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FOOTBALL

Gretna lineman Mason Goldman anchoring defensive line on journey for second state title

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Stu Pospisil previews and predicts all the Nebraska state football championship games.

Mason Goldman has one gold medal in football.

He’d like a second.

And the mettle he’s shown as a two-way lineman this year for Gretna has garnered Goldman numerous Power Five scholarship offers. Among them, Nebraska, Arizona State, Kansas, Kansas State and Missouri.

"He’s gotten stronger. He’s gotten faster and better in understanding schemes and technique," Gretna coach Mike Kayl said of his 6-foot-6, 260-pound senior.

Gretna will play Omaha Westside at 7:15 p.m. Monday in Memorial Stadium in a rematch of the 2021 final that the Dragons won 7-3 with a last-minute goal-line stand. The school later had the title vacated by the NSAA for using an ineligible player, having to return the championship trophy, but the players kept their medals.

In Gretna’s 3-4 defensive front, Goldman leads the Dragons’ interior linemen with 45 total tackles, three sacks and a fumble recovery. His defensive role has increased from last year, when he came in for passing downs and short-yardage situations.

He said he’s improved on fighting through double teams when on defense and with his run blocking on offense.

Gretna’s back-to-back playoff runs have been with a similar pattern. A first-round scare, then winning with a defense that was better with each passing game.

This year, the Dragons held off Lincoln Southeast 27-24 for starters, held explosive Bellevue West to one second-half touchdown in a 35-23 win and held Omaha Creighton Prep scoreless until sitting many of their starters in a 36-14 semifinal win.

"It’s just the work we’re putting into practices," Goldman said. "It’s a team that’s gotten a lot of hard work from each player and just not being selfish at all. It’s working as a team."

Goldman said he intends to visit NU and Kansas State and probably take a couple more official visits. He’d like to make his college choice prior to the December signing day.

If he signed with Nebraska, Goldman would join Husker pledges Gunnar Gottula from Lincoln Southeast, Sam Sledge from Creighton Prep and Brock Knutson from Scottsbluff.

Gretna defensive end Korver Demma — he has 11 sacks among his 69 tackles — is committed to NU as a recruited walk-on and returning All-Nebraska quarterback Zane Flores is committed to Oklahoma State.

Monday will be their last game together.

"I’ve been playing with Zane since like fourth grade," Goldman said. "It’ll be kind of sad, but he’s turned into a really great player obviously and I’m happy for him."

It also will be the last game for Gretna as one high school. Gretna East opens next fall.

"Having this town behind us, just this one school, has been really supportive and really nice to represent just us as one team," Goldman said. "When we split up, it's going to change the culture a little bit, but I don't think it'll change that much."

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Reporter - High school sports

Stu is The World-Herald's lead writer for high school sports and for golf. Follow him on Twitter @stuOWH. Email stu.pospisil@owh.com

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