Westside Football Looks to Make State Semifinals For Third Straight Year


Eliza Haney

Westside’s Grant Guyett will look for another stellar night after four touchdowns against Papillion-La Vista South – Photo by Eliza Haney

The Westside varsity football team continues their run in the Class A state playoffs this Friday Nov. 5 at 7 pm against the Omaha Burke Bulldogs at Phelps Field. 

Last week both teams crushed their opponents in the opening round of the playoffs. The Warriors trampled over the Papillion La-Vista South Titans 49-0 and the Bulldogs beat the Lincoln Southeast Knights 21-3. Both teams are hungry to keep their season going and the players have to stay on top of their game to keep advancing, said Westside assistant coach Wade Halvorsen. 

“Every team you play has earned the right to be there and there is a new sense of urgency with the single elimination format,” Halvorsen said. “Teams really have to be on the top of their game for four quarters to advance, one slip up here or there you may find yourself on the wrong side of things.” 

The reigning champs have come out strong this season with many great accomplishments by the Warriors.  Sophomore safety and wide receiver Caleb Benning believes that Burke has what it takes, but they are not going to achieve their goal in beating the Warriors on Friday. 

 “Burke is a good team and this is just the quarterfinals,” Benning said. “We are focused on them before we worry about our next game or anyone on the other side.”

Westside’s undefeated season has achieved many broken records, including Dominic Rezac’s single-game rushing school record of 308 yards. But one thing that has benefited the Warriors is their ability to break out to an early lead  and we see this in games against Benson, Papio-South and Norfolk. Coach Halverson expressed that this season in particular has been special for everyone on the Warrior football team. 

“This season has been special in many ways, we have seen a school record be broken and a school/state record tied, but the last few weeks we have really been peaking as a team,” Halvorsen said. “On offense we have been able to move the ball early and efficiently in games, defensively we have put up two shutouts in the last three games, and on special teams our punt return unit has really begun to be a true threat to opponents.”

Burke will be without one of quarterback Cooper Katskee’s favorite targets in Trae Starks. The wide receiver was ejected last week, after two unsportsmanlike penalties for taunting against Lincoln Southeast.. The Bulldogs have an 8-2 record, with the top rated player in linebacker Devon Jackson, who’s committed to Oregon. Benning says the team has to keep focus in practice and be prepared for this Friday night.

“We practiced with a ton of energy all week,” Benning said, “We understand how motivated they are. We’ve done a lot of film and formation recognition, and I think we will be ready for sure.”

Westside will take a 22-game winning streak into the quarterfinals against Omaha Burke tonight. The winner advances to the final four of the state playoffs.