There may be some double-takes from reading this week’s ratings.
There’s Omaha North at No. 1. Last time the Vikings were there, it was 1962.
There are three more new No. 1s — Gretna in Class B, Boone Central/Newman Grove in Class C-1, Doniphan-Trumbull in Class C-2. All four teams at No. 1 in 11-man football lost last week — Millard West in the Top 10, Elkhorn in Class B, Norfolk Catholic (to Boone Central) in C-1 and David City Aquinas in C-2.
There are three teams in the Top 10 with losing records, including 0-3 Millard North, while two undefeated teams go unranked.
There’s also a scheduling quirk that has four of Class A’s five remaining undefeated teams playing on Thursday, not Friday.
North goes to No. 1 despite playing the softest schedule in Class A in the opening third of the regular season. The Vikings have outscored Omaha Benson, Omaha South and Omaha Bryan by a combined 159-7.
Are there reservations about putting an untested team in the No. 1 seat? Certainly, but part of this ranking rides on what the Vikings brought back from last year’s 10-3 team that was state runner-up and No. 2 in the final Top 10.
Namely junior Calvin Strong. On only 52 carries, the returning All-Nebraska running back is averaging 230 yards a game and 13 yards a carry, and he’s scoring a touchdown on every fourth touch.
The schedule has allowed North coach Larry Martin to bring along a team that is starting only three seniors on offense. He’s giving ample playing time to the entire roster.
Thursday’s game at Kinnick Stadium against Lincoln Southwest (1-2) will start the meat of the Vikings’ schedule. North finishes out with games at Papillion-La Vista South and Omaha Burke, a home game against Papillion-La Vista, a game at Bellevue West and a home game with Millard North.
The Vikings head the Top 10 for the first time since early in the 1962 season, when they finished 6-3. While their 1968 team went 8-0-2, North never got past No. 2.
New No. 2 Omaha Westside also received consideration for the top spot. The Warriors (3-0), without leading rusher Lane Yates (ankle), brushed aside Grand Island 45-13 a week after a 14-7 win over Omaha Creighton Prep.
That game starts a pecking order for the ratings. Westside beat new No. 3 Prep, which beat new No. 4 Omaha Burke 25-7. The Bulldogs beat now-No. 5 Millard West 23-21 to clear the way for North.
At the bottom of the Top 10, Millard South at 1-2, Millard North at 0-3 and Omaha Central at 1-2 get the nod ahead of undefeateds Norfolk and Lincoln Pius X and other teams with winning records.
The belief here is that all three teams still are better than Norfolk and Lincoln Pius X. What could sway that thinking would be a Millard North loss Friday night at Kearney, which has lost to Norfolk and Pius X.
The Panthers and Thunderbolts are part of the unusually heavy card of games on Thursday. Norfolk hosts Grand Island (2-1) and Pius X plays Lincoln North Star (1-2) at Seacrest Field. Also on Thursday are the Millard South-Millard West televised game at Buell Stadium and Westside’s game at Fremont (1-2).
No. 6 Bellevue West, the other unbeaten in Class A, has a Friday game at Papillion-La Vista South. The Titans (2-1) were ranked until losing 20-14 last week at Central.
» Class B: Gretna, which heads Class B for the first time since 2003, overcame an injury to Nebraska lineman recruit Mick Stoltenberg to pound preseason favorite Norris 36-3. The Titans were at No. 7 before the loss.
The Dragons take over No. 1 from Elkhorn, which lost 23-7 to Omaha Skutt. It was the first game this season for Skutt quarterback Creighton Koley, and his return from injury gave an emotional lift to the SkyHawks.
» Class C-1: Boone Central/Newman Grove was the only new No. 1 to take the ranking from the team it defeated last week. Its 28-22 win at Norfolk Catholic was the first since 2004 for the Cardinals against the three-time defending Class C-1 champion.
Norfolk Catholic (2-1) drops only to No. 2.
» Class C-2: Aquinas couldn’t score on two possessions inside the Fremont Bergan 25 in the final 2½ minutes in seeing its state-leading 27-game winning streak end Saturday night with a 20-14 loss.
Doniphan-Trumbull, which beat Blue Hill 34-12, is No. 1 for the first time in the consolidated school’s history.
» Score misreported: This week’s ratings correctly reflect Broken Bow’s 14-13 win on Sept. 6 over Ogallala, which had been listed as the winner and subsequently rose in the Class C-1 ratings last week to No. 8.
Broken Bow would have been in line for the ratings but dropped to 1-1 with a 3-0 loss to Gothenburg — a first-week loser to Ogallala (2-1).