Preisman Pre-Cap: Lincoln Southeast


Brendan Preisman, CP Sports Network

Creighton Prep continues to fight through a tough schedule again this week, with the #4-ranked Lincoln Southeast Knights coming to town.  Both teams are built very similarly, relying on powerful rushing attacks and stingy defenses.  While Prep, however, has already dealt with 2 top 3 teams through three games, they will be Lincoln Southeast’s toughest test this year by far.  

The Knights have had a fairly solid year, though at times they have struggled.  Southeast opened the year by going down 19-7 against Omaha North, but then roared back for a 29-19 comeback win.  They were then able to outlast Lincoln Southeast 28-21, and handily deal with Grand Island, 17-7.  While they are still the 4th-ranked team in Class A and should not be taken lightly, there is clearly a gap between the top 3 teams and the rest of the field.  However, that doesn’t mean they have no talent.

The best and most important player on this team is their junior running back Max Buettenback.  Already this year he has 491 yards and 4 touchdowns and has had at least 140 yards in each game this year.  However, if by some miracle Buettenback can’t get the first down on the ground, this team can throw the ball pretty well, too.  Quarterback Willem Reddick has thrown for 248 yards, and 19 of his 25 completions and all of his touchdowns have gone to either Will Barrett (12 catches, 151 yards, 2 TD) or Jake Appleget (7 catches, 96 yards, 3 TD).  

On defense, the Knights are led by juniors up front and in the secondary.  Teitum Tuioti leads the team with 27 tackles and 4 sacks, Will Jesske has 20 tackles, and Manny Appleget has 15 tackles and an interception.  They’ve kept opposing offenses off the scoreboard in each of their second halves so far, and Prep can’t afford to look past their defense.  

Even with those impressive stats, Prep can afford to keep running their offense.  After a rough start to the season, Jack Piernicky has been on a tear, going 27/52 for 3 touchdowns without an interception through his last two games.  Marty Brown, meanwhile, has continued to be consistent, with almost 250 yards this year and 3 touchdowns.  Prep also has some great receivers in Thomas Leiden (193 yards, 2 TD) and Trey Olden (83 yards, 1 TD).  Since the Westside game, the offense has been consistently moving the ball downfield, but they face yet another tough defense in Lincoln Southeast.

The Junior Jays can counter that tough defense with one of their own, led by a front seven that lives in opposing backfields.  Michael Barrett leads the defense from his linebacker spot with 17.5 tackles, 3.5 of them for loss.  Ryan Kearney leads the team in sacks with three, and John Pargo has two interceptions and a punt block.  This team has given up (if excluding the first quarter against Bellevue West) just 26 points to opposing offenses.  If they’re able to avoid losing the field position battle and giving up big plays, then that trend of dominating opposing offenses should continue.

If you like the running game, then you are going to love this one.  Marty Brown and Max Buettenback will both push each other for the title of best running back in the state next year, and that competition starts in this game.  Jack Piernicky has shaken off the rust and both teams appear to have fairly consistent offensive attacks.  Much like with most Prep games, the turnover battle will decide things.  I expect John Pargo to wind up with his 3rd pick of the year and Prep to win both the turnover battle and the game.  

My final prediction is 28-24 Creighton Prep.