About Nick Rubek

Nick Rubek is a staff writer for The Omaha World-Herald and covers Nebraska football and Nebraska high school sports. You can follow Nick on Twitter (@nickrubek) or email him at nickrubek@owh.com

Posts by Nick Rubek

Where did Bo Pelini find a cat for the spring game?

A year ago it was an 8-year old cancer survivor that stole the heart and show at Nebraska’s spring game.

Saturday it was a famous feline.

NU coach Bo Pelini ended any possible tension for the preseason scrimmage when he came out of the Husker locker room holding a cat similar to the one that he’s become become notoriously linked with on Twitter.

Pelini held the cat, which is named Anya and belongs to athletic department employee Ethan Rowley, and petted it as he entered the field.

The pinnacle moment came when Pelini held Anya above his head — a la Disney’s “Lion King” — just before players ran onto the field. (Here’s about a dozen different photos of the entrance.)

Pelini handed the cat …

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Nebraska prep soccer players to watch

GIRLS

Maddie Elliston, Omaha Marian: One of the top prospects in the country, the senior is listed as a five-star recruit by Top Drawer Soccer. A Penn State commit, she’s been a member of the U.S. Soccer Under-18 Women’s National Team. Elliston, last year’s Gatorade player of the year, was the anchor for a Crusader defense that registered 22 consecutive shutouts over the course of two seasons.

Michelle Xiao, Omaha Westside: The Stanford recruit played with the U.S. Soccer Under-17 Women’s National team over the offseason, notching an assist in wins over China and New Zealand. Xiao scored had a part of 20 of Westside’s 24 goals last year, scoring 15 herself and assisting on five more. A four-star recruit, she’ll again lead a Warrior …

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‘Hard Knocks’ hardly mentions Burkhead

Not even a strong showing in his first-ever NFL game got Rex Burkhead more HBO face time this week.

The former Husker running back, in his rookie season with Cincinnati, ran for 52 yards — the most of any of the running backs — on nine carries in the Bengals’ 34-10 win over Atlanta on Thursday night.

But Burkhead was only caught in the background of a couple of shots in the second week of HBO’s “Hard Knocks” series on Tuesday night.

The closest he got to being featured during Tuesday’s episode came when his name was brought up in a meeting.

During an ESPN production meeting before Thursday’s game, Cincinnati offensive coordinator Jay Gruden was asked about players he wanted to get a look …

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Highlights from Tuesday’s state soccer games

TOP PERFORMER
Brenna Ochoa, Millard West: The freshman’s game-winner came in the first half of third-ranked Millard West’s 1-0 win over No. 2 Millard North and gave the Wildcats their third state title since 2007. Ochoa was one of eight freshmen on Millard West’s roster. Megan Merkel, another first-year player, had scored the tying goal in the Wildcats’ semifinal win over Marian to help avenge the only two losses of the season for Millard West.

BEST GAME
Omaha Skutt 3, Elkhorn South 2, SO: It had a little bit of everything. Elkhorn South got a goal in the 78th minute when a Skutt clearing attempt went off the face of Carsen Lundgren and in for a score. The SkyHawks got the equalizer with 34.5 seconds …

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Highlights from Monday’s state soccer games

TOP PERFORMER
Jose Marquez, Omaha South:
The senior scored the game-winner in the 75th minute and South won the first state soccer title in program history with a 1-0 victory over Omaha Creighton Prep. While Marquez got the goal, it was the Packers’ leading scorer, junior Michael Jaime, who helped do much of the heavy lifting in the back. Jaime was a defender for all 80 minutes Monday night, helping South hold the Junior Jays scoreless for the third time this season. The shutout was South keeper Sayeg Moreno’s 20th of the season, a state record.

BEST GAME
South Sioux City 2, Omaha Skutt 1:
What could possibly beat Marquez’s game-winner in the 75th minute? How about an equalizer with four minutes to play and …

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Highlights from Saturday’s state soccer games

TOP PERFORMER
Kelsey Doerr, Elkhorn South:
The senior midfielder scored with 22.2 seconds to play in the first overtime to lift the second-ranked Storm to a victory over No. 3 Gretna. Doerr and company will play in Tuesday’s state championship in just the school’s third year of existence. Honorable mention goes to Skutt’s Jake Sievers and Nolan Heimann. Sievers had a pair of assists and Heimann had two goals for the SkyHawks.

BEST GAME
Millard West 2, Omaha Marian 1, SO:
The third-ranked Wildcats got a second-half equalizer to force overtime. They survived a scare in the second extra session and two game-winning tries in the shootout before finishing off the upset of No. 1 Marian 9-8 in kicks. The marathon match finally ended when …

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Highlights from Friday’s state soccer games

TOP PERFORMER
Liz Bartels, Omaha Skutt:
The Marquette recruit scored a pair of goals and dished out a pair of assists to lead the Class B No. 1 SkyHawks. Bartels’ goals came 73 seconds apart and were part of a three-score outburst in stretch of 2 ½ minutes in the first half. She now has 22 goals and 12 assists on the season.

BEST GAME
Omaha Creighton Prep 3, Grand Island 2, 2OT: An easy pick for match of the day and match of the tournament thus far. The third-ranked Junior Jays’ victory had plenty afterward even saying it was the best they had ever seen on the high school level. The classic had four second-half goals, two post-halftime equalizers, a game-winner in overtime and too …

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Highlights from Thursday’s state soccer games

TOP PERFORMER
Lauren Tondl, Omaha Marian:
The junior midfielder scored both Crusaders goals on set pieces, the first an equalizer and the second the game-winner. They were Tondl’s second and third scores of the year and helped top-ranked Marian, Class A’s defending champion, advance to Saturday’s semifinals.

BEST GAME
Omaha Marian 2, Lincoln Southwest 1:
On a day when four of the six matches were decided by more than one goal, this was the best of the bunch. Marian received the wild card to get in the tournament after losing to Southwest in a district final. The Crusaders then fell behind before coming to life for a pair of goals on free kicks.

THEY SAID IT
“He didn’t.”
— Lincoln East coach Chuck Morgan, after …

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Highlights from Wednesday’s state soccer games

TOP PERFORMER
Lucas Venegas, Grand Island: The senior forward had a hand in each of the Islanders’ three goals Wednesday. Venegas tallied his 27th goal of the season and dished out a pair of assists. Honorable mention goes to Lincoln Pius X’s Nick Pohlen, who recorded a hat trick.

BEST GAME
KEARNEY 4, MILLARD WEST 3, SO: Bearcats keeper Quincy Bennett stopped all three Millard West attempts in a shootout and Kearney’s three kickers each scored. Bennett’s third stop set off a wild celebration in the goal by the Bearcats, who move into the semifinals for the fourth time since 2007.

THEY SAID IT
“The sequel, usually it’s never as good as the first movie, but I think Prep-Grand Island II is going to …

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Metro soccer site change

Due to wet conditions, Monday’s Metro Conference tournament finals have been moved from Millard North to Buell Stadium at Millard South.

The girls championship between Millard North at Omaha Marian will start at 5 p.m., with the Omaha South-Omaha Creighton Prep boys title game to follow (approximately 7 p.m.).…

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