Even with Lincoln Southwest's focus on Calvin Strong, the Omaha North junior running back still put up big numbers Thursday night.
Strong rushed for 241 yards and two second-quarter touchdowns on 24 carries as he led the top-ranked Vikings to a 42-10 win at Kinnick Stadium.
Southwest held Strong, who had 274 yards and five touchdowns last week against Omaha Bryan, to 37 yards on his first seven carries. But Strong then gained 117 yards on his next five carries — all five went for at least 10 yards — in helping the Vikings turn a 7-7 game into a 28-10 halftime lead.
“You just got to keep going,” Strong said. “Some things aren't going to work, but you got to keep working at it. The first half, some things weren't going so well, but we just kept pushing and pushing and opened up the offense.”
And with Southwest committed to stopping the run, the Vikings were able to hit some long pass plays.
“Good teams like (Southwest) are going to try to take our running game away from us — they had nine guys in the box. We made some adjustments that opened it up,” North coach Larry Martin said. “Our kids are doing a really good job of being coachable during the game and making adjustments for what teams are trying to take away from us.”
Junior quarterback Payton Nelson was 5 of 13, but four of those completions were good for more than 20 yards. Nelson hit Davion Reed on a slant that turned into a 43-yard touchdown pass to break the 7-7 tie, then he hit a wide-open DeValon Whitcomb over the middle for a 21-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.
Nelson also had two rushing touchdowns.
“They executed well,” Southwest coach Mark King said. “I thought we played some good coverages, but they had some good throws and good catches and sometimes you just have to tip your hat. They did a good job.
“With No. 5 (Strong) in the backfield, you have to commit guys to the run. He's just too good of a back not to do that. When you do that, you put pressure on your guys covering balls. They threw and caught the ball well. They're an explosive football team.”
Nelson accounted for 193 total yards as North finished with 19 first downs and 488 yards of offense.
Southwest, which has dropped three straight, was able to move the ball as it gained 15 first downs and 238 yards, but wasn't able to sustain many drives.
North, which has outscored its opponents 201-17 this season, will play at Papillion-La Vista South next Friday.
“We got to keep punching them in the mouth, keep bringing it to them,” Strong said.
Lincoln Southwest (1-3) ............................ 7 3 0 0—10
Omaha North (4-0) ..................................... 7 21 7 7—42
ON: Payton Nelson 1 run (Nick Polito kick)
LSW: Jon Freese 3 pass from Chase Gobel (Ryan Lindahl kick)
ON: Davion Reed 43 pass from Nelson (Polito kick)
LSW: Lindahl 36 field goal
ON: Calvin Strong 45 run (Polito kick)
ON: Strong 2 run (Polito kick)
ON: Nelson 9 run (Polito kick)
ON: DeValon Whitcomb 21 pass from Nelson (Polito kick)
A: 1,000 (est.)
RUSHING: LSW, Noah Lazaro 9-33, Gobel 7-13, Corey Williams 1-17, Tyler Bordeaux 2-4, Jamie Brown 6-2, Alec Sovereign 1-4, TJ Burbach 1-2, Jared Dickey 1-0, Austin Rowlett 1-(minus 1). ON, Strong 24-241, Nelson 3-20, Tyrus Harris 2-25, Tavion Seals 1-17, Jalial Jones 3-5, Tristin Taylor 1-4, Keonte Tolbert 2-(minus 4).
PASSING: LSW, Gobel 11-21-1 112, Sean Nordgren 1-1-0 32, Isaac Armstrong 1-1-0 20, Zach Beck 0-1-0 0. ON, Nelson 5-13-0 173, Dalton Willmore 1-1-0 7.
RECEIVING: LSW, Williams 3-39, Mitchell Oestmann 3-29, David Kaltenberger 2-22, Freese 2-35, Nordgren 2-19, Rowlett 1-20. ON, Whitcomb 2-86, Reed 2-52, Marquise Lewis 1-35, Terry Thomas 1-7.