When I made my way to Omaha to check out Omaha North against Lincoln Southeast I knew I was in for a good battle in the trenches.
Not only does Lincoln Southeast feature Wisconsin defensive tackle commit Bryson Williams but also Omaha North has a tremendous run game powered by the dynamic duo of Milton Sargbah and Zander Gray.
Sargbah is a 2018 recruit that was in attendance for the Nebraska game against Northern Illinois while Gray is just a junior and was on the sidelines for the season opener against Arkansas State.
Omaha North won the game 49-28 after having a stellar second half. North was up 28-21 at the half when head coach Larry Martin lit into his team. I asked him after the game what the message was to the team.
“We’re playing well offensively. We have to continue to work on our passing game," he said. "Passing the football, there are a lot of movable parts in that. It’s not just the quarterback. Halftime we knew we weren’t getting there with three guys and their quarterback is good enough to hit the open guys. We just have to work on that.
"We started bringing pressure in the second half and that helped. Lincoln Southeast had a good game plan and they confused us on a couple of coverages. I was disappointed in that but sometimes when you have stubborn kids, they have to be shown.”
That Omaha North run game that I mentioned earlier? The Vikings rushed for 472 yards as a team with 269 from Gray and 228 more from Sargbah. Gray told me after the game that he knew he had to be close to 200 yards but didn’t realize he did that well. I came away from the game impressed with both backs.
It’s hard not to be impressed by Gray because of his size, speed and balance. All of those attributes were on display on the 94-yard touchdown run he had during the game. Going forward, it will be interesting to see him slim down and keep his power to be able to play running back at the college level. I’ve been told that he is really dead-set on playing running back at the next level.
Sargbah is also getting a look from Nebraska and it’s easy to see why. The senior is undersized (5-7, 160) but what he lacks in size he makes up for in quickness, balance and pure speed. He rarely goes down on first contact and displayed great vision in the game. After the game, Coach Martin talked about juggling the two talented backs.
“I just let the coaches go," he said. "Those two kids are so unselfish and happy for each other’s success. They just both bring a lot to the table and I’m happy for them both. I appreciate their unselfishness. Coach [Brooks] Tapp does a great job with them.”
I will see this dynamic duo again later in the season when they take on Omaha Burke in what should be one of the best games of the year.
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.