker Vince Genatone was a one-man wrecking crew this season. That was definitely on display in early October. That’s when his team faced off against Creighton Prep. The Junior Jays feature the best offensive line in Class A. That night Genatone racked up 15 total tackles and a pair of tackles for loss. It remains to be seen where Genatone ends up playing his college football. I think he will be successful where ever he ends up.

Best player I saw

There were a lot of good players in the state of Nebraska this season. Several players I saw will play Division I football, including for the Huskers. There was one player who stood above the rest when it came to dominance. Bennington is hoping to capture a Class B championship soon. If they do it will be in large part because of running back Dylan Mostek. The senior running back had a trio of 300-yard games this season. He had four games where he went over 240 yards. His season low was 149 yards in a game his team won 41-0. I saw him play twice this season and in those games he posted 384 yards and six touchdowns. Mostek had a phenomenal season that won’t be soon forgotten.

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