I expect a few Halloween surprises but I think a lot of these games are as cut and dried as my week old jack o lantern. Last week I got just 7 out of 44 wrong including two one-point games that ended the wrong way for me. This week there are 24 games for the right to make the final four in each of the six classes.
Brookings at Lincoln
The last time they played Lincoln controlled the scoreboard while Brookings controlled the clock. Lincoln’s week of rest should really help them re-group and be ready to take out the Bobcats again.
THE PICK: Lincoln
Mitchell at Washington
Mitchell is the only team that’s beaten a Sioux Falls team this year. Don’t expect another one here. Washington is a much improved team and should roll in a late start at Howard Wood Field.
THE PICK: Washington
Yankton at O’Gorman
Yankton has a shot here. They’ll have two of three healthy backs with Knodelland Fitzsimmons giving O’Gorman trouble. The Knights are a different team without Donelan but are still good enough to win this one.
THE PICK: O’Gorman
Brandon Valley at Roosevelt
Brandon Valley’s Trevor Crow runs hard but can he last the whole game against the tough Rider defense. Roosevelt’s defense has been the best in the state in my opinion and should give BV quarterback Chase Marso fits. The Lynx are much improved and could give the Rough Riders a game but I think the Roosevelt defense will win out with a big second half.
THE PICK: Roosevelt
Chamberlain at Dell Rapids
Chamberlain is the only team left without a winning record. Their clock will be up against the best team in the class on Halloween. Dell Rapids should cruise in this one.
THE PICK: Dell Rapids
Tea at Belle Fourche
Belle Fourche has had a nice season but Austin Kudlock and the Broncs will run into a red-hot Tea Titan defense. Tea has three backs that can beat you and their quarterback Corbin Lawler is finally in midseason form after an injury plagued start.
THE PICK: Tea
Dakota Valley at West Central
Dakota Valley has playmakers and will have to play a tight game to hang with the ultra-efficient West Central Trojans. Dakota Valley has been getting more out of Colin Gunderson and their passing game in recent weeks and showed they can beat good teams with a nice win over Harrisburg. However they’ll need to be perfect to beat West Central on the road
THE PICK: West Central
Spearfish at Todd County
Spearfish is maybe the most underrated team in 11A and Todd County possibly the most overrated. Take nothing away from either team but I expect the Spartans of Spearfish to roll in this one. Nate Rotert and Brandon Kemp will win and lead Spearfish to an unexpected semi-final appearance.
THE PICK: Spearfish
Mobridge-Pollock at Tri-Valley
Mobridge-Pollock and star player Bailey Friesz entered the season as a top contender and now they’re looking like one at the end of the season. Unfortunately they’ll meet Tri-Valley and a nasty offensive line. Thad Johnson leads a group of road graters that can block for anyone. The Mustangs will advance.
THE PICK: Tri-Valley
Custer at St. Thomas More
Here’s a rematch from earlier in the year. St. Thomas More was the team that knocked Custer from the ranks of the unbeaten and Custer would love nothing more than to get revenge.
THE PICK: St. Thomas More
McCook Central/Montrose at Groton
The Groton Tigers have been the biggest surprise in the class and have been absolutely outstanding on defense and running the ball. Ryland Strom and Matt Thorson are a dynamite pair of backs for the Tigers, but my surprise team McCook Central/Montrose has a chance to pull off an upset. The Fighting Cougars have stepped up and played outstanding since early in the year. Andy Kappenman and Jordan Wolf are animals on defense and as long as they stay away from turnovers and penalties they should win this game.
THE PICK: McCook Central/Montrose
Canton at Winner
Canton has a shot at beating the unbeaten Winner Warriors. They’ll need to win at Winner’s game, controlling the clock, solid tackling and winning the field position battle. Canton can do that with Logan Dolen but Winner has taken this strategy to a new level and should be able to outlast the C-Hawks with Ben Connot and company.
THE PICK: Winner
Howard at Bridgewater-Emery/Ethan
Howard did a great job making it this far after a subpar regular season but I fully expect the Seahawks to dismantle Howard early and then put their foot on the gas to the finish line.
THE PICK: Bridgewater-Emery/Ethan
Miller at Leola/Frederick
Despite going on the road I think Miller has the advantage here. This could be the closest game of the quarterfinals.
THE PICK: Miller in a close one
White River at Deubrook
White River just scored again. They put up points in bunches but are also vulnerable to giving up a lot of points too. Deubrook has their running game going and their line is much bigger than White River’s.
THE PICK: Deubrook
Gettysburg/Hoven at Kimball/White Lake
Gettysburg has a lot of playoff experience and pulled out a thriller last week. Kimball/White Lake has won 7 of their last 8 with their only loss coming to BEE.
THE PICK: Kimball/White Lake
Herreid/Selby at Canistota
What more can be said about the Canistota Hawks? They have answered all their calls and they keep passing every test. Cody Bunger has been the best quarterback in 9-man football this year.
THE PICK: Canistota
Hanson at Wilmot
The long road trip for Hanson continues on their way to a title defense. Hanson has their work cut out against one of the underrated teams in 9A. Wilmot’s only loss on the year was to Waverly-South Shore and they’ve put up a lot of points averaging 40.3 points per game in the regular season.
THE PICK: Hanson in a close one
Warner at Corsica/Stickney
Warner did a great job in a pressure game in round one but they’ll face Adam Bormann and Gunner Baan Hofman and the electric offense of Corsica/Stickney this round. When the Jaguars of C/S are hitting on all cylinders they truly can beat anyone (except for Canistota of course).
THE PICK: Corsica/Stickney
Irene-Wakonda at Wall
This is another game that will be absolutely great. Irene-Wakonda faces a long road trip but if they can get past the road fatigue they should be able to play right with the undefeated Wall Eagles. Wall is a quick team that is extremely physical and has been able to wear teams down in the second half but Irene-Wakonda has more skilled players like Dustin Livingston and Scott Davis making plays. Chavis Schull is a great play-maker for Wall too.
THE PICK: Irene-Wakonda gets the road upset over a good Wall team
Hitchcock-Tulare at Waverly-South Shore
Waverly –South Shore has taken a page out of Hitchcock-Tulare’s book and put together a dominant season. They’d like to accomplish the same thing that Kenny Huether’s team did and that’s qualify for a state title game in Vermillion and bring home the hardware. The senior-laden Coyotes of Waverly will roll this round.
THE PICK: Waverly-South Shore
Langford at Viborg/Hurley
Langford has put together a nice season but Viborg/Hurley should be able to put together enough offense to take care of business this round.
THE PICK: Viborg/Hurley
Dell Rapids St. Mary at Avon
Avon isn’t as good as they’ve been in the past but Jackson Powers is still a tough guy to bring down and Nick Poppe has been quality at quarterback. Dell Rapids St. Mary has shown as much improvement as any 9B team since August. After a 1-2 start the Cardinals have rolled through the DVC and are primed for a road upset in Avon.
THE PICK: Avon
Dupree at Harding County
Dupree surprised me with a solid first round game against Jones County, but this is a whole new county Monday night and the Ranchers are bent on getting another shot at the hardware in Vermillion.
THE PICK: Harding County BIG