SD Class 11AA Semifinal Preview

South Dakota Semifinals

Class 11AA

#4 Harrisburg (6-4) at #1 Yankton (7-3)

Friday, November 6 at 7:00 pm  -  Crane-Youngworth Field – Yankton, SD

Previous Meeting: October 22, 2015  Yankton beat Harrisburg 28-0


What You need to know


The last time the Tigers played the Bucks almost everything went wrong. Not only were they not able to score they lost their quarterback Kain Kittleson to an ankle injury. Last week sophomore signal caller Hunter Headlee took over and held the ship together. He did throw a couple of interceptions but showed some confidence and resilience in leading the team to a 20-17 win over Brookings. Harrisburg has used a strong running game led by Dylan Tams and Jacob Klemme to pound the ball. Matt Pohlman and Paul Paul hope to get more involved in the passing game this week. The true strength of this team is the lines anchored by Ethan Roth (6-4, 275) and Jacob Headlee (6-4, 270).


The character of this team has been revealed and they’ve been able to sustain the waves that this season has brought. Somehow the Bucks earned the number one seed in the playoffs despite losing several starters throughout the season. In recent weeks Nate Stephenson has taken over as the quarterback and Tanner Frick has moved to running back to stabilize the Yankton backfield. Frick has been the most productive player in the class over the last three weeks scoring eight touchdowns. They’ve also gotten Brendon Caskey back to move the chains and Sheldon Gant to get the tough yards. The Yankton passing game has gone silent but they do feature some talent at wideout with Coleton James and Blake Savey ready to make big plays on the outside. Coach Arlin Likeness deserves a lot of credit for keeping this team on track.


We’ve had a little bit of a roller coaster with injuries and things like that but the kids have found themselves and never quit and we’ve gotten better and better and I  think that’s what we said. We want to be better and better and at our best going into the playoffs.
-Arlin Likness, Yankton Head Coach


#3 Mitchell (7-3) at #2 Pierre T.F. Riggs (8-2)

Friday, November 6 – 7:00 pm   – Hollister Field – Pierre, SD

Previous Meeting

October 16, 2015 - Pierre beat Mitchell 29-21


What you need to know:


The Kernels have put together an exciting season with a senior quarterback who is one of the best in the state. Kanin Nelson has a rocket arm but has brought Mitchell to the semifinals with his feet. Nelson ran for 147 yards on 37 carries for 3 touchdowns against Pierre. Last week Nelson topped that effort by running for five touchdowns. If the Kernels win on Friday it will be their first trip to the dome since 1993.


The Govs have their own exciting quarterback in Brevin Kaiser. He may be the most complete passer in the class but he’s able to make plays on the ground as well. Last meeting with Mitchell Kaiser, like Nelson, also ran for over 100 yards and also threw for 145 yards. Seth Neal has also provided some big runs for the Govs, he exited their quarterfinal game with a hand injury after just a few plays. Pierre used Isaiah Watson as their feature back after that. Pierre has played solid defense and might have the best tackling in the state this season. The Govs will need to step up their efforts on defense to contain the high-powered Kernel offense.