South Dakota Football Championships: Class 9A, 8th Time's A Charm

The Potter County Battlers took to the Dakota Dome turf on Thursday morning riding the high of their semifinal win in Howard, and seemed to take top-seeded Leola/Frederick by surprise early in the class 9A championship game after Tanner Heuer returned the opening kickoff to the 35-yard line. Heuer then caught a 65-yard touchdown pass on the game's first play from scrimmage to put the Battlers up 6-0 just 19 seconds into the contest.

Things kept rolling Potter COunty's way early. On Leola/Frederick's second offensive play, Mitchell Hinckley recovered a George Larka fumble to give the Battlers the ball on the Titans' 14 yard line. Two plays later, quarterback Chayce Hall hit a wide-open Michael Rausch for a 15-yard touchdown pass. Hall kicked the extra point and Potter County held a 13-0 lead less than two minutes into the game. This lead would be held until the end of the opening quarter.

The offensive explosion really went off in the second quarter. though. The Battlers opened the second frame by taking two plays to complete a 80 yard TD pass to Heuer, giving Potter County a 19-0 lead with 11:00 left in the 2nd quarter. After the teams traded punts, Potter COunty had their longest scoring drive of the first half, taking six plays to go 75 yards, ending with Hall finding Heuer for the third time for a touchdown, this one for 25 yards, giving POtter County a 25-0 lead with 7:58 left before haflftime.

Leola/Frederick finally got on the scoreboard with 4:11 to play in the second quarter, when Dane Campbell completed an 11-yard touchdown pass to Logan Weisser. After a failed onside kickoff attempt, Potter County needed only one play to respond, scoring on a 45-yard pass to Hinckley. That pass broke the single-game passing yardage record of 294 yards set by Cody Bunger in 2012. Leola/Frederick's offense started rolling late with their passing game, but still trailed Potter County 38-22 at the break.

Potter County continued to roll in the second half. Hall picked up his 7th touchdown pass with 6:37 in the 3rd quarter on a 1-yard pass to Rausch. That gave the Battlers a 45-22 lead. Leola/Frederick started to move the ball through the air, but lost the ball on a fumble by Justin Helland. POtter County's Colton Hall picked up the loose ball and returned it to their own 45.

Potter County started to grind the clock at that points, running 4:24 off the clock before their drive stalled. Hall made a 30-yard field goal, to make the lead 48-22 at the end of the third quarter.

Leola/Frederick opened the fourth quarter with the ball, but wasn't able to do much, as mental mistakes started to set in. Hall then set the all-time championship game record for passing yards in any class with a 21-yard TD pass to Rausch with 7:01 left to play. Hall won Joe Robbie Most Outstanding Player honors with his record-setting 16-20 day, with 466 passing yards and 8 touchdown passes. The Battlers coasted to win their first-ever state championship in their eighth try at the Dakota Dome.

SCORE BY QUARTERS     1     2     3     4-FINAL
POTTER COUNTY            13    25    10  12-60
LEOLA/FREDERICK        0     22     0    0-22

RUSHING: POTTER COUNTY: Ch. Hall 4-51-0TD; D. Storer 3-24-0; T. Storer 2-15-0TD; Heuer 2-12-0; Simon 3-11-1; Hinckley 5-10-0; Smith 1-10-0; Rausch 1-4-0; Co. Hall 2-3-0; Heien 1-3-0; Sundberg 5-2-0.  LEOLA/FREDERICK: Hertel 9-42-0TD; Weisser 10-32-0; Campbell 6-25-1; G. Lapka 5-10-0; Emery 2-9-0; Haas 1-3-0; F. Lapka 1-0-0.

PASSING: POTTER COUNTY: Ch. Hall 16-20-466-8TD-0INT. LEOLA/FREDERICK: Campbell 14-32-228-2TD-1INT; Weisser 1-1-9-0TD-0INT

RECEIVING: POTTER COUNTY: Heuer 5-214-3TD; Co. Hall 2-60-0; Vogel 1-56-1; Hinckley 2-53-1; Rausch 3-34-3; D. Storer 1-22-0; Sundberg 1-15-0; Simon 1-12-0. LEOLA/FREDERICK: Weisser 4-104-1TD; Podoll 6-78-1; Helland 4-43-0; G. Lapka 1-12-0.

Filed Under Football | Varsity Sports