Hail Varsity was on the scene Thursday night in Bellevue to kick of the high school football season. The game featured a Class A matchup between Bellevue West and Omaha Burke. It was a highly-anticipated game that didn’t quite live up to expectations. The Thunderbirds ran away with the contest 58-14 to start their season off with a bang.
Here are my five thoughts on the game.
Senior Luke Johannsen and sophomore Daniel Kaelin battled closely during fall camp. Kaelin had a big summer earning scholaroship offers from Nebraska and Florida State. It was assumed on the outside looking in that he’d win the job. Johannsen got the start during Bellevue West’s season-opener. Both quarterbacks had flashes where they made plays. Both also has tough moments. It will probably be a while before coach Mike Huffman can settle on just one.
Quiet Night for Tight Ends
You expect to see big plays when a team features two tight ends committed to Auburn and Oklahoma. The duo of Micah Riley-Ducker and Kaden Helms didn’t produce fireworks in the season opener. It was a quiet night on the stat sheet for them. Yet it’s hard to overstate the amount of attention they garner from opposing defenses. That helped other teammates shine. There is plenty of skill talent on the Thunderbirds offense.
Dae’vonn Hall Show
The game featured three 2022 players that will play big-time college football. One of Bellevue West’s quarterbacks has early Power Five offers. Several players on the field will go on to play college football at some level. Yet the best player on the field for this game was 2024 wide receiver Dae’vonn Hall.
#5 had been the best player on the field tonight. pic.twitter.com/w7kQcZ0IfW
— Greg Smith (@GregSmithHV) August 27, 2021
Unofficially Hall finished the first game of his sophomore season with four catches for 121 yards and two touchdowns. He also added 15 yards and an end around. Hall debuted in the 2024 rankings inside the top 100. He’s going to be a major recruit moving forward. Nebraska is in the mix early.
Devon Jackson After a Year Off
It was a tough night overall for Omaha Burke in the team’s first action since the 2019 season. It was also an up-and-down game for 4-star outside linebacker Devon Jackson. The speedster showed his athleticism on both offense and defense during the game. He also showed signs of rust. It will be interesting to check back in on him after he’s worked his way back to being settled into playing football.
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 everything in 2020 there were a lot of people ready to get back to something closer to a “normal” game. It was a fun atmosphere at the game under the lights with both student sections staying active. Seeing the band back in full force Thursday night was also a reminder of how cool these high school games can be.
Greg is the Recruiting Analyst for Hail Varsity and has covered Husker athletics since 2013. He has always had a passion for sports while growing up in the Chicago area. As he got older and had to hang up his cleats and sneakers, he realized his passion for sports went beyond just watching and attending games. He has covered many events from the Rose Bowl to championship boxing matches. If he’s not talking sports, he’s hovering over his grill. He is married to an amazing woman, Kim, and they have a dog that barks when Greg yells at the TV during games.