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The Student News Site of Burke High School

The Burke Beat

The Student News Site of Burke High School

The Burke Beat

The transformation of Burke football

Team finishes 2023 season with an 8-1 record
Kaitlyn Lisko
The view of a sunset from the student section at the homecoming game on Sep. 16.

In 2018, fans gathered in Lincoln’s Memorial Stadium to watch the showdown between Burke and Grand Island in the state football championship. Burke prevails, defeating Grand Island 24-20 in a close matchup and Burke’s first ever state football championship. Coached by Paul Limongi, Burke football had reached an all-time high. Fast forward to the 2023 season, and the team just ended with one win against Benson.

The opening of Westview High School and former coach Limongi’s transfer to Westside has brought on several changes in staffing and student transfers over the past couple years. Limongi led the Bulldogs for 16 years, and when he left it was a shock to students and staff alike. He led the team to only its second state championship in 2011 and delivered them to the playoffs 13 times. The program has had a difficult time recovering from such a loss.

This year, former Omaha South head football coach James Patterson made the switch to Burke. He made the move knowing that he was coming to rebuild a struggling team.

“Being here after a lot of turnover has its challenges. With kids leaving two years ago to Westside and Westview, and then when the coach left last season, athletes transferred to Omaha North and other various schools. Challenging for sure, but I am up for the rebuild and the process that comes along with it,” Patterson said.

With a new head coach also comes a new team bond to navigate. Patterson says the team participated in several activities to get the group going before the start of the season.

“When getting the job in May we did a lot of camps, had a travel camp to Wayne State where we stayed as a team overnight together. We had some team bonding activities and a senior camping trip,” Patterson said.

The team was senior-heavy this year, but Patterson says that building up underclassmen for the future has been a big goal.

“Overall wins and losses were not where we wanted them to be, but we had a lot of growth and developed underclassmen for the future,” Patterson said. “I think the ceiling is very high at Burke High. [The] goal is to get back to winning and competing at a high level. [We] should see a much improved team in 2024.”

Despite their disappointing record, there were many highlights from the 2023 season. Junior wide receiver Marcus Buchanan finished out the season with over 500 receiving yards, leading the team. Seniors Kaleb Hilker, Jamari Allen and Amar Scott led the team with three touchdowns each. College offers are also starting to roll in for the team, with Allen recently receiving an offer to Peru State College.

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About the Contributor
Kaitlyn Lisko
Kaitlyn Lisko, Editor-in-Chief
Senior Kaitlyn Lisko is beginning her third year on the newspaper staff and second year as editor-in-chief. At school she's also involved in senior senate and African-American history challenge.

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