2015 Class 11AA Championship

The class 11AA championship game featured the last two teams to win this class title. The Yankton Bucks, who won in overtime last year against Brookings, and the Pierre Governors, who won in 2013 over Watertown. Pierre had won the regular season game 31-0 on Sept. 25, with Yankton committing 8 turnovers. This game was in the Dakota Dome in Vermillion, only 25 miles from Yankton, and in many ways a de facto home game for the Bucks.

The teams traded three-and-outs on their opening possessions, and when Yankton took the ball for their second possession, the Bucks moved the ball smoothly through the Pierre defensive line, then switched to a wildcat look, with Tanner Frick taking the snaps. It was Frick in fact on one of these wildcat plays that took the ball off the right end and scored the first points of the game, a 10-yard touchdown run with 4:58 left in the first quarter. The extra point made the game 7-0, a lead that would last almost until halftime.

The teams traded punts and Yankton had one missed field goal during this time, and Rayden Terca had also intercepted a Brevin Kaiser pass as well. Yankton took the ball at midfield and used 14 plays, almost the rest of the half, to move the ball to the Pierre 1-yard line, before quarterback Nate Stephenson scored on a quarterback sneak with 10 seconds left in the first half. Yankton took the 14-0 lead into the locker room, and would have the ball to open the second half.

While Yankton did get a nice 24-yard gain from Brendon Caskey on their opening drive, the drive stalled at the Yankton 48.The ensuing punt pinned Pierre at their own 9-yard line. Pierre was able to get the ball to their own 46 with a Kaiser-to-Peter Sanchez pass. The Govenors had 1st and goal from the 9, but a holding penalty knocked them back to the 25. In the next three plays, they got the ball to the Yankton 5, where Pierre faced 4th and goal.

Pierre was called for delay of game and a false start, and on 4th and goal from the Yankton 15, Kaiser hit Derek Schreiner for a touchdown. The extra point made the score 14-7 in Yankton's favor, which held until the end of the third quarter.

Yankton faced 3rd and 12 from their own 34 as the fourth quarter opened. Isiah Watson hit Stephenson as he threw, and the pass fell incomplete, giving Pierre the ball at their own 29 after the Sheldon Gant punt. Pierre was unable to move the ball much in the following three plays, and they punted the ball away. Yankton chewed up four and a half minutes of the fourth quarter and survived two fumbles, but Pierre took over at their own 19 with 6:26 to play.

It took Pierre seven plays to tie the game, when Kaiser scored from 5 yards out. The kick was good, and the game was all square at 14-14 with 3:52 left to play. Yankton had moved the ball to the Pierre 24, but two consecutive sacks had the Bucks facing 4th and 16 at the Pierre 37 with 1:27 left. Stephenson completed a pass to Frick, but it was short of a first down, giving the ball to Pierre at their own 24 with 1:23 left and two timeouts.

Kaiser was unable to complete any of three passes, and Yankton took the ball at their own 32 yard line with 55 seconds left. On 3rd and 10 from the Yankton 43 yard line, Erin Severyn intercepted a Stephenson pass and returned it to the Yankton 30 with 11 seconds left. After a Kaiser run gained one yard and a Pierre timeout with four ticks left on the game clock, the game hung on the foot of Sanchez and a 46 yard field goal attempt. The kick fell short, and the game went to overtime.

Pierre won the overtime toss and elected to play defense first. Yankton moved the ball to the 1 yard line in two plays. Then on 4th down, Gant plowed into the end zone to give Yankton the 21-14 lead. Kaiser scored on the second play of the Governors' possession, and Pierre went for two and the win. Kaiser fired for Joe King in the end zone, but the pass fell incomplete, and Yankton captured their second straight state championship. Tanner Frick was named Joe Robbie Most Outstanding Player with 14 carries for 97 yards and a touchdown.


SCORE BY QUARTERS     1     2     3     4    OT-FINAL
PIERRE                                  0     0     7     7     6- 20
YANKTON                               7     7     0     0     7- 21

RUSHING: PIERRE: Kaiser 21-105-2TD; Watson 7-30-0; Neal 2-1-0.  YANKTON Frick 14-97-1TD; Caskey 11-64-0; Gant 9-40-1; Stephenson 9-16-1TD; Terca 1-0-0.

PASSING: PIERRE: Kaiser 13-26-199-1TD-1INT. YANKTON Stephenson 12-21-149-0TD-1INT; Terca 1-2-13-0TD-0INT.

RECEIVING: PIERRE: Sanchez 2-73-0TD; Watson 1-41-0; Severyn 6-37-0; Schreiner 2-29-1. YANKTON Gant 4-46-0TD; Frick 3-41-0; Caskey 2-23-0; Savey 1-16-0; Heine 1-14-0; Terca 1-11-0; James 1-11-0.