Vikings score with new assistant coach


Jordan Burtzel waives his arms up and down to pump up the crowd at the football game against Burke at Northwest’s Kinnick Stadium on September 14, 2018. Burtzel did this to get the crowd into the game, Burtzel often did this throughout the game. Photo by Gabby Push

Richard Marcoux, Sports Writer

At an Omaha North High School football game, the student section is packed, the band is playing the fight song, and players are running up and down the field. But this season there is a new site on the Vikings sideline, a cheery, smiling, assistant coach who has down syndrome and is always looking to pump up the crowd and get the players fired up. His name is Jordan Burtzel, 9.

Burtzel was just added to the coaching staff as an assistant coach this year. Coach Martin played a huge role in bringing Burtzel onto the coaching staff.

Coach Martin has known Burtzel since the 2013 Omaha North Vikings football season when they both met when a player brought Burtzel to a team football practice.

Since Burtzel was placed on the football team’s coaching staff, there has been nothing but positive reactions from his fellow players and coaches. Coach Martin in particular enjoys how he is competitive and, “tries to get everyone to play better.” He also likes how Burtzel, “has helped us more than we helped him.”

Burtzel said, “Being a coach is a nice job”, he “likes the games” and “likes all the guys on the team.” He joined the team because he “thought it would be fun.” Jordan’s favorite part about being on the team is the “playbook.” The season goal for Burtzel is “to win state.”

But it’s not only the coaches who appreciate Burtzel.

Coach Martin stated, “The players really enjoy having him around…in the hallways, players give him high fives, and fist bumps.”

The Viking football team has created a welcoming environment for Jordan to thrive and succeed in.

So next time you’re at an Omaha North High School Viking’s football game, above all the sights of the fans, band, and players, take the time to appreciate Burtzel hyping up the crowd, grinning from ear to ear on the sideline, and what he does for the Viking’s football program.