Preisman Precap: Bellevue West


Brendan Preisman, CP Sports Network

The Creighton Prep Junior Jays are flying high right now.  They’re coming off of a dominant 30-3 win against Papillion La-Vista that included 2 interceptions, a blocked punt for a touchdown, and Marty Brown running all over Monarch defenders.  Unfortunately, this week they run into one of the only teams in the metro that’s flying even higher: the Thunderbirds of Bellevue West.  

Unlike Prep, Bellevue West hasn’t lost this year.  Also unlike Prep, they haven’t been close to losing or even trailed yet this year.  They opened up the season with a 37 point first half en route to a 58-14 win over Omaha Burke, and then last week, they handed Bellevue East their third straight loss in the rivalry matchup by 55 or more points.  The Thunderbirds are the #1 team in the state by far and on a tear, still looking to avenge last year’s shocking loss in the playoffs to Kearney.  

The spark for the win over Bellevue East for the Thunderbirds was, of course, their dynamo running back, senior LJ Richardson.  Richardson rushed for 227 yards on an eye-popping 9 carries and scored 4 touchdowns.  Having a guy like that in the backfield makes life extremely easy for senior quarterback Luke Johannsen, who had to throw the ball just 9 times against the Chieftains.  Those passes went for 7 completions, 61 yards, and 2 touchdowns.  

Of coursethat doesn’t even mention Bellevue West’s star Division 1 tight ends, and yes, that is plural.  Micah Riley-Ducker, the 4 star, is a verbal commit to Auburn, while his 3 star counterpart Kaden Helms has verbally committed to Oklahoma.  Both players are in the top 20 in the national class of 2022 for tight ends, and both can break a game wide open.  Both were beneficiaries of throws from Johannsen into the end zone against Bellevue East.  

Oh, and the defense hasn’t allowed over 100 rushing yards in a game yet.  

That will make for a very good battle: the Thunderbirds’ defense going up against junior running back Marty Brown.  After taking the majority of the carries in Prep’s opener, he proved his lead back status against Papillion La Vista by rushing for 141 yards and a score.  Brown has proven to be a runner who can get over, around, and through defenders through 2 games, but this will be by far his toughest test. 

It will also be the toughest test for senior quarterback Jack Piernicky, who looked a little bit pressured against Westside before finally getting his feet under him against Papillion La Vista.  Piernicky went 7/13 for 133 yards and a score, but Bellevue West’s defense appears to be in a different stratosphere than any other defense except for Prep.  

So this game will likely be a battle of the defenses.  And that plays right into the hands of…Creighton Prep, who has  broken most of their big plays so far this season on defense.  The key to this game will be Prep defensive back John Pargo, whose stats so far this year include 2 interceptions and a blocked punt that was returned for a touchdown.  He’s been a dynamic player all year, and that figures to continue against Bellevue West.

Prep’s defense also hasn’t allowed over 100 rushing yards in a game yet this year.  If they force Bellevue West to throw the ball a lot, Pargo and his counterparts at defensive back should be able to rack up multiple interceptions.  IF they do that, and if Jack Piernicky only throws one interception or less, then the Creighton Prep Junior Jays will beat Bellevue West on Friday night.  

My final prediction is 27-24 Creighton Prep.