The Nebraska State Football Playoffs begin in earnest Friday night. All 11 future Huskers who have committed to Nebraska in the 2024 and 2025 classes as scholarship recruits made the Nebraska High School playoffs.
Ainsworth athlete Carter Nelson is in rarified air statistically. Nelson’s triple-500 has likely never been done in 8-man or 11-man. He has 604 yards passing, 1,060 rushing yards and 626 receiving yards plus 41 total offensive touchdowns. The only two that have done it in 6-man are Noah Valasek (Riverside) and Luke Kasten (Potter-Dix). Ainsworth hosts Howells-Dodge at 5 p.m. in the round of 16 Friday night.
Bellevue West travels to Papillion-La Vista for a 7 p.m. kickoff at Foundation Field Friday. Four Husker commits will be on the field in the game. For Bellevue West, that includes quarterback Daniel Kaelin and wide receivers Dae’vonn Hall and Isaiah McMorris, who should be on the field together after injuries limited the two wideouts to five and six games, respectively. Kaelin threw for 1,790 yards and 15 touchdowns with just three interceptions, and he chipped in a pair of rushing touchdowns. McMorris scored seven times in his six games, catching 32 passes for 419 yards. Hall added 20 receptions for 177 yards and two scores.
Papillion-La Vista tight end Eric Ingwerson committed to Nebraska in September. Ingwerson caught nine passes during the regular season for the run-heavy Monarchs, three of which were touchdowns. The 6-foot-7 senior has been a force on defense too with 46 tackles (8.5 for loss) and five sacks.
Westside senior Caleb Benning is one week removed from announcing his commitment to the Huskers. The top-seeded Warriors will host rival Omaha Creighton Prep for a 7 p.m. kick.
Defensive Lineman Ashton Murphy and Elkhorn South get the Class A playoff bracket started on Friday. The third-seeded Storm will kick at 4 p.m. versus the No. 14 seed Papillion-La Vista South. Murphy is tied for the team lead with 41 tackles and is leading the way with four sacks while also blocking for a Storm team that is averaging 7.1 yards per carry in the run game.
At 7 p.m., the seventh-seeded Gretna Dragons host No. 10 seed Omaha North featuring 2024 safety Donovan Jones and 2025 Omaha North defensive lineman Tyson Terry. Jones has 49 tackles (four for loss) and four interceptions on defense plus five catches for 78 yards on offense. Terry leads the team with 59 tackles (12.5 for loss), 3.5 sacks and a blocked field goal.
No. 12 seed Millard North will be the away team when they play five-seed Millard West at 8 p.m. at Millard South’s Buell Stadium. Junior athlete Caden VerMass will play both ways for the Mustangs. He has 765 yards and 16 touchdowns on the ground, 79 yards and a touchdown on nine receptions and 142 yards passing with another touchdown after filling in at quarterback for a stretch. He also has 19 tackles (3.5 for loss) and a pick on defense.
The first future Husker to play on Friday will be 2025 running back commit Conor Booth. The No. 11 seed Wahoo Neumann Cavaliers will kick at 2 p.m. MT when they travel to six seed Mitchell. Booth is leading 11-man in rushing with 1,965 yards and 31 touchdowns and also has seven receptions for 185 yards and four more scores.