Sports

Time Out with Joe Flanagan

Boone Central Again Among C1 Elite

The Boone Central Cardinals, as I suggested should be the case following their final playoff loss to Aurora, finished #3 in the final 2022 Omaha World-Herald Class C1 Top 10 released Monday, along with the final rankings in several other state media sources.
Omaha World-Herald 2022
Class C1 Final Top 10 Ranking
1. Pierce (13-0) 645-241
2. Aurora (12-1) 582-215
3. Boone Central (9-3) 457-181
4. Ashland-Greenwood (9-2) 326-83
5. Adams Central (9-2) 361-213
6. McCook (10-1) 417-154
7. Lakeview (8-3) 323-171
8. Lincoln Christian (8-3) 393-275
9. Omaha Roncalli (7-3) 387-188
10. Wahoo (6-4) 276-124
It only made sense. Boone Central finished with just three losses this past season, all to #1 Pierce and #2 Aurora (twice). The Cardinals also counted regular season victories over defending C1 state champion and 2022 playoff qualifier Lakeview, state qualifier Broken Bow and playoff participant Douglas County West.
The biggest feather in Boone’s cap, however, was its 41-15 shellacking of Ashland-Greenwood in the state quarterfinal round. Ashland-Greenwood’s hard-nosed defense had allowed a total of 42 points prior to that contest. The Cards racked up 41. Impressive might be faint praise, it was a staggering performance.
There really can be no argument this season at the top of the rankings – unbeaten champion Pierce and runner-up Aurora were the top-rated teams all season and proved to be juggernauts on the field.
Pierce fielded one of the best C1 offenses in recent memory – a balanced, versatile jet engine attack that amassed 645 points in 13 total games (basically 50 per contest). Aurora was a powerful collection of athletes on both sides of the ball fueled by 2021 2,000-yard rushing star Carlos Collazo. If the Huskies did have a weakness, it was in the aerial game, which could occasionally burn unsuspecting defenses focusing on the rushing duo of Collazo and QB Drew Knust, but was not a consistent threat when Pierce forced Aurora’s hand with the quickness of it’s defensive front seven.
One stat I always look at is point differential. While blowouts of inferior foes must be considered, just the overall margin can give an idea of a team’s ability and dominance.
In that area, Boone Central finished – yep, you got it – third in C1 in 2022, outscoring opponents by 276 points in 12 games. Pierce outpaced foes by a whopping 404 points, Aurora by 367. Also among the top five in this regard were McCook (263) and Ashland-Greenwood (243).
Which leads to the one difference I have with the final OWH Top 10. In looking at schedules, scores, considering key injuries, and visiting with several colleagues/friends who saw the teams play, I would personally rank McCook at #4, Adams Central #5 and Ashland-Greenwood #6.
It’s all subjective, of course, and simply an opinion that doesn’t affect anything. I just feel both the Bison and Patriots played slightly more difficult schedules, and were better-balanced squads than A-G’s predominately defense-oriented team.
It’s all in the eye of the beholder when it comes to ratings, but Stu Pospisil and other state raters had a pretty easy task at the top of C1 in 2022. Pierce, Aurora, Boone Central 1-2-3. Really no arguments about that.
This is the second straight season that Boone Central has been considered the #3 team in Class C1, quite an accomplishment. And, with a stellar junior class that will provide a senior leadership nucleus next season, the Cardinals aren’t done just yet.
Congratulations to Coach Mark Hudson, his staff and the 2022 Cardinals – and good luck in 2023!