Friday’s game between Omaha Westside and Grand Island looked like it was going to be a grinder early, as it took more than 16 minutes for someone to find the end zone.
However, the Warriors struck first midway through the second quarter and then pulled away in the second half for a 41-9 win. The Warriors improved to 5-0 while the Islanders fell to 2-3.
Here are five thoughts on the game.
Westside’s offense was sputtering early on as the Warriors’ first three drives failed to produce any points. Starting quarterback Kolby Brown completed just two of his six passes, and Westside struggled to get the ground game going as well.
Then Westside made a change, inserting sophomore Anthony Rezac at quarterback on its fourth drive. A holding call backed the Warriors up, then Rezac’s first pass fell incomplete, setting Westside up with a third-and-16.
Then the game changed. Rezac scrambled for 37 yards, setting Westside up with first-and-goal from the 5. Two runs later, the older Rezac, Dominic, punched the ball in to give Westside the lead.
Westside stuck with Anthony Rezac at quarterback on the next drive, and he led the Warriors down the field for another touchdown. Grand Island answered to make it a one-score game again late in the first half, but a 47-yard run from Rezac allowed the Warriors to convert a 43-yard field goal just before halftime to make it 17-7 at the break.
Rezac finished 9-of-12 passing for 124 yards and two touchdowns and ran the ball seven times for 78 yards. Westside scored on seven of the eight drives that featured Rezac at quarterback with five touchdowns and two field goals.
Anthony Rezac may have been the surprise star of the game, but Dominic Rezac did what he’s been doing all season long and was responsible for four of Westside’s five touchdowns. The Air Force commit ran 16 times for 141 yards and three touchdowns and he also caught a 5-yard touchdown pass.
Grand Island had him mostly bottled up in the first half , holding him below 4.0 yards per carry. Then he took his first handoff of the second half 70 yards for a touchdown, and with his brother in a rhythm passing the ball they didn’t need him to do much the rest of the game.
The elder Rezac also made plays on defense from his safety spot, picking off a pass himself and breaking up another pass that ended in an interception for a teammate.
Last week, Dominic Rezac set a new school record with 308 yards on 26 carries, four of which went for touchdowns. He’s having a monster senior year for the reigning Class A champions.
The Grand Island offense didn’t have a great night on Friday, though facing a tough Westside defense certainly had a lot to do with that. Still, senior quarterback Kytan Fyfe, the younger brother of former Husker Ryker Fyfe, carries a heavy load for the Islanders.
Fyfe is the team’s leading passer and rusher as well as its punter, and he even splits out wide from time to time on trick plays to act as a receiver. With second-leading rusher Jace Chrisman on the sideline in street clothes, Fyfe had to take on even more responsibility. Fyfe went 15-for-28 passing with a score, through he also threw three interceptions. He ran the ball hard, though there wasn’t much room a he totaled just 29 yards on 19 carries. As a punter, Fyfe backed the Warriors up inside their own 20 three times, including one punt that bounced out of bounds at the 4-yard line.
Fyfe is adept at running the option, he’s comfortable rolling out and making throws on the run (including a 60-yard touchdown on Friday), he’s elusive in the pocket and he can throw it well enough to keep defenses honest.
I’ve already highlighted one sophomore above in Anthony Rezac, but he wasn’t the only young Warrior making plays on Friday night. His twin brother, Teddy, starts at cornerback and had an interception as well.
Caleb Benning, the son of former Husker (and current Westside assistant coach) Damon Benning, had a big game against the Islanders as well. Benning missed the first two weeks because of a back injury but made his debut at cornerback in Westside’s week three win over Papillion-La Vista. Last week against Papillion-La Vista South, Benning moved to safety and racked up 19 tackles.
On Friday, Benning was the one who caught the interception that bounced off Dominic Rezac’s back. He’s Westside’s starting punt returner, and they also worked him in some on offense at receiver. He caught one pass for 8 yards and also threw one for an 80-yard gain on a double pass.
Westside should also get three other sophomores in the mix soon as Jahmez Ross, Trevor Spady and Jonquel Osler all return from injuries.
Despite losing arguably the best quarterback (Cole Payton) and the best lineman (Cade Haberman) in the state from its title-winning squad, Westside is off to a 5-0 start, and its done it against the toughest portion of its schedule while playing at much less than full strength.
The Warriors have had several starters on the shelf because of injury and are finally starting to get close to full health. As that happens, Westside will have the chance to really get on a roll heading into the postseason as their last four games are against teams with a combined record of 6-14 with none of those six wins coming against teams with winning records.
Westside is one of three unbeaten teams in Class A, and the Warriors have by far the easiest schedule remaining of the three.
Jacob is in his third year with Hail Varsity covering Husker athletics. He has also written extensively for SB Nation’s Bright Side of the Sun and The Creightonian. His love of basketball can best be described as an obsession and if you need to find him, he’s probably in a gym somewhere watching, coaching or playing hoops.