Practice prepares a football player for almost anything they’ll see in a game, something Omaha North running back and Super-State captain Milton Sargbah will certainly attest to.
He credits workouts with his older brother, Ozzy, for his ability to create something out of nothing. Sargbah was adept at finding small creases in the line and turning them into big runs. And if the opposing defense got penetration into the backfield, his quickness and elusiveness usually bailed him out of a big loss and turned it into a positive play.
“He and I would go through every possible scenario I could face in a play, so I didn’t see anything on the field this season that I hadn’t seen in drills already,” said Sargbah, a 5-foot-7, 160-pound senior who rushed for 2,355 yards (11.4 yards per carry average) and 28 touchdowns to lead Omaha North to its third Class A state title in five seasons.
“What he taught me the most was to be patient when I run. Speed kills, but so does patience, waiting for the hole to develop before taking off. If you’ve got both of those things, that’s when you can be really dangerous.”
Perseverance and the ability to share are two more attributes that served Sargbah well this past fall. North overcame two-touchdown deficits in the fourth quarter three times this season to win, including the semifinals against Omaha Burke and the finals against Kearney.
Sargbah split running back duties with fellow Super-State junior Zander Gray, a junior power back who finished with 1,707 yards and 25 TDs. After Sargbah sprained his ankle on North’s last-minute, game-winning drive in the state finals, Gray stepped in and finished the 80-yard march and secured the 27-20 win.
“Milton kept his composure and found a way to raise his level of play in those situations, and our other kids fed off that,” North coach Larry Martin said about the comebacks. “He was a great role model both on and off the field for Zander, and he knew using two running backs was the best thing for our team.”
Martin compares Sargbah’s running style to another recent Viking Super-State running back, Calvin Strong.
“They both had a feel for it (running the ball in traffic) and they were both a lot of fun to watch,” Martin said. “What sets Milton apart from everyone else is how quickly he can get to his top end speed. Sometimes on film, it looks like he’s shot out of a cannon.”
Not only was Sargbah the face of Omaha North football this fall, he quite often represents the school in nonathletic settings. He speaks to students at elementary and middle schools in the area and works youth football camps in the summer.
“Milton’s quick to volunteer for things around school, and he’s often the one who’s asked to host outside visitors when they come to our school,” Martin said. “He has great people skills and a great work ethic.”
Sargbah is getting strong recruiting interest from FCS college programs, but his goal is to play at the larger FBS, Power Five conference level. He’s taking his time to make a college commitment to make sure he finds the right fit.
“I know people think I’m too small (for the FBS level), but I feel like I can ball with anybody,” Sargbah said. “All I want is the opportunity.”
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