One of the things I love about deer season is that it coincides with Nebraska's state football playoffs. There's a lot of great football happening over at Memorial Stadium, all televised by NETV, and I'm home to watch it.
Friday night was Class A (biggest schools in the state) football with Millard North versus Omaha Central. Millard North's starting quarterback and leading rusher Nick Failla was injured, so they were starting sophomore Conner Thomas who got smaller as the game went on. In the 2nd quarter, we were told he was 5' 9", then in the third he was 5' 8". I was wondering by the fourth quarter if he'd be tall enough to take the snaps.
Sean Fisher, a future Cornhusker, was everything for Millard North. He continually ran over and though defenders, finishing with 44 carries for 198 yards. He punted for Millard North, and played defensive back. You had to wonder if the kid could keep the pace throughout the game, but in the fourth quarter he was still running hard, punishing the Central defense.
Omaha Central got out to a 26-7 lead at the half, and the game looked like it would be a blowout. It appeared there was no way that Millard North could stay in the game. North got the ball to start the second half, stuck with their game plan, handing the ball off to Fisher and their other backs, but pounding the ball forward, and Central couldn't stop them from moving down the field.
Millard North pulled to 26-21, then Central got a great return to North's 46. Central took a sack, giving up a ton of yardage, then overthrew a pass badly and took another sack. The following punt, after a substitution penalty, gave North the ball near midfield. Chugging the ball forward, in the fourth quarter with 8 minutes left, Fisher picked up a 4th and 1 to keep momentum on Millard North's side.
On the next set of downs, Millard North had a holding call that put them in a long yardage situation. They attempted a couple passes, and on a fourth down play, Matt Turman, er, Conner Thomas overthrew Fisher on a swing pass. Central then kept the ball on the ground, picking up a first down and running the clock down to 1:28, then punted to Millard North near mid-field. On the next play, Millard North attempted a halfback pass, throwing an interception which allowed Central to run the clock out.
As announcers Adrian Fiala, Larry Putney, and Damon Benning stated, you got to watch a game between a body-blow offense and a quick-strike passing offense. Early on when Central went to 12-0, scoring two touchdowns within a minute, it looked like the quick-strike guys were the easy winners. With patience and grit, What looked like a complete blowout ended up a 26-21 game.
Great stuff, man. It doesn't have to be Division IA to be great football. Congrats to Omaha Central on the Class A title, their first championship since 1984.