Top 5 Non-Millard Teams With Best Chance to Win Class A State Title
Remarkably, since 1995, there have only been 3 times that a Millard public high school has failed to make the Class A state football finals. And during this 16-year-long stretch a Millard football program has captured the state title on 7 different occasions – a 43% success rate.
Why Millard Football Teams are So Good
The three major reasons why Millard North, South and West have so thoroughly dominated Class A football in Nebraska are:
- Outstanding youth football feeder programs.
- Great high school coaching.
- Tradition of excellence established by the first two.
The historic longevity of theTriad’s success makes it almost unfathomable to not see at least one of the teams battling in the finals for the championship trophy. Accordingly, If the start of this season gives us any indication – it looks highly probable that a Millard team will make the finals again in 2011.
Pictured: Grand Island’s Ryker Fyfe looks to use his arm and legs to help propel the Islanders to 2011 state title.
|Year, Champion, pts., Runner-up, pts||Year, Champion, pts, Runner-up, pts.|
|**2010 Millard North 28, Millard South 20|
**2009 Millard South 45, Millard West 17
**2008 Millard West 21, Millard South 8
* 2007 Omaha Central 26, Millard North 21
2006 Kearney 41, Omaha Westside 21
* 2005 Millard North 35, Lincoln Southwest 14
* 2004 Creighton Prep 21, Millard North 7
* 2003 Millard North 38, Creighton Prep 7
| * 2002 Lincoln Southeast 7, Millard North 6|
* 2001 Millard West 28, North Platte 14
2000 Lincoln Southeast 14, Creighton Prep 7 OT
* 1999 Creighton Prep 27, Millard West 17
* 1998 Lincoln Southeast 23, Millard West 7
1997 Lincoln Southeast 33, Papillion-LVS 14
* 1996 Papillion-La Vista 35, Millard South 6
* 1995 Millard South 28, Papillion-La Vista 24
| ** = 2 Millard schools in finals.|
* = 1 Millard school in finals.
|Red = No Millard school in finals.|
A Quick Look at the Mighty Millard Triad
All three teams opened the 2011 season with a win:
Defending Class A state champion Millard North Mustangs, fueled by explosive dual-threat QB Isaac Aakre, opened up the season in impressive fashion – spoiling the debut of new Creighton Prep head coach Chris Nizzi.
Fred Petito’s Mustangs put up 35 points and over 450 total yards of O against a Creighton Prep program traditionally known to field talented, hard-nosed, stingy defenses.
Kirk Peterson’s young but superbly talented Millard West squad demonstrated in a come from behind win over Omaha North that they are also capable of taking out all comers this season.
Millard South, a team under head coach Andy Means that has made three consecutive state final appearances, graduated a wealth of talented and experiened players last spring. Yet the Patriots still figure to be in the hunt for a Class A state title in 2011.
Breaking the Triad’s hold on the state title by at least preventing a fourth consecutive all-Millard finals will be a tough nut to crack for the rest of the 25 teams in Class A.
Top 5 Triad Killers
Here are my top 5 Class A teams that have the best shot at taking down the Mighty Millard Triad:
- Grand Island — Jeff Tomlin’s Islanders traditionally fields tough defenses but never seem to quite have all the pieces of the puzzle on offense. However, his 2011 squad possesses an abundance of polished and deadly offensive weaponry. The Islanders talented multi-sport star Ryker Fyfe may wind up being the best Nebraska QB prospect in the class of 2012. Fyfe also has plenty of help in big, fast, versatile receivers like Sam Foltz and Will Bamesberger. Question marks are: do the Islanders have a solid running game to compliment their passing attack and is their defense up to par this year?
- Lincoln Southeast — Talented on both sides of the ball – this could be the year that the Silverhawks recapture the feelings of past glory years. A young squad led by Nebraska TE recruit Sam Cotton is just beginning to align all their pieces for a championship run. Emerging stars like Najee Jackson (QB/DB) and RB Devin Washington could help provide the final touches.
- Lincoln Southwest — they made a good playoff run last season and they have the no. 1 recruit in the class of 2012 at QB. If Tavarius Bender can play relaxed and confident and let it all hang out the rest of the way – look out!
- Papillion La Vista — The Monarchs are loaded with speedy talented playmakers on offense. Sophomore QB Alec Ditoro, junior RB Tyler Wrice and senior QB Trey Moore are going to leave many D-coordinators scratching their heads trying to figure out how to stop this team. Question Mark: can the Monarch defense stop the top teams.
- Omaha Burke — In my opinion the No. 2 ranked Bulldogs entered the season as an overrated team. I’m sure Burke will be fundamentally sound, but it simply does not have the proven offensive talent necessary to enable them to consistently beat the top schools. All the teams I’ve mentioned above – including the three Millard schools – do possess such prowess. Unless, offensive playmakers emerge it is unlikely that Paul Limongi’s Bulldogs can earn a shot at a title by merely out gutting all those more athletically talented teams.
Omaha North — The Vikings are my top sleeper pick for 2011. The development of QB Zach Martin will be a major determining factor to their success. Martin throws a good ball and he can run. If the junior QB continues to improve his accuracy and game management and the Vikings running game gets on track; thereby, creating more breathing room for playmaker Terry Grigsby – they give themselves a good opportunity to capture a title. North may not always look pretty but they got enough horses in their coral to develop into a championship team. Friday’s crosstown rivalry game against No. 10 ranked Central will provide a big momentum bounce to the winner.
Kearney — It wasn’t too long ago that Brandon Cool’s Bearcats won the state title in 2006. Year after year Cool always seems to find a way to put together highly competitive football teams. And the Bearcats always field plenty of quality athletic talent on both sides of the ball. If they get on a roll – anything is possible.