High School Semi-Final Picks (ND & SD)

Class AAA

Minot at Century

Last week Minot’s Adam Melom went for 186 and 2TDs. He’ll need another big performance to beat Century has used a great offensive line and Ben Kraft’s wheels to motor into the finals.

“We need to put up offensive points this time”, Century coach Ron Wingenbach said, “We need to stop the dual threat of their quarterback and their size up front.”

The Pick: Century pulls out a close win.

Mandan at Bismarck

Last time these two squared off the Braves gave the Deomons their only loss. Mandan coach Pat O’Brien said “Coyle is 75-80% but we’re confident in either Dwight Mack or Devin Coyle at quarterback.  Wind could be a factor and Mandan must stop the physicality of the Bismarck O-Line. The line is where this game will be won. Layne Johs missed last week with back spasms so his health will play a big role in how this game goes.

The Pick: Bismarck gets revenge and wins in a close game.

Class AA

Wahpeton at Grafton

Zayne Medhaug went wild last week with 3 TDs for Wahpeton as they got a healthy road win against Bottineau. This week they’ll have their hands full with another long road trip, this time to Grafton. Coach Tom Maus believes his senior leadership will carry the load on Saturday,

“Weather might be interesting on Saturday. We have a lot of seniors who have played  in big games before so we shouldn’t have any problems being focused,” said Maus

Grafton is as healthy as they’ve ever been and Jake Hanson is ready to lead the Spoilers to a title match.

The Pick: Grafton wins big

Kindred at Fargo Shanley

Austin Dahlgren ran for 168 yds and 2TDs. Kindred coach Cody Kittelson said, “We need to protect the football, fumbles cost us the game last time we played Shanley.”

This is the first time in school history Kindred has made the semis. Shanley on the other hand is used to playing into November. Nicholas Salentine threw for 4tds last week over Ryan and they’re riding high after an early season hiccup or two.

The pick: Shanley

Class A

Enderlin/Maple Valley at Linton

Defense will be the name of the game. Linton’s Cody Sehn ran wild for 189 yds 3TD as the Lions powered their way to the semis. Enderlin/Maple Valley has an air tight defense of their own and will use it to hault the Lions running game. Linton Head Coach Dan Imdieke thinks they can get it going with some offense.

“If we can get two or three touchdowns we can beat them, their defense has been really good so we have got to get some scoring,”

The pick: Linton

Hazen at Stanley-Powers Lake

Stanley-Powers Lake proved that they can pass when they need to. Junior Sam Footh threw 3TDs for Stanley. Landon Smith can run the ball too but the Blue Jays make their name on great defense. They’ll have to stop Hazen’s Briar Bornemann and Stetson Carr a feat that teams haven’t been very successful at.

Hazen coach Rick Philion said, “Last year I think we had a bunch of guys that were happy to be playing.  This year I believe we have a bit more focus and a lot better understanding of the game.”

The pick: Stanley-Powers Lake gets the win


Wyndmere-Lidgerwood at Napoleon/Gackle-Streeter

The season finale looms large now. Wyndmere-Lidgerwood lost their only game of the year in the season finale against Napoleon/Gackle-Streeter which prevented them from having a home game this Saturday. Instead they’ll hit the road and defend their title on Napoleon’s turf. Adam Bell carried 28 times for 231 yards and five touchdowns, and completed 12 of 20 passes for 261 yards and four scores. Napoleon is the definition of balanced. They average 212 rushing 192 passing per game

“For us to beat Wyndmere again, we know we will have to play our best game of the season,” said coach Kelly McCleery

This is the 3rd time in the past 4 seasons that the Imperials have played the Warbirds in the playoffs. They have split the last two meetings. Since 2005, either Napoleon/Gackle/Streeter (2006) or the team that has beaten Napoleon/Gackle/Streeter has gone on to win the state championship.

The Pick: Wyndmere-Lidgerwood gets the win


North Star at Divide County

North Star scored all 24 of their points in the 2nd qtr to beat Central McLean last week.  Divide County has been putting up huge offensive numbers and almost exclusively on the ground. If weather is a factor that should help Divide County. Jacob Hagler and Daniel Grande have been an absolute terror on offense. Grande has 68 catches for 1209 yards and 18 Tds. Hagler is 104-145 for 1694 yards and 25 TDs. That is a great combo.

“Our offensive and defensive line play has been a huge part of our success,” adds North Star head coach Bryan Haugen. “We have athletes make plays when called upon.”

The Pick: Divide County uses their ground game to control the line of scrimmage and get to the FargoDome.


South Dakota Preview


Washington at Lincoln

In a rematch of one of the best high school games I’ve ever seen Washington takes on Lincoln. Both squads are talented and both teams have great coaching staffs. This game should be close and don’t be surprised if Coach Beavers for Lincoln goes for the win on a two-point conversion.

“I will always go for the win! Over the last three years we are 18-22 on 2 point conversions,” said Beavers. This game could come down to a coaching move like that, but Lincoln could go for the kick now too. They started the year without a kicker and now they have a solid freshman kicker and two solid backups. It’s amazing what a winning season will do for your team.

Coach Hermanson for the Warriors has this team in position to compete with anyone. Their defense has taken huge strides and is now one of the best around.

“We feel that we have the right kids in the right positions that can help us the most at this point in the season.,” said Brian Hermanson.

Look for Nate Gerry to be a difference maker on both sides of the ball for Washington and DaVonte Clay has just gotten better at running back too.

The Pick: Washington

O’Gorman at Roosevelt

Another President’s bowl rematch brings up more questions than answers. Most of O’Gorman’s problems center around the health of their players. Adam Juhl joins Flynn Donelan on the sidelines, both out with collar bone injuries for the rest of the season. If Nic Steffl can continue to fill their absence with as many big plays as he made during the Yankton game they may be able to sustain the limited depth. Roosevelt on the other hand has questions on defense. Their last two games have been shaky at best giving up 34 to Washington and 37 to Brandon Valley. They’ll have to rise up on defense to match O’Gorman’s Sam Steffl and Connor Schaefbauer on the ground attack.

The Pick: O’Gorman is the official pick, although nothing would surprise me in this game.


Tea at Dell Rapids

Dell Rapids Coach Steve Hansen has said that Tea is the hottest team in the state and he’s not far off. Tea has grown in maturity and confidence throughout the year. Last week a six hour road trip couldn’t hold them down as they rolled over Belle Fourche. But in reality I think Dell Rapids is the hottest team in the state. They’ve improved since their early season loss to Tri-Valley. Cole Langer is now back (but his explosiveness is not 100%) and the Barber twins are nearly impossible to contain.

The Pick: Dell Rapids plays toe to toe with Tea in the first half but pulls away in the second half.

Spearfish at West Central

Spearfish’s Nate Rotert will have to run through West Central’s Mitchell Brockhaus, that’s a little harder than some of the other defensive linemen that Rotert has been running through lately. Spearfish is an improved team but they won’t be able to hang with Kent Mueller’s machine-like offense in Hartford.

The Pick: West Central


McCook Central/ Montrose at Winner

I had to keep questioning myself when the words came out of my mouth, “I think McCook Central/Montrose will beat Winner,” because they just didn’t sound right. But the more I look at the numbers and the more I see the Fighting Cougars the more I’m convinced that MCM has a legitimate shot to go on the road and beat the Warriors. Winner has been outstanding on defense and shined last week with two different 100+ yard rushers . But Jordan Wolf, Gavin Gasman and Andy Kappenman have got it going on this year and their second road win against an undefeated team is in plain sight.

The Pick: McCook Central/Montrose

St. Thomas More at Tri-Valley

The Cavaliers have a long road trip to play against Tri-Valley and they might run out of gas going up against one of the most dominant teams in recent 11B history. Tri-Valley’s offensive line has been outstanding and they have 5 different 200+ yard rushers to prove it. Tri-Valley is much better than I thought they’d be this year and they should have no problem with my pre-season number one St. Thomas More.

The Pick: Tri-Valley


Leola-Frederick at Bridgewater-Emery/Ethan

This could be the easiest pick of the day. Bridgewater-Emery/Ethan is as good as advertised. Kendal Lindeman, Anthony Huber and Jace Connor are the best backfield in the class and the Seahawks will roll against Leola-Frederick

The Pick: BEE

Deubrook at Kimball/White Lake

Kimball/White Lake’s Trevor Reinesch rushed 17 times for 120 yards 3TD last week and Deubrook’s line will have their hands full again. The Dolphins running game has gotten back on track the second half of the season with Dylan Schwartz and Trevor Peterson. Peterson can also throw the ball and cause some havoc in the passing game.

The Pick: Kimabll/White Lake


Hanson at Canistota

This will be the toughest matchup for Canistota in the playoffs. They’ve blown out the first two teams on their march to the dome and now they’re ready for a repeat performance against Hanson. Last time these teams played Canistota controlled the game with a 48-0 win but I think it’ll be a little closer this time. Jordan Craig and Reid Smith will run the ball for Hanson and try to keep the Canistota offense off the field.

The Pick: Canistota

Corsica/Stickney at Wall

Wall is one of the three unbeatens left in nine-man football. They’ve done it behind the power of Chavis Schull who averaged 190 yards per game rushing. Wall is quick and physical and wears teams out in the second half. But Corsica/Stickney has found a new weapon in Ryan Hongslo, Coach Broughton plugged Hongslo in at fullback and he’s taken off. Ryan has rushed for 395 yards in the last two playoff games as the Jaguars find themselves in contention. Quarterback Adam Bormann is at the top of his game as well.

The Pick: Corsica/Stickney


Viborg/Hurley at Waverly-South Shore

These could be the two best teams in the class. I hope the weather is good enough to showcase the aerial attacks of both teams. Waverly-South Shore continues to impress with their fun and gun approach. Last week Taylor Zemlicka accounted for 6 touchdowns (3 passing, 3 rushing). Viborg/Hurley also has a premier passing attack with Tyler Gerdes proving to be a great receiver.

The Pick: Waverly-South Shore

Avon at Harding County

Avon gets the frequent driver miles award for this week. Google maps says it’s 436 miles for the Pirates to log to get to the game. They’ll have 7 hours and 17 minutes to prepare for a tough game with the Ranchers of Harding County. What they’ll find is a quick team that loves to give the ball to Chek Gionannati. They aren’t as good at passing the ball this year as last season when Austin Brown was running the show, but the Ranchers have the athletes to compete with anyone. But last week we saw a focused Avon team and a healthy Jackson Powers as he found the endzone five times against Dell Rapids St. Mary’s.

The Pick: Avon

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