Coach Q&A: Steve Kueter, SF O'Gorman

Since South Dakota's playoff era began in 1981, no team has ended it's season in the DakotaDome more than Sioux Falls O'Gorman. The Knights made their 14th trip to Vermillion in 2010, losing to Sioux Falls Washington.

Despite last year's disappointment, it looks like the Knights have a good chance to add to their legacy in 2011. With nearly all of last year's key players returning, O'Gorman will, yet again, be one of the favorites. My biggest challenge was getting notoriously-modest head coach Steve Kueter, who currently ranks No. 2 on South Dakota's all-time wins list, to admit it.

Q. A lot of people expect O’Gorman to be right there again. What do you expect out of the 2011 season?

A. I’m optimistic, like I think every coach is this time of year. We’ve got some returners that played a lot last year. But I think if you look around the state, particularly around Sioux Falls, that’s kind of the case. It’s just one of those years where everybody played a lot of young kids and I think you’re going to see some really good football this year. The four Sioux Falls schools, when you look at their rosters, may be as good as I’ve ever seen.

Q. I think almost everyone around here is familiar with what O’Gorman does. You’ve stuck with the system, regardless of personnel, and it’s worked. Can we expect any surprises this year?

A. I think you’re going to see pretty much what we’ve done forever. We like to run the ball and play good defense. That’s what we, really, are based on. We throw out of play action, but we’re not that kind of team. We’re one of the few teams that [are] still under center with our quarterback. We’re still doing a lot of things we’ve done over the years and it’s been very effective for us and, obviously, we’re going to continue with it. It gets down to players. If you’ve got the players that can run that system, then you stick with it. Fortunately, over the years, we’ve had them, and I think we have them this year.

Q. How much does that championship game experience help coming into this year?

A. Getting to the Dome and playing in the state championship game is always a big deal. We’ve done it a lot. And when you do it, your kids remember that. And we didn’t win the state championship, so they remember that and they come out with a little more determination, little more focus to try and get to that next step. That’s really the challenge that’s out there right now. Washington High had taken over the scene here the last few years, and we want to push hard to get back into that picture.

Q. You guys get Roosevelt in the President’s Bowl this year. That rivalry stands on its own, but does it add something when you have a chance to play a team like Roosevelt on that stage?

A. The O’Gorman-Roosevelt football games are legendary. For a school that’s only been around the last 20 years, you could look at about every game and it seems like they’re decided right at the end. Last year we played them in the playoffs and won 28-27 on a botched extra point at the end of the game. It’s just something like that every year for either team. I think, first off, you’re going to see huge interest in it. Two really good teams, Roosevelt has a really fine football team. I just think those are the games that make high school football around here.

Q. O’Gorman and Roosevelt bring two contrasting styles. What’s that chess match like?

A. Kim [Nelson] and I go way back. We went to college together, and he was at Washington High for years, Rapid City Central for years. So we’ve always played against each other. He was a quarterback, always likes the spread out game, and likes to throw the ball around. I was a fullback, I like to keep the ball inside and run it. So it’s two clashes of styles, but both schools have great kids and great football teams. It really doesn’t matter what you’re running, it’s just a matter of executing, and I think both teams do that extremely well.

Catch the Knights on Midco Sports Network

O'Gorman and arch-rival Roosevelt will meet in the opening game of the 2011 President's Bowl on Sept. 3. That contest, along with the nightcap between Lincoln and Washington, will air live on Midco Sports Network.

  • Sept. 3: O'Gorman vs. Roosevelt (President's Bowl), 4:30 p.m.


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