Final week arrives to secure football playoff spots

Are we in? What side of the bracket will we be on?

Those questions signal playoff fever is upon the state entering the final week of the regular season.

The Class B football playoff picture is not clear cut. Only Aurora in District 6 and McCook in District 7 have clinched district titles.

Other projected qualifiers are the Nebraska City-Omaha Gross winner in District 1; Omaha Skutt from District 2; Elkhorn South, Gretna and Elkhorn from District 3; Beatrice and Norris from District 4; Columbus from District 5; and Scottsbluff from District 8.

Qualifying with wins would be Bennington (plays Omaha Skutt for district title), Norris (plays Beatrice for district title), Blair (plays Columbus for district title), Alliance (plays Scottsbluff for district title) and the York-Grand Island Northwest winner.

Others in contention are Hastings and Thursday night’s Ralston-Omaha Roncalli winner.

Class B, which will have as its No. 1 seed the Gretna-Elkhorn South winner, has its playoff field consist of eight district champions and eight wild cards. Same for Classes C-1 and C-2.

In Eight Man-1 and Eight Man-2, 10 district champions and 22 wild-card teams advance in each class.

Other playoff projections

Class C-1

District champions: Arlington, Fairbury, O’Neill.

District championship games: Syracuse-Falls City, Wahoo Neumann-Wahoo.

District champions with a win: Ord, Kearney Catholic, Chase County.

Class C-2

District champions: Doniphan-Trumbull, Valentine.

District championship games: Lincoln Lutheran-Yutan, Fremont Bergan-Oakland-Craig, Central City-St. Paul.

District champions with a win: Wilber-Clatonia, Centennial, Ord.

District 4: Hartington Cedar Catholic takes the automatic berth if the Trojans beat Norfolk Lutheran and Battle Creek and Crofton also win.

Eight Man-1

District champions: Nebraska City Lourdes, Creighton, Palmer, Medicine Valley, Perkins County.

District championship games: Pender-West Point Guardian Angels CC, Heartland-Kenesaw, Elm Creek-South Loup.

District champions with a win: Howells-Dodge, Chambers/Wheeler Central/Ewing.

Top teams ineligible for playoffs: Neligh-Oakdale, Wakefield, Nebraska Christian, Superior, Plainview.

Eight Man-2

 District champions: Bruning-Davenport/Shickley, Friend, Osceola, Wynot, Bloomfield, Twin Loup, Lawrence-Nelson, Loomis, Sandhills-Thedford, Mullen.

Ratings comments

Top 10/Class A: Grand Island gains in a flip-flop with Omaha Westside, which lost 43-14 to Bellevue West, and takes the Warriors’ spot at No. 10 in the Top 10.

Class B: Gretna returns to No. 3 after its 27-9 win over previous occupant Elkhorn, which slides to sixth. McCook and Scottsbluff also move past the Antlers.

Class C-1: David City Aquinas is back to No. 2 behind Wahoo Neumann, for the second time this season, after beating previous occupant Wahoo 27-13. The Warriors slip only to third, with Kearney Catholic moving into fourth. Arlington beat Boys Town 18-6 to vault over Norfolk Catholic into sixth while the Cowboys tumble from fourth to eighth. O’Neill is fifth after Madison forfeited to the Eagles last week; Madison will also forfeit its season finale to Pierce because of injuries.

Class C-2: Then-No. 7 Valentine, which is undefeated in state, trades places with then-No. 5 Crofton after No. 2 Battle Creek beat the Warriors 14-0.

Eight Man-1, Eight Man-2: No losses, no changes needed.

Six Man: Spalding Academy jolts the ratings with its 52-6 win over then-No. 2 St. Edward. The Shamrocks vault from fifth to second. Also losing in the top five were Arthur County, 36-12 to South Platte; and Walthill, 82-13 to No. 1 Riverside.

Top games this week

Class A — Thursday: Lincoln High vs. Millard West (at Buell Stadium). Friday: Bellevue West at Omaha Burke, Lincoln Southeast at Grand Island, Norfolk at Omaha Westside

Class B — Friday: Gretna vs. Elkhorn South (at Elkhorn Stadium), Alliance at Scottsbluff, Grand Island Northwest at York, Blair at Columbus

Class C-1 — Friday: Wahoo Neumann at Wahoo, Arlington at Omaha Concordia

Class C-2 — Friday: Oakland-Craig at Fremont Bergan, Crofton at Norfolk Lutheran, Lincoln Lutheran at Yutan, Central City at St. Paul

Eight Man-1 — Friday: Elm Creek at South Loup

Eight Man-2 — Thursday: BDS at Lawrence-Nelson, Osmond at O’Neill St. Mary’s

Six Man — Friday: Cody-Kilgore at Arthur County, Riverside at Spalding Academy

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