“We're so proud of this team and your accomplishments this year. You fought hard and played with true E/T, guts, and heart,” read a tweet from the official Omaha Burke football Twitter account following a gut wrenching 29-28 loss to Omaha North in the NSAA state playoffs semifinals. But the Bulldogs aren’t a team to keep in the back of your head headed insto 2018.
The Omaha Burke Bulldogs finished the 2017 season with a 9-3 record in a district containing quarterfinalists Bellevue West and Omaha Westside; games in which the Bulldogs went 1-1 in. Other significant wins came over fellow semifinalist Creighton Prep and a close call against 9-2 Millard West in the quarterfinals.
Key Player(s) Lost:
Darnel Davis, WR, DB: Davis led Burke in receptions with 44 on the season with a total of 563 yards and an average of 12.8 per catch. On the opposite end of the ball, Davis recorded 43 total tackles for Burke.
Key Players Returned:
Nick Henrich, LB: Henrich led the defensive attack in the 2017 season with 119 total tackles and 31.5 tackles for loss. Eleven sacks and 77 lost yards came at the hands of Henrich The senior-to-be linebacker has a long list of offers including, but not limited to, Nebraska, Florida, Ole Miss, Oregon, Penn State, and many more.
James Burks, RB: Burks bursted out of the backfield 266 times for the Bulldogs in their 2017 run. He racked up a total of 1,934 yards and 29 touchdowns in his junior season. That’s good for an average of 7.3 per carry. Burks is also is a three-time defending state champion wrestler, and is unsure what he will pursue at the next level.
Xavier Watts, WR: Watts, a sophomore during the 2017 season, recorded 37 receptions for 813 yards and nine touchdowns for Burke. Although having played just two years at the high school level, Watts has picked up offers from Iowa State, South Dakota State, and Purdue.
Tyler Chadwick, QB: Having played in all 12 games, Chadwick completed 124 of his 197 pass attempts (63%) for 2,250 yards in his junior season. He also rushed for 144 yards on the year.
Way Too Early Season Prediction:
Burke’s opponents for the 2018 season combined for a 47-34 record in 2017. They’re also paired with Class A newcomers Elkhorn and Gretna, who went undefeated last season, in their 2018 and 2019 district. I can see an undefeated season from the boys at 120th and Dodge Sts., but, if that isn’t the case, I don’t see more than two losses in their future.