When: 7:15 p.m. Monday
Where: Memorial Stadium, Lincoln. Omaha North seating in West Stadium, Millard North seating in East Stadium
Live streaming video: Online at NEPrepZone.com
Radio: KCRO (660 AM, Omaha); KXPN (1460 AM, Kearney), KICS (1550 AM, Hastings)
When No. 6 Omaha North (10-2) has the ball: Coach Larry Martin’s Vikings, who average 40.5 points a game, balanced out their offense with the emergence of sophomore Calvin Strong at running back. He’s rushed for 1,734 yards and 21 touchdowns to open up the passing game for senior Zach Martin, who has tossed 22 touchdown passes. More than half of his 1,708 yards have gone to Conner Phillips, who has 40 catches for 891 yards and 10 touchdowns. Millard North’s secondary has bent often, but also can sting with a well-timed interception. Martin has thrown only four interceptions, but two were late in the game to the Mustangs. The Vikings must get linebacker Nick DeLuca blocked, for he has a team-high 92 tackles.
When No. 1 Millard North (12-0) has the ball: Coach Fred Petito’s Mustangs, who average 36.3 points a game, run for more than 85 percent of their yards. Isaac Aakre, who became Class A’s career rushing leader during the playoffs, is averaging 198 yards a game and has scored 27 touchdowns. Conner Matthew has added 1,202 yards and nine touchdowns. Watch for the downfield pitch to the trailing back, which can be Clay Fisher, Steven Price or Matt Evans. Aakre is 28 of 48 passing. North’s defense tends to be a second-half unit — it held the Mustangs to one touchdown after halftime when they met this season and shut out Omaha Creighton Prep in the closing 24 minutes of the teams’ semifinal.
Stu’s pick: The Vikings would be the sentimental choice for many, with this being their first state championship appearance. They played Millard North close the first time, losing 37-31. Aakre can make Mustang history, though, if he becomes their first quarterback in a long line of standouts to win a second state title. Look for his savvy and past experience in this game to carry Millard North to victory.