The 2018 season for Nebraska high school football has already come and gone. So, it feels like a good time to take a review some of the things that stood out while I took in all the sights and sounds each Friday night this fall.
There was a lot of great action and fun this season, so let’s dig into it.
There is one entrance this season that stuck with me the most. The entrance at Lincoln High School is really cool. The sirens, the warnings over the PA system and the players coming out with links around their necks? It all comes together nicely to give the Links the nod here.
When you complete an undefeated season at 13-0 as a wire-to-wire No. 1 ranked team in Class A, you’ve done something special. That’s exactly what the Omaha Burke Bulldogs did on their way to the first state championship in school history. Burke coach Paul Limongi deserves a lot of credit for job well done. It’s not easy being the team that everyone is targeting for an entire season.
Back on Nov. 2, I went out to York for the playoff game against Seward. It was jam-packed and was the first time I can really remember seeing a standing room only crowd as fans from nearby communities also came to check out the action. I was told on the sidelines that extra bleachers were brought in for the visitor side and that still wasn’t enough to hold everyone. Hats off to both sides for creating a memorable atmosphere.
Of all the categories, awarding this one was the toughest. There are a lot of deserving players for this one like Omaha Burke’s Chris Hickman, Lincoln High’s Cedric Case, Scottsbluff’s Garrett Nelson, York’s Garrett Snodgrass or 2020 OT Turner Corcoran in Lawrence, Kansas (just to name a few). There can only be one best player and it goes to Omaha Burke linebacker Nick Henrich.
Henrich finished the season with 96 tackles and 19.5 tackles for loss despite missing the last handful of games with a knee injury. The future Husker has All-Big Ten potential and is a true sideline-to-sideline linebacker.
There was a big matchup between Bellevue West and Omaha North in October. There was a lot of excitement heading into the game and it certainly didn’t disappoint. North pulled the upset in a thrilling 52-49 game that got the Vikings’ season back on track. There were so many playmakers on the field in that game that I really wanted a rematch in the playoffs but we didn’t get it.
Best individual performance
If the Class A game where Xavier Watts tallied 11 catches for 159 yards and two touchdowns with a 2-point conversion and the game clinching first down was the last game I saw, he would have won this award. However, the next night Jared Epperson from Omaha Skutt tied a Class B playoff record with six touchdowns in the team’s 48-27 title-game win over Scottsbluff. Epperson had 363 total yards, 260 rushing, 77 receiving and 26 passing.
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.