SD 11B and 9Man Semi Finals Previews

South Dakota Class 11B

McCook Central/Montrose at Parkston – Saturday November 8 at 7:00 PM

Parkston has been the most dominant team in a class filled with contenders this season. Wes Dvorak has been the most versatile player in the class starting at quarterback, kicker and making appearances at running back and receiver. Miles Semmler, Brady Reiff and the rest of the Trojans have played top-notch defense, in games against playoff teams this season here is what they’ve done on defense:

Opponent           Pts Allowed

vs. Groton           0

at Canton            0

at Winner            18

at Tri-Valley        6

vs Bon Homme   0



McCook/Central/Montrose on the other hand has been one of the quietest teams in the class but have managed to go unbeaten. Quarterback Kylar Hansen (42/86  728 yds 10 TD, 9 INT) has been steady in the pocket but the real strength of this offense has been their line and their running game. Jerry Kappenman (846 yds, 12TDs) has led the way in the running game, but Joe Hanson, TimGassman, Eric Hanson, Collin Cleveland and Tyler Cleveland have all rushed for 200+ yards and at least four touchdowns. That’s a running back by committee if I’ve ever heard it.

PREDICTION: Parkston is head and shoulders above the rest of this class and they’ll show it beating a fine undefeated team on Saturday 24-0.

Groton at St. Thomas More– Saturday November 8 at 6:30 (MT) 7:30 (CT)

The Cavaliers are in search of their first title in football. They’ve been runners up in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009 and haven’t been back to the dome since then. This season they have just one blemish on their season that was a 20-13 loss to Winner back on October 3. Over the last three games this offensive machine has churned out 45, 52 and 45 points. Matt Eastmo is their leader at quarterback. He’s been very stead in the pocket and is also a threat to run the ball. Cole Thurness has become the go-to receiver for the Cavs while Travis Mills shares the load at running back but has done the most damage piling up yards this year. Groton on the other hand has relied on Jackson Doeden for most of their yards this year. Doeden is a big back who is the focus of the Tigers offense. Groton finished the regular season 5-3 and beat Mobridge-Pollock 41-0 in the first round then advanced to the semis with a hard fought 16-14 win over Custer. In that game Groton’s quarterback, Tabin Elmore, scored a 9-yard touchdown  and threw for another.

PREDICTION: St. Thomas More and their opportunistic defense will give the Tigers problems. This will be the second trip to the Black Hills for Groton in less than a week. St. Thomas More wins handily 35-8

South Dakota Class 9AA

Kimball/White Lake at Woonsocket/Wessington Springs/Sanborn Central – Saturday November 8 at 5:00 PM (Wessington Springs)

KWL’s Eathen Gaulke carried the ball 55 times last week in the team’s upset of #1 seed Arlington. He totaled 371 yards and ran in all three touchdowns in their 20-12 win. Sophomore Quarterback Josh Taylor throws a handful of key passes every game but it’s been the Gaulke show for most of the WiLdKats season. W/WS/SC has been near perfect all season long. Tucker Kingsbury (36-70, 690 yds, 9TD) has improved each and every game at quarterback for the Blackhawks. His best game of the year may have come against Wolsey-Wessington in the regular season finale. He went 14-23 for 260 yards and 4TDs passing while rushing for 105 on the ground.  Landon Oschner and Austin Messmer have been carrying the load at running back.

Back on August 29th in the season opener these two teams met and W/WS/SC got the best of KWL 42-28. In that game KWL Turner Blasius and Eathen Gaulke combined for 183 yards on the ground and 2TDs while Austin Messmer ran for 116 yards and 2TDs for the Blackhawks. This matchup could be much different. Both teams have shown vast improvement.

PREDICTION: The Blackhawks have the size to load up against Eathen Gaulke. W/WS/SC wins 44-35


Deuel at Gregory – Saturday November 8 at 4:30 PM

Gregory is the only remaining unbeaten team in 9AA. They’ve done it with two of the most feared athletes in the class. Kurt Braun at quarterback and Jonah Beck at running back. These two players go out and make plays each and every week. Last Monday Braun was 3/3 for 156 yards with two touchdowns. The only game that the Gorillas have given up more than one score was against KWL on September 12th. Look for Mason Juracek to play a big role in their playoff success upcoming. Deuel hasn’t been in the semi finals since 1994 and  has lost just one game (Hamlin 32-6 on 10/10), but have been very good since then. Lance Eide keeps finding room to make big plays, last Monday he ran for 304 of the teams 334 yards. He will be the key for the Cardinals if they are to pull out an upset on Saturday. Cooper Gates is their senior quarterback and will come out with nothing to lose in this game. Look for Braxton Fuller (6-3, 285) to establish himself on defense for the Cardinals. The Junior has really stepped up in the past few weeks.

PREDICTION: Gregory gets up quickly and commands this one 55-14

South Dakota Class 9A

Wolsey-Wessington at Philip – Saturday November 8 at 5:00 PM (Wessington Springs)

Wolsey-Wessington has been at the top of 9A all season long. They are getting an all-time season from their quarterback Lorenzo Williams (PASS: 25/45 570 yds 4TD, 0 INT; RUSH: 2284 yds 36TDs). But Hunter Johnson (1853 yds 24 TDs) has also been dominant this year. Both Williams and Johnson have each ran for at least 100 yards in every game this year. Philip has a high powered offense averaging 49 points per contest and have put up 62 in each of their two playoff games. Their quarterback Paul Guptill is the reason they’ve been so consistent. Guptilll totaled 21 touchdowns through his first 6 games and Jacob Kammerer has done a nice job at running back.

PREDICTION: Wolsey-Wessington will have too much firepower for the Scotties. W-W wins 54-38

Alcester-Hudson at Howard – Saturday November 8 at 6:00 PM

Alcester-Hudson is not known as a football powerhouse, but they have changed that this year. The Cubs bring some special players to the table starting with quarterback Grant Johnson. Colin Walth has also been a big part of this offense. They have not only gone 10-0 but they haven’t really been tested this year. So it’s hard to say that they’ll be overmatched by another undefeated team, the Howard Tigers. Howard has been equally impressive going 10-0 and not being involved in a close game including their 52-12 win over Canistota. Luke Loudenburg keeps adding to his all-time 9 man rushing record each time he steps on the field. He’s listed at just 5’5” but is the hardest player to stop on the field. Loudenburg (6,311 career yards) isn’t the only player that the opposition has to stop though. Jordan Genzlinger and Jordan Kuhle make you pay if you overlook them.

PREDICTION: Howard will pull away late to win 52-14

South Dakota Class 9B

Faulkton at Canistota – Saturday November 8 at 6:00 PM

Faulkton put up 62 points against perennial contender, Avon, last Monday. Darin Wieseler (1580 yds 25TD) had a four touchdown performance in that game and is the key to their chances in the semis. Kurt Beidler (71/100 1147 yds 14 TD 3 INT) has been remarkably accurate this year for Faulkton and can take advantage of a defense that keys on Wieseler. Canistota on the other hand seems to be back after their year off at the top. Shay Jolley (30/53 604 yds 6TD) has brought consistency to the quarterback position. But the running game with Jerad Nielsen and Jacob Buseman have been the boost this offense depends on. Defensively Drew Seubert, Carson Hofer, Nielsen and Buseman have been lights out. They were able to hold DR St. Mary to just 6 points on Monday.

PREDICTION: Canistota will win at home and find their way back to the dome 35-21.

Harding Coutny at Hamlin – Saturday November 8 at 6:00 PM

Harding County always has one of the best passing games in the class, this year is no different. Sam Podzimek (96/140, 1757 yards 26 TD) spreads the ball all over the field. Harley Mollman (43 rec 860 yards 15TD) is the top target, but Clayton Koch and Jarrett Jenson also can make things happen in the passing game. Windon Hewson (128 car. 871 yds, 10TD) has been their leading rusher. For the Chargers it’s been a one-man wrecking crew with quarterback Brody Grantham (PASS: 28/66, 700 yards, 12 TD RUSH: 1363 yards, 26 TD). He carried the team in the quarterfinals with 307 yards and four touchdowns in their 50-6 win over Eureka-Bowdle. The team also has three other 400+ yard rushers in Chance Neimann, Ryder Grantham and Austin Niemann. Kale Stieg has been a huge presence on defense for the Chargers as well.

PREDICTION: Hamiln shuts down the Harding County passing game and lights it up on offense with a 48-8 win.