New Omaha schools’ first football game bring communities to neutral ground

Though neither team has a home stadium yet, both brought their share of fans to Omaha South’s Collin Stadium.
Nebraska largest school district opened two new high schools this year and the two met on the football field for the first time.
Published: Aug. 25, 2022 at 10:48 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - When it comes to new OPS high schools Buena Vista and Westview, everything is a first. First football game. First kickoff. First big play.

“The school is amazing,” Westview High School mom Renee Loper said. “Everything is new, neat, we’re just excited to start the year and get the games going.”

Though neither team has a home stadium yet, both brought their share of fans to Omaha South’s Collin Stadium.

”We saw today at our kid’s first pep rally, they had such a good time, cheering for each other, supporting each other, being celebrated, it was really fun,” Buena Vista High School economics and U.S. history teacher Kat Duvall said. “We saw the first little taste of this Bison nature we’re creating and it was awesome.”

As new OPS schools, the Bison versus the Westview Wolverines may be a natural rivalry, but the smaller Buena Vista didn’t have enough transfer-eligible players to play varsity this year, so this football game is technically junior varsity.

But the fans don’t seem to mind, as long as the kids are experiencing all these firsts.

”We want our school to be the center, a place where people can come, they feel welcome, that Buena Vista is their house,” Buena Vista High School social studies teacher Carissa Stowe said. “And that’s really what we want our kids to believe.”

Both principals were setting a positive tone with their fans and student bodies. Buena Vista’s Carrie Carr enjoying time with fans and staff in the stands. Westview’s Thomas Lee had double duty, rushing from Westview’s first home match of the girls’ volleyball season in Bennington to the football game in South Omaha.

”It’s a great atmosphere, it’s fun,” Lee said. “That’s what we want school to be, we want it to be fun, that’s how we get kids to come to school, that’s how we get kids to learn, if we make it fun. This is fun right here.”

As cliché as it might sound, these firsts really aren’t about winning or losing, they’re about building.

“We get to build a culture here, we get to frame an identity,” Stowe said. “We just feel like these kids are our future and we know they are gonna do amazing things and we are so proud of them.”

”We’re building our community, we’re building our school culture, we’re building our athletic and activities culture, and it’s fun,” Lee said. “The student body and their turnout, it’s awesome I love it, even the crowd that has come out to celebrate with us this first game, it’s awesome and something to build on.”

Because the decision not to play a varsity schedule at Buena Vista was made just this week, the game goes in the record books as a forfeit for Westview, with no posted final from what was a junior varsity game Thursday night.