Lincoln Southeast celebrated its homecoming in victorious fashion on Thursday night as the Knights ran up their biggest point total in at least 20 years in a 56-35 win against Millard North at Seacrest Field.
Here are five thoughts on the game.
Millard North turned the ball over four times on Thursday night, and Lincoln Southeast turned those takeaways into 21 points (one of the turnovers was an interception on a shot into the end zone on the final play of the first half).
One of those takeaways put six points directly on the board as Pierre Allen Jr., the sophomore son of the former Husker defensive end, recorded a 30-yard pick-six on a play where he tipped a pass to himself, caught it and ran it back for the score. I heard Allen’s name plenty throughout the game on Thursday night as he made a number of tackles and always seemed to be near the action at the end of the play.
Lincoln Southeast also recovered two Millard North fumbles — one near midfield and the other at the Millard North 24 — and followed them with scoring drives.
Millard North actually moved the ball well, racking up nearly 450 yards of offense and scoring five touchdowns. But the Mustangs couldn’t get enough stops to overcome the turnover disparity.
Next Man Up
Sophomore fullback Colin Bogacz plays a pivotal role in the Millard North triple option. He led the team in carries through the first four weeks and totaled 100 yards from scrimmage with a touchdown last week as the Mustangs gave top-ranked Omaha Westside a real battle at Buell Stadium.
However, the Mustangs had to play without the 6-foot, 205-pound Bogacz on Thursday because of an injury. Fellow sophomore CT Thielen started in his place at 5-foot-11 and 165 pounds and got off to a slow start as he logged just five carries for 16 yards in the first half. He served as more of a decoy as quarterback Evan Hansen chose to keep the ball himself or pitch it most of the half.
However, Thielen got the ball to start the second half and ran it right up the middle of the field for an 81-yard touchdown, setting the tone for a much more productive second half. He went on to finish with a game-high 194 yards on 19 carries, showing he has what it takes to fill the void until Bogacz gets cleared to return.
The Buettenback brothers combined to rush for nearly 200 yards on Thursday night to lead the way for the Knights.
Nebraska baseball commit Max Buettenback had a monster game as he accounted for five of Southeast’s eight touchdowns. Max ran the ball 19 times for 120 yards and four scores (including three in the first half), he caught two passes for 39 yards, he completed a halfback pass for 15 yards and he returned a kickoff 75 yards for a touchdown.
The 6-foot-1, 195-pound back has a very patient running style and does a good job of biding his time and then hitting the hole hard once he finds it.
Little brother Cash Buettenback had a productive day as well, carrying the ball nine times for 71 yards including a 33-yard touchdown.
Nebraska football commit Gunnar Gottula and the rest of the Southeast offensive line paved the way for 244 yards on 38 carries (6.4 yards per tote), and the Buettenbacks were the primary beneficiaries.
A quick scan of the Millard North roster revealed a ton of 10s as 30 of the team’s 61 varsity players are sophomores.
I mentioned above what Bogacz is doing and what Thielen did in his place on Thursday, but a number of other sophomores started and made an impact for the Mustangs on Thursday.
Caden VerMaas, a talented two-way starter, had a big day on offense Thursday. He turned 11 carries in the triple option into 187 yards and a touchdown. VerMaas had gains of 60, 30, 26 and 20.
Pierce Mooberry is another name to know in the 2025 class. He’s a good linebacker and will occasionally take a handoff or a pitch on offense, but the part of his game that caught my attention both this week against Southeast and last week against Omaha Westside is his ability to go up and make difficult catches.
The 6-foot-4, 200-pound Mooberry was the only Mustang to catch a pass downfield, snagging two passes for 31 yards including a 14-yard touchdown that saw him lay out with a defender draped all over him to make the catch. Mooberry had three catches for 80 yards last week against the Warriors including a couple of really impressive plays where he high-pointed the ball over a defender and came down with it.
Millard North had a number of other sophomores on the field throughout the game on Thursday as well. This looks to be a special group that could grow into something special over the next couple of years.
Coming Up Clutch
Southeast quarterback Owen Baxter was a big play waiting to happen on Thursday night. He completed five of his six passes for 118 yards and a touchdown and ran the ball four times for 44 yards in the win. He was also the one who caught the halfback pass from Max Buettenback for a 15-yard gain.
Baxter had completions of 43 yards for a touchdown, 42 yards and 40 yards, and he had gains on the ground of 18 and 15 as well.
The 40-yard completion to wideout Sam Gandara happened on a third-and-11, the 18-yard run happened on a third-and-13 and the 43-yard touchdown pass to tight end Carsten Bluhm happened on a third-and-5 as Baxter showed up in the clutch time and time again to keep drives alive.
After an 0-2 start to the season, the Knights have now won three in a row and will have another big game next week against city rival Lincoln Southwest.
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.