Don’t let the 5-5 mark fool you. This was a bad week. I’ve now predicted four straight marquee games incorrectly with the last hit being Norfolk Catholic’s win over Oakland-Craig a month ago. Is this the price for wanting to get Norfolk Catholic games right?

Anyway, the playoffs have arrived in eight-man football and 22 area teams will take a swing at a state championship. Among this year’s teams, four of them enter the playoffs undefeated and four have just one loss. Will we see any of those teams in Lincoln? Could someone else go on a Cinderella run of sorts?

Meanwhile, the 11-man classes will have one more week of regular-season games. There’s a solid chance the area gets at least six teams selected, but it could be as many as eight depending on what transpires Friday night. There’s still a lot at stake.

Beyond high school football, it was a tough Saturday for the Cornhusker State.

I understand giving Nebraska flack for lining up in the shotgun on fourth and goal at the 1, but if Jaquez Yant doesn’t trip over his feet before even getting to the line of scrimmage, he scores easily. Of course that wasn’t the only reason the Huskers lost, but it was definitely a momentum shifter.

Meanwhile, Wayne State’s four-game winning streak got snapped after a 32-24 loss to Augustana. As a result, the Wildcats drop out of the DII Top 25 after just one week. Smell the roses while you can, folks.

Apparently, we’ve had at least one game go into overtime every week of the NFL regular season. It almost feels like a strange coincidence that this happens the same year the regular season gets expanded to 17 games. You think Roger Goodell is making deals with the man upstairs? Or God forbid, the one downstairs?

Record last week: 5-5, 53-18 (.746) this season.

How city teams fared: Norfolk High’s playoff hopes took a big hit in a loss to Grand Island (31-21 predicted, 35-10 final); Norfolk Catholic muscled its way past Crofton (28-13 predicted, 41-13 final); Lutheran High Northeast finished its regular season undefeated with a win over Laurel-Concord-Coleridge (42-20 LCC win predicted, 46-14 Lutheran High win final)

Other results (predictions in parentheses): Columbus Scotus 21, Boone Central 12 (20-14 Boone Central win predicted); Howells-Dodge 30, Clarkson/Leigh 0 (42-24 predicted); Battle Creek 24, Pierce 6 (15-13 Pierce win predicted); Allen 50, Emerson-Hubbard 14 (52-42 predicted); Augustana 32, Wayne State 24 (31-24 Wayne State win predicted); Minnesota 30, Nebraska 23 (34-23 Nebraska win predicted); Packers 24, Bears 14 (28-23 predicted).

Highlight: Norfolk Catholic at Crofton

Well, I got Crofton’s points right. Although, I may be underestimating the Knights’ offense (28-13 predicted, 41-13 final)

Lowlight: Lutheran High Northeast at Laurel-Concord-Coleridge

Four straight marquee games, four straight misses. I feel like I’m slowly becoming the Bob Nightengale of Northeast Nebraska. (42-24 LCC win predicted, 46-14 Lutheran High win final)

Norfolk High (3-5) at Millard North (2-6)

This Mustangs team is better than its record indicates. Millard North sports a point differential of plus-120 against district teams, and its nondistrict opponents were a combined 23-9. The key has been an offense that averages 34.25 points a game, which Norfolk will have to try to keep up with — much like it tried to do last week. There’s probably a bit of revenge on the minds of the Panthers, who were eliminated from last year’s playoffs by the Mustangs. Kaden Ternus appears to be making steady strides as quarterback. However, as a team, I don’t think Norfolk can keep up. Millard North 27, Norfolk 14

Humphrey/Lindsay Holy Family (5-3) at Lutheran High Northeast (8-0)

Here it is. This week’s marquee game. Please don’t take this as gospel.

The Eagles take their undefeated record into the playoffs as the bulldogs come to town to start the playoffs. Bill Mimick’s squad has been a potent one this season, scoring 49.75 points per game in part thanks to size at skill positions. The teams that have given Lutheran High the most trouble this season are the ones that have been able to run the ball effectively. Atkinson West Holt ran for 173 and lost by only four in week 2. The next week, Guardian Angels Central Catholic went for 213 and lost by only two. Doing so will involve winning the battle at the line of scrimmage, which I think Lutheran High is better prepared for on both sides. Lutheran High Northeast 36, Humphrey/Lindsay Holy Family 24

Class C No. 5 Hartington Cedar Catholic (7-1) at No. 2 Norfolk Catholic (7-1)

You can go down a long list as to how similar these teams are. They’re both physical, have strong defenses, love to use a strong run game to open up an efficient passing game and their only losses were to C1 schools early in the season. The Trojans have a larger margin of victory against common opponents (which includes district teams and Oakland-Craig, which both teams faced). However, as a whole, I think that the Knights have played a tougher schedule, which will have them ready for their biggest game of the year thus far. Norfolk Catholic 24, Hartington Cedar Catholic 21

No. 3 Wayne (5-3) at Pierce (6-2)

A sputtering Bluejays team hosts a Blue Devils squad that prides itself on efficiency. The offense can beat you through the air with Tanner Walling, on the perimeter with Alex Phelps or on the ground with Brandon Bartos. These weapons complement a defense that allows about 18 points a game. As for Pierce, it seems that the absence of Colton Fritz not only affects its defense, but also the offensive line. Remember, Fritz was a starting guard before he got hurt. Since he’s gotten hurt, Abram Scholting’s been in more and more muddy pockets, which I feel led to his subpar performances against Boone Central and Battle Creek. If Wayne can keep the pressure on and keep the offense humming, the Blue Devils will come out with a win. Wayne 31, Pierce 14

Elgin Public/Pope John (5-3) at O’Neill St. Mary’s (7-1)

These teams went at it in week 1, with the Cardinals prevailing 28-7. Now they face off as the Class D2 west region’s eighth and ninth seeds, respectively. St. Mary’s has tended to start slow against its opponents, which it cannot afford in the playoffs. Jack Wemhoff  has the kind of speed that can put the Wolfpack up big early, although I wonder how well they can handle the trenches. It’ll be a back-and-forth affair and I think the experience of St. Mary’s will keep it fighting for another day. O’Neill St. Mary’s 22, Elgin Public/Pope John 16

Creighton (4-4) at Pender (8-0)

In week 1, the Pendragons fended off the Bulldogs for a 48-34 win. They haven’t played a game that close ever since. Now they come back with an offense that’s even better and knows what Creighton can do. There’s something else that concerns me about the Bulldogs. The four teams they’ve beaten have one win among them. It’s not a good sign for their ability to hang around in this contest. Pender handles its first-round game. Pender 70, Creighton 28

Wayne State (5-2) at Southwest Minnesota State (2-5)

Following a gauntlet of games against some of the NSIC’s best, the Wildcats face a team that, at least on paper, serves as a bit more of a breather. What I’m beginning to notice is that this Wayne State team relies a lot on scoring. In each of the games the Wildcats have won, the black and gold have scored 30 or more points. In the ones they’ve lost, they’ve scored fewer. It’s something to watch as the season goes on. This week, I think they’ll be tested enough to take care of business. Wayne State 42, Southwest Minnesota State 17


No. 8 Oklahoma State (6-0) at Iowa State (4-2)

This feels like an elimination game of sorts, with the loser’s chances of making the Big 12 title game taking a serious, if not fatal, hit with a loss. The Cyclones are well coached, efficient on both sides of the ball and will have one of the loudest crowds in college football cheering them on. The Cowboys have gotten out of close games against Baylor and Texas over the past two weeks, which could either sharpen them ahead of this game or wear them out, depending on how you look at it. I’ll go with the former, as their undefeated season rolls on. Oklahoma State 21, Iowa State 18

Clemson (4-2) at No. 23 Pittsburgh (5-1)

The Tigers can begin to salvage what — by their standards — has been a disastrous season with a win that would keep them in contention for a spot in the ACC championship. Clemson’s problems this year have largely stemmed from one big thing: They can’t score. If not for a fumble and a missed field goal, there’s a good chance they’d be 2-4 heading into this one. Pitt — on the other hand — has the highest-scoring offense in the ACC thanks in large part to quarterback Kenny Pickett. Clemson’s defense is still an elite unit, but this is one of those games where it can’t carry the load by itself. Pittsburgh 23, Clemson 17

Bengals (4-2) at Ravens (5-1)

Who knew this would be a game to watch heading into the season? Baltimore, despite losing basically its entire running back room, is looking as good as it has in a long time. Cincinnati is really starting to click, especially with the resurgence of Joe Burrow and the emergence of Ja'Marr Chase. As a whole, I think the Ravens have a few more key pieces and more experience to take this one. Still, this can be a big stepping stone for the Bengals. Ravens 30, Bengals 24

In other news

WAYNE — The Wayne State women's basketball team had a matinee performance here Wednesday at Rice Auditorium before taking a brief break for Thanksgiving.

Farmers and ranchers are invited to attend a free clinic. The clinics are one-on-one, not group sessions, and are confidential. The farm finance clinic gives attendees a chance to meet with an experienced ag law attorney and ag financial counselor. These clinic staff specialize in legal and …

In the fall, a common question is: “When is my alfalfa safe to graze?” There can be several different scenarios from where this question arises. From operations tight on forage and looking at fall alfalfa growth as a way to stretch grazing to cornfields being used for residue or winter stock…

WAYNE — A Wayne State comeback fell short here at Rice Auditorium on Saturday afternoon as Doane held off the Wildcat men 76-72 in nonconference basketball action.

Why did the alien go to Saturn? To go ring shopping. Why did the multimillionaires go to space? Because they could. Today, countless millionaires and billionaires are lining up to get themselves or, more accurately, their money, into space.