Its that time of year again. PLAYOFF FOOTBALL.
This year in the area we have Five teams across many classes to make the area football playoffs. We go through each match up here for you:
#5 Gothenburg (8-1) vs #12 Ord (6-3)
This is a rematch of the final week of the regular season. In week 9 Gothenburg beat Ord 17-14 in overtime in a game that was played in Gothenburg. The Swedes have had a great season so far with their only loss coming to #1 Adams Central (who they wont see until the Semi Finals should they get that far). Gothenburg also comes into the game on a five game win streak, only allowing all their opponents a COMBINED 20 points over those 5 games (14 of which went to Ord). Gothenburg is playing great football at the right time.
Ord has losses against Adams Central and #4 Pierce along with the aforementioned Gothenburg. Ord's best win this season was a 54-15 win over Broken Bow on the 11th of October.
#4 North Bend Central (8-1) vs #13 North Platte St. Pats (6-3)
The Irish had a rough start to the season dropping their first three games to Sutton, Chase County and Grand Island Central Catholic. The Irish under longtime head coach Kevin Dodson bounced back and won the final six games in a row to finish the season. Their most impressive win? Give me the 34-21 win over C1 Mitchell, which showed the Irish they were a good football team. They are a team that plays gritty and puts up points in a hurry (They have a +112 point differential!) while playing stingy defense. They should give North Bend Central all they can ask for.
North Bend Central had an overall tougher schedule on the year then the Irish and they earned every bit of the 8-1 record that they accumulated. Their one loss came back in week 6 against Centennial 40-25 (who enters the playoffs at #10) and probably keeps them from a top 3 spot. Unlike the Irish, North Bend Central doesnt have many "blow out" wins on their resume which could help them in the playoffs.
#6 Sutherland (8-0) vs #11 North Central (5-3)
The Sailors go undefeated through the regular season, which is no easy feat at ANY level of football, and earn that #6 seed. Why not higher? They didnt get much help from the teams they beat all season (a combined record of 20-44). Make no mistake, this is a team that is HUNGRY and plays with very good chemistry. Back in week six they made Hemingford (#10 in the playoffs) look silly in a 60-18 win. This is a team primed to go deep in the playoffs. Dont be surprised if they wind up in the semis, though a second round game against Arcadia / Loup city will be tough.
North Central beat the teams it was supposed to beat going 4-0 against teams with under .500 records, but had trouble all season with teams with records above .500 going 1-3. All three of their losses were blowouts as well.
#13 Maxell (3-5) vs #4 Elwood (7-1)
The Wildcats had a roller coaster of a season featuring some BIG games (66-44 win over Morrill and 80-20 win over Leyton) and some hard losses (34-42 against Brady and 37-56 against Overton). According to head coach Ryan Jones, a young squad who are coming together very quickly. Never put anything past Jones at head coach, he is sneaky good at game plans and can come up with something against anyone. They face a tall task against Elwood but I wouldnt put anything past the wildcats as far as an upset.
Elwood meanwhile has been on Cruise control this season. Their only loss came against Axtell (who is #6 in the playoffs) and that was all the way back in week 3. Their schedule is filled with teams below .500 on the season so perhaps complacency has set in for Elwood. Look for the Wildcats to jump on them early.
#10 Brady (5-3) vs #7 Pleasanton (6-2)
The Eagles are riding a lot of momentum coming into the playoffs, especially after defeating rival Maxwell 42-34 in the final game of the season. Brady all season long has bounced back from adversity (only allowing a 2 game losing streak) and have played well against good competition. They are a play away from beating Axtell (27-28 loss in week 3) and made some great adjustments in the second half of the Sandhills/Thedford loss. The Eagles have a great coach in Andy Seamann, look for them to be ready to pounce on Pleasanton.
Pleasanton has had trouble with good teams all year. They went 2-2 against teams above .500 getting convincing wins over 7-1 Kenesaw 54-42 and Axtell 33-8. They dropped games against 5-3 Overton 32-44 and 7-1 Elwood 13-14. Which Pleasanton team will show up in the first round will have Brady scratching their head.