Westside Football Prepares for Second Round of State Tournament


Alex Estopare

Junior Cole Payton runs the ball in Westside's 22-17 week three loss at Lincoln Southeast.

It’s down to the final eight teams.

The Warriors head down to Seacrest Field in Lincoln tonight, November 8th, to play the Lincoln Southeast Knights. Both teams come into the second round of the state tournament coming off double-digit wins. The Warriors, in their first-round matchup against arch-rival Creighton Prep, put up 35 second-half points to pull away from the Jr. Jays and end their season. 

For the Knights, they went up against the 4-5 Omaha North Vikings. In the first round meeting, the Knight running game lead by Senior Nick Halleen and scrambling quarterbacks Shadon Shannon and Coleby Daffer were held to 246 yards rushing, their second-lowest all season. However, a lackluster offensive night allowed the Knights to advance to the second round with a 35-10 win.

Throughout the year, the Knights rushing game has been their biggest key for their success and was a threat in the regular-season matchup against the Warriors. To senior Nate Nowel, stopping the Knight rushing game features the ability for them to make some simple changes.

“It comes down to getting in the gaps we’re supposed to,” Nowel said. “Doing our jobs and doing our assignments is something we didn’t do in the two games we lost. If we can, just stay consistent and we’ll be in good shape.”

The Warriors’ offense this year has averaged 40 points a game so far this season and has shown star power all year. After stringing together 35 second-half points against the Jr. Jays last week, Nowel has felt confident in what they’ve been doing as of late.

“We’re not really going want to do much different [than last week],” Nowel said. “We’ve seen Southeast before and their defense isn’t anything special. We’re just going to keep doing what we’ve been doing all season.”

With the win or go home situation, some may see this game as high pressure. However, for head coach Brett Froendt, pressure can help a team succeed.

“Pressure makes diamonds,” Froendt said. “At this stage of the season, if you don’t like the pressure you shouldn’t be playing. We don’t see this as pressure. We see this as an opportunity.”

The Warriors will play tonight at Seacrest Field in Lincoln at 7 p.m., looking to keep their season alive.