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5 Thoughts on Omaha Creighton Prep’s 41-7 Win Over Lincoln Southeast

September 17, 2021

The Omaha Creighton Prep Junior Jays made a statement at Burke Stadium on Thursday night, blowing out Lincoln Southeast 41-7 and sending the Knights back to Lincoln with their first loss of the year.

Here are five thoughts on the game.

Relentless Rushing Attack

Behind a big offensive line that controlled the line of scrimmage against a talented Southeast front, Creighton Prep ran the ball on nearly 80% of its snaps to the tune of 6.8 yards a pop and six scores.

CharMar Brown carried the load early (12 carries for 92 yards and two touchdowns), Jack Stessman took over late (14 carries for 94 yards and two touchdowns) and Prep sprinkled in fullback dives throughout with George Egan (six carries for 36 yards and a touchdown).

Wideout Pierce Johnson got the party started with a 15-yard end-around for the first touchdown on Prep’s second offensive snap.

Brown, a junior, is one to keep an eye on. Prep struggled to get the ground game going in its two losses, but he went off for 141 yards and a touchdown in a 30-3 win over Papillion-La Vista in week two. At 6-foot and 205 pounds, Brown is a powerful runner who had touchdown carries of 11 and 14 yards and also ripped off a 33-yard gain on Thursday.

Field Position: Priceless

Creighton Prep’s first three drives started on the Southeast 22, the Southeast 38 and the Prep 44. Each of those drives ended in a touchdown, and the Junior Jays led 20-0 before the end of the first quarter. Nebraska fans have found out the hard way over the last few years how important wining the field position battle is in football, and Thursday was an extreme example of that.

Things couldn’t have started out much worse for Southeast as a three-and-out on the first drive of the game led to a punt… which didn’t even make it back to the line of scrimmage. Two plays later Prep was in the end zone.

Prep forced another three-and-out on Southeast’s second drive, and this time the punt at least went forward, but only 20 yards. This time it took Prep six plays to get into the end zone.

In total, excluding a one-play drive that ended in a kneel-down at the end of the first half, Prep’s average starting field position was just past its own 45-yard line. Four of those possessions began in Southeast territory. Conversely, Southeast’s average starting field position was just inside its own 24. Half of the Knights’ touches ended in touchbacks.

Nowhere to Run

The Junior Jays’ defense was aided by the big disparity in field position, but those defenders were the primary reason for the difference. Southeast’s first three drives were three-and-outs, and the fourth ended in a strip-sack and fumble recovery on Southeast’s third play.

In Southeast’s first three games, junior running back Max Buettenback, a Nebraska baseball commit, racked up 491 yards on 81 carries (21 carries for 174 yards in week one, 30 carries for 172 yards in week two, 30 carries for 145 yards in week three). On Thursday, he unofficially finished with 29 yards on 18 carries. He only had two carries run over 4 yards and 11 of his carries failed to gain more than two yards.

As a team, and including 21 yards lost by sacks, Southeast gained just 17 yards on the ground on 29 carries. The Junior Jays were stout up front, led by junior Sam Sledge (a two-way impact lineman and another name to know in the 2023 class), and they did a great job of going sideline-to-sideline to prevent Southeast from getting the edge and turning upfield.

Southeast dd have some success through the air as quarterback Willem Reddick went 21-for-31 for 243 yards, but it wasn’t enough to put more than seven points on the board.

Apple(get) of Southeast’s Eye

Creighton Prep dominated the game from start to finish, but from an individual standpoint, Huskers commit Jake Appleget was as impressive as anyone on the field. The numbers themselves were impressive: eight receptions for 104 yards and Southeast’s only touchdown, and he also recorded an interception on defense.

The way he got those numbers was even more impressive, though. He had gains of 27, 27 and 32 yards. One one reception, he went up and high-pointed the ball over the top of a defender. On another, he juked a defender out of his shoes and made two others miss before going down. On another, he drove the man trying to tackle him forward for an extra five or so yards.

His touchdown was on a simple corner route form the 10-yard line that had the cornerback covering him running in the wrong direction.

Appleget is slated to play on the defensive side of the ball at Nebraska (and the interception he made was pretty impressive, leaping up from his linebacker position and ripping the ball out of the air), but he is a terrific receiver at the high school level as well and is a lot of fun to watch.

Prep Picking up Momentum

The Junior Jays got off to a rough start this season as their biggest rival, reigning Class A champion Omaha Westside, humbled them in the season-opener 23-8. Prep bounced back to trounce Papillion-La Vista 30-3 in week two. Last week, the Junior Jays fell behind early but rallied to give a very talented Bellevue West team a scare before running out of time in a 28-22 loss.

Through four weeks, Creighton Prep is 2-2, and its very possible they have already faced their three toughest opponents. With the way that defense is playing right now, the Junior Jays have a chance to get on a bit of a roll here hiding into the second half of the regular season. They still have some tricky games left on the schedule with home games against North Platte and Lincoln East especially, but this looks like a team that is getting better each and every week and will be tough to deal with come the postseason.

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