The Millard West Wildcats take on the undefeated Bellevue West Thunderbirds in a Nebraska Class A matchup – Friday, October 9th at 7:00 pm CT.
How to Stop an Offensive Juggernaut?
This is the first time since 2006 that Millard West comes into a game unranked in Nebraska Class A. The Wildcats fell to 1-4 after Friday’s 26-25 loss to Lincoln East. It was a heartbreaking defeat for Millard West, as the Spartans scored the go-ahead touchdown with 44 seconds left in the game. Three of Wildcats’ losses are by a total of 6 points.
Depending on who you ask, the best team in Nebraska may be Bellevue West. Max Preps ranks them #1 in the state but Omaha World-Herald lists them at #2 in Class A, just behind Omaha Westside. The Thunderbirds are also the defending Nebraska Class A state champion and own a 16 game winning streak.
— Michael Huffman (@bwfootballcoach) September 26, 2020
The problem for the Thunderbirds is they have only played three games this season due to complications from COVID-19. In all three games, the Thunderbirds soundly defeated their opponents and have scored an average of 50 points per game. The last time Bellevue West played was a 49-14 victory over Kearney on September 25th.
Players to Watch
The Bellevue West offense is lead by several outstanding players including QB Luke Johannsen, WR Keagan Johnson and RB L.J. Richardson. However, that’s not even close to the total amount of firepower available to the Thunderbirds offense.
Johannsen is a first-year QB starter for the Thunderbirds after transferring from Bellevue East. In his last two games, Johannsen threw for 258 yards/3 TDs against Millard South and 352 yards/2 TD’s against Kearney. The 6’2″/180 junior is surrounded by some of the top high school offensive players in the state of Nebraska.
Our offensive performance of the week goes to Keagan Johnson, who had 8 catches for 161 yards & 2 TDs receiving plus 2 carries for 6 yards and 2 TDs rushing in Bellevue West's 49-14 win on Friday.
— Blair Sanderson (@BlairRIVALS) September 28, 2020
3-star WR Keagan Johnson is ranked by ESPN as the #3 overall Nebraska prospect and #37 wide receiver in the country. In his last game, Johnson caught eight passes for 181 yards/2 TD’s. He added two rushing touchdowns to help lead the Thunderbirds to a 49-14 victory. Johnson is committed to the University of Iowa.
Adding even more headaches for opposing defenses are TE Micah Riley and WR Kaden Helms. At 6’5″, both junior receivers provide another huge target for Johannsen. Riley has a bunch of offers including Nebraska, Auburn, Michigan, Minnesota and Penn State. Helms has offers from Nebraska, Minnesota and Iowa State.
So far this season, the Belleview West running attack has been unstoppable. Junior running back L.J. Richardson (6’1″/220 lbs) has gashed opponents for 521 yards and six touchdowns over the last two games.
The Millard West ground and pound game is led by running back Nathan Pederson. The 5’7″/170 lb. junior scampered for nearly 300 yards rushing in last weeks 26-25 loss to Lincoln East. In that game, Pederson also contributed with a 95-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. Pederson has 640 yards/6 TD’s on the season.
Another tough run by Nathan Pederson. His 20-yard TD trims the Millard West deficit to 27-21. 5:37 left. Can Elkhorn South ice it? pic.twitter.com/0PS03gNeHk
— Jon Nyatawa (@JonNyatawa) August 28, 2020
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