SOUTH DAKOTA GAMES OF THE WEEK
1. Bridgewater-Emery/Ethan (6-1) at Corsica/Stickney (6-1)
The Bridgewater-Emery/Ethan Seahawks have been a known commodity all season. Outside their loss to Canistota on September 2, in which they gave the Hawks everything they could handle, the Seahawks have handled the remainder of their schedule with relative ease, scoring 50 or more points in four of their six victories, while only allowing 112 points this season, many of those in garbage time.
This week should prepare them for the upcoming playoffs quite well when they head to Stickney to face a Corisca/Stickney Jaguars squad that looks to be playing their best football of the season. Adam Bormann and Gunner Baan Hofman lead the way rushing the ball but they’ll face an even tougher test than the one they passed against Avon two weeks ago. This has the potential to be a high scoring game with fast backs on both sides of the ball, and should be a good playoff test for both sides.
THE PICK: I think this will be a good one but Bridgewater-Emery/Ethan will prevail with Lindeman and Huber running the ball.
2. Sioux Falls Washington (6-2) vs. Sioux Falls Roosevelt (8-0)
The Roosevelt Rough Riders have proven to be the top football team this season in South Dakota, by making use of multiple receivers and misdirection when running the ball. But more than that, their defense has been the shining star and the main reason for the team’s successes this season. Outside of their win over Lincoln, the Riders haven’t allowed a team to score more than 17 points, and in five games didn’t allow the opposition to reach 10.
Washington is another team that can put up points in multiple ways. Power running with Davonte Clay, speed running with Nate Gerry, using a jumbo formation and wearing down the opponent, and if all else fails, quarterback Jon Hander can find a receiver downfield to throw to. Their downfall has been that their defense has attempted to take unnecessary chances and it has resulted in big gains or penalties. That cannot happen this week against Roosevelt if they want to win this game and retain their first round bye.
THE PICK: Roosevelt will have their hands full with an improved Warrior team but will win.
THE REST OF THE TOP SIX TANGO
3. Sioux Falls Lincoln (6-2) at Sioux Falls O’Gorman (7-1)
Fact: Sioux Falls Lincoln needs a win in this game to keep their first round bye.
Fact: That win has to come against a team the Patriots haven’t beaten in 31 consecutive tries.
So how are these Patriots to pull off what has been an impossible feat for over a quarter century, and on the other team’s field to boot? Lincoln will get their points in the air no matter the weather; such as they’ve been able to do all season. The game’s result will hinge on whether the Lincoln defense will be able to stop, or even relatively slow down the running attack of Flynn Donelan and Sam Steffl. If they manage to do that, the Knights have a knack for using a play fake and sneaking tight end into the middle of the open defense, the safety normally playing there having vacated that spot to stop the run. The Patriots’ defense has been the most porous of the Sioux Falls teams, they’ve given up four touchdowns or more to four of their eight opponents thus far this season, and that matchup is where this game will be won. Amazingly though, Lincoln is undefeated when allowing less than 40 points.
THE PICK: I think this will be a high scoring game in which Steffl and Donelan will wear out the Pats defense. Knights 40 Patriots 28
4. Brandon Valley (5-3) at Yankton (6-2)
These two teams are the only teams this season to have solved the Greenways in Mitchell and score wins. Yankton has a great chance at grabbing one of the four first round byes in class 11AA with a win in this game. Brandon Valley has had an up-and-down type of season, losing bad to O’Gorman and Lincoln earlier this season, and dropping an otherwise winnable game against Brookings. The Lynx have put together three straight wins behind the running of Trevor Crow and the leadership of quarterback Chase Marso, while the Bucks have changed their offensive identity this season, and have only played one truly bad game, their 41-0 loss to Roosevelt. Even though they lost the following week in Sioux Falls, they actually outplayed the Washington Warriors in the second half of that game. While the Yankton passing game isn’t quite that of Sioux Falls Lincoln, it will still pose a problem for the Brandon Valley defense, which has had that problem all season.
THE PICK: Another 11AA high scoring game will feature Yankton winning the ESD outright. Bucks by two scores.
WEST RIVER GAME OF THE WEEK
5. St. Thomas More (6-1) at Belle Fourche (5-2)
The Belle Fourche Broncs are trying not to backslide into the playoffs, and got knocked to the mat in the second half of last week’s game against Spearfish. They need to regroup quickly before facing St. Thomas More, because if they have another game like last week, it won’t bode well for the Broncs come playoff time and what it likely to be a rematch in Spearfish. St. Thomas More has seemed to have returned to their former offensive powerhouse after getting shut out by Winner. Since that game, the Cavaliers have averaged scoring 42.4 points per game, but their defense is still a little lacking. Again, this game hinges on whether Belle Fourche can slow down St. Thomas More’s spread offense.
THE PICK: St. Thomas More is peaking at the right time and will glide by the Broncs.
HAVE THEY GOT IT?
6. Irene-Wakonda (7-0) at Viborg/Hurley (5-2)
Even though Irene-Wakonda has an undefeated mark going into this one, we needn’t pay attention to either team’s record here – This is a huge rivalry in the Tri-Valley conference, and Viborg/Hurley represents the first quality opponent the Eagles have faced this season. The Cougars’ two losses are to Canistota, who are the odds-on favorite to win class 9A, and last week against Hanson. In those losses, two things were revealed – The Cougars have had some trouble getting to the outside in the rushing game, and there have been some mental breakdowns on their lines. If the Eagles are able to exploit these weaknesses they can prove they’re a team to be reckoned with in the playoffs.
THE PICK: The Eagles have done everything and more than has been asked of them, but the Vikings are just better and will outlast Irene-Wakonda. Viborg/Hurley by 16.