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Pospisil: Bryan-Benson fallout distracts from accomplishments, costs other teams
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COMMENTARY

Pospisil: Bryan-Benson fallout distracts from accomplishments, costs other teams

Take a look at the All-Nebraska football teams since 2015.

Omaha Bryan last week earned its first win since 2018.

Cause for celebration, right?

Not right now.

Omaha Benson has won three games, its most in a season since 2009.

Cause for celebration, right?

Not right now.

What transpired last Friday night in the wake of Bryan’s 24-21 win over Benson — a postgame fight during a live telecast — led to mandated forfeits this week.

Rightly so, Omaha Public Schools officials punished them by not letting the teams play this week. Unfortunately, their scheduled opponents, Omaha Westside and Millard North, also get penalized by having the games called off.

It’s not that either game was expected to be competitive. Millard North already beat Bryan 68-0. But it and Westside lost a chance to have younger kids get extensive playing time.

Bryan coach Ryan Hanson and Benson’s Terrence Mackey must reset and elevate expectations for conduct by their players and assistants. I think they will.

OPS, meanwhile, poorly handled this issue with the media. Its communications department considered it sufficient to send electronic messages to 8,000 contacts affiliated with the schools at 3:15 p.m. Tuesday and not send a release thereafter to the public. It took my request for information — and a story that was posted Wednesday morning — to get acknowledgement by OPS.

While I'm ruminating ...

Schools that have forfeited games this season because of low numbers need to consider strongly dropping a level — from 11-man to eight-man or eight-man to six-man — for the next two-year cycle.

Kimball never played this year. Omaha Brownell Talbot has forfeited twice, including Friday’s home game with Conestoga. Both schools are eight-man.

Also with forfeited games are David City and Twin River in 11-man, Elkhorn Valley, Hemingford and Nebraska Lutheran in eight-man and Elba, Lewiston and Minatare in six man. Of all those teams, only Brownell Talbot and Lewiston (it had the minimum six players available last week) have more than one win.

Sutton and Bridgeport already have decided to leave 11-man for eight-man. Sutton notably had a decade of winning seasons and played in the 2019 Class C-2 championship game. If the numbers and the interest aren’t there, responsible decisions need to be made by school boards. And they have only until Nov. 30 to do so for the next two seasons, Nov. 1 if they want to enter into a cooperative sponsorship.

Friday’s best

No. 2 Bellevue West (6-1) at Columbus (6-1), 7 p.m.: Columbus has won the games it was supposed to and picked up an extra W by beating Kearney. It wishes it had a do-over for the season-opening loss to Omaha Central. NU linebacker pledge Ernest Hausmann will be seeing a lot of the Thunderbirds’ plethora of Division I skill talent.

No. 10 Lincoln Southeast (5-2) at No. 6 Gretna (6-1), 7 p.m.: Southeast has struggled to score against good teams, and gave up 47 to Lincoln East and passer Noah Walters. Here comes Gretna and its prolific passer, Zane Flores.

Class C-1 No. 5 Columbus Scotus (7-0) at No. 3 Boone Central (7-0), 7 p.m. in Albion: The week’s only clash of undefeated teams. Boone quarterback Alex Christo is back from injury while Braden Benes has been good as his fill-in. Scotus tight end Garrett Oakley is a Kansas State pledge.


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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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