Westside Football To Make Third Straight Trip to State Championship Game

The Westside varsity football team is headed to Memorial Stadium to defend their state title. The Warriors defeated the Bellevue West Thunderbirds 41-26 in the NSAA Class A State Semifinals on Friday, Nov. 12. The game was a tale of two halves. After being down 20-3 midway in the second quarter, the Warriors outscored the Thunderbirds 31-6 in the second half to punch their third straight trip to the state championship game. Westside head coach Brett Froendt, who celebrated his 100th career win with the victory, expressed that the team made adjustments between quarters in order to find the right rhythm. 

“They are great players but we could give out a lot of game balls tonight,” Froendt said. “The offensive lines did a tremendous job going into the third quarter and the defense in the second quarter started figuring some things out.”

The Warriors have faced much criticism from around the metro for their strength of schedule in regards to their state championship hopes. Sophomore safety Caleb Benning says people have been questioning Westside’s 12-0 record. 

“People have been doubting us all season,” Benning said. “Talking about how we don’t play anybody, or production we lost since last season, but they don’t know what we build day in and day out in practice.”

The Class A State Championship Game will take place in Memorial Stadium in Lincoln,, where Caleb’s father, Damon Benning played college football. Benning is an assistant on the Westside coaching staff. The former Husker I-back played on two national championship teams and was named the Most Valuable Player in the 1996 Orange Bowl. Benning scored a total of 20 touchdowns throughout his four years in Lincoln. Caleb will now take the field alongside his teammates in the same stadium as his dad did 25 years ago.

“It’s going to be crazy,” Benning said, “I’m gonna take it all in, enjoy it with my brothers and go get this gold medal.”

Westside will take a 24 game-winning streak into their third straight trip to the state championship game. The Warriors became the first team to make three consecutive appearances in the title game, since Omaha North made the finals between 2012-14. Coach Froendt expressed the honor he feels to be able to make it back into the Class A State Championship Game. 

“It’s great to be in the same company as [Omaha] North and some other teams that have been there,” Froendt said. “Right now our program is in the top culture and it speaks loudly because these kids have a great brotherhood. Couldn’t be more proud of how they are maintaining the culture every single day. Love them and this coaching job.”  

The Warriors hope to extend their winning streak to 25 games and add their fourth state trophy to their collection. Westside will face off against the Gretna Dragons on Tuesday, Nov. 23 at 7:15 p.m. at Memorial Stadium.