Will the third time be the charm to claim the North?

Ralston, NE- The Omaha Beef (8-4) hit the road Saturday to play the Salina Liberty (8-4) for a chance to claim the CIF northern division title.  You can join the fans at the official Playoff Watch Party at Ozzy’s Roadhouse in LaVista (12744 Westport Pkwy), kickoff is at 6:30pm.

These two have faced off twice with Salina winning both games 54-34 at Salina on June 1 and 50-33 in Omaha on June 15. Omaha struggled to score against the Salina defense in the second half of each game being outscored 41-15 and also committed eight turnovers in the two games played. The Beef greatly improved the turnover margin in last weeks’ game against Sioux City.  Look for the Beef to open up the passing attack to compliment the running game, currently second-best in the league. Derrick Bernard’s arm and efficiency will play an integral part in the game’s outcome. He currently has 1,199 passing yards and 27 touchdowns. He also leads the team in rushing yards (498) and touchdowns (12). Leading receiver Javon Bell will be looked upon to have a big game also. He leads the team in catches (32), yards (406), and touchdowns (10).

The same goes for the defense of the Beef. They are stout against the run only allowing 57-yards a game, but the pass defense is last in the league. Look for the Omaha defensive line to amplify their pass rush in order to slow down the passing attack of the Liberty. Omaha will have their hands full with the Salina offense. Quarterback Andrew Jackson is in the top three in passing yards and touchdowns, running back Tracy Brooks leads the CIF in rushing yards and touchdowns, and Rashad Pargo leads in receiving touchdowns. Expect defensive backs Trey Dudley-Giles, Chris Perry and Taylor Hawkins, to play a key role in the defensive game plan along with leading tackler (70) Dezmin Reed. The secondary trio has combined for 11 of the 12 interceptions the defense has this season. If the Beef can maintain their effectiveness throughout all four quarters, they can set themselves up to travel South in two weeks to play for the CIF Championship.