Published Tuesday, November 20, 2012 AT 9:30 AM / Updated at 9:30 AM
Defending the kicker
Mike Patterson Omaha World-Herald

If you weren’t watching Monday night, you missed a great Class A championship football game.

Millard North prevailed 17-14 against an inspired Omaha North team. It was a wild fourth quarter, and the Vikings had one last chance to tie in the final minute when Conner Phillips lined up to attempt a 32-yard field goal.

The attempt drifted wide left, though it’s important to note that the game played at Memorial Stadium meant the teams were using collegiate goalposts. Phillips was kicking toward uprights that were only 18 1/2 feet wide, as opposed to the standard high school width of 23 feet, 4 inches.

I bring this up just to point out how difficult that kick must have seemed to Phillips, who had made a great catch earlier to keep North’s hopes alive. Add the pressure of a state championship game in front of 7,000 fans at venerable Memorial Stadium and the task gets even tougher.

The failed kick reminded me of a season-opening game I covered at UNO in 2010 between Omaha Creighton Prep and Millard North. Mustangs place-kicker Andy Bayne just missed a 43-yarder in the final minute while booting toward the narrower collegiate goalposts and the Mustangs lost 7-6.

Monday night, Bayne booted a 32-yarder to help the Mustangs capture the title.

Congratulations to Millard North for capping a 13-0 season with its second championship in the past three years. And congratulations to North — seeded 10th in the 16-team playoffs — for a great effort in that final.

About Mike Patterson

Mike Patterson is a staff writer for The Omaha World-Herald and covers Nebraska high school sports. You can follow Mike on Twitter (@mpattersonOWH) or email him at