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2018 SD HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL SEASON PREVIEWS - 9AA

2018 CLASS 9AA Preview

Earlier this week I gave out my previews for Class 9B and 9A, Class 9AA is the final 9-man release this week. Next week we'll talk 11B. The week of July 23rd we'll break down Class 11A. July 30th I'll release my thoughts on Class 11AA and August 6th I'll unveil the season preview for 11AAA. 

I'll also bring you an extensive list of players to watch as well as the top players in each class. I'll also rank each and every team in every class to get the conversation started. Remember your opinion matters. I'll take feedback from you on my twitter account before I submit my official rankings vote for the first Media Poll of the year. So be heard and let me know what you think!

Class 9AA

I lost some sleep this week trying to decide how to rank the top three teams in 9AA. The three best teams all play each other this season which will make it difficult on each other's record. So let's go through the reasoning of why I put teams where I did. 

1. GREGORY 

I honestly came into this research project thinking that there would be no way I'd have Gregory as my number one team in this class. They lost their best quarterback in school history as well as one of the best overall players in the state to graduation. Two Division One players moving on from a 9-man team? No way they stay at the top, right? Wrong. They got a lot of production from juniors last year who are ready to take over this fall. 

IMPACT PLAYERS

They return some great weapons like Evan Juracek, Caleb Stukel, JJ Beck, Tyler Murray and some up and coming young players ready to fill the openings in the offense.

KEY GAMES

Their schedule gets really tough at the end with away games against Wolsey-Wessington and Miller/Highmore-Harrold. I think by that time of the season Caleb Stukel, JJ Beck and Tyler Murray will be among the best 9man players in the state. 

BOTTOM LINE

The champs may lose a game and won’t be as dominant as they have been the last two years, but there’s no reason they couldn’t put together a title defense this year. Until someone knocks them down a peg they start out as the favorites in the class. 

PREDICTION

7-1

2. Miller/HIghmore-Harrold

The Rustlers are coming off of a 6-2 season last year where they couldn’t shake Gregory. They lost to them in the regular season and again were defeated in the semis by the score of 60-14. This team lost 10 seniors to graduation but have some talented seniors coming up this year.

IMPACT PLAYERS

Miller/Highmore-Harrold has one of the top signal callers in the state. Karst Hunter is coming off of a 1700-yard passing season and a 1000-yard rushing season. He has been on the camp tours this summer and has impressed a lot of college scouts and should be much improved on his accuracy this season. Jharrett Bloomenrader and Dylan McDonnell will be among the favorite targets for Hunter with Eli Jones ready to run the ball. Garrett Knox is the leading returning tackler for the Rustlers.

KEY GAMES

Big home game to start the year against Wolsey-Wessington on August 17. A rematch on the road against Bon Homme on August 31, the Cavaliers handed Miller/H-H one of their two losses last year. And an October 12th rematch at home with Gregory.  

BOTTOM LINE

A tough schedule will test Miller/Highmore-Harrold this season but no one in the class has a combination like Hunter to Bloomenrader that they can depend on in the passing game. Head Coach Will Castle has this program rising and they'll peak this year with a chance to take a trip to the dome in November. 

PREDICTION

7-1

 

3. WOLSEY-WESSINGTON

The Warbirds finished 4-4 in the regular season and were knocked out in the quarterfinals by Gregory 24-8 (which is the toughest anyone played against Gregory last year). They lost to Miller and Bon Homme badly to open up the season then improved and were playing really good football by the end of the year.

IMPACT PLAYERS

Look for the offense to take a big jump this year with junior Skyler Zomer at QB. Lynden Williams, DeVonte Luellman and Diedrick Offt make one of the deepest backfields in the state. Defensively Brevan Hooks and Diedrick Offt are sack artists with three other returning starters back in the fold as well.

KEY GAMES

Just like Gregory and Miller/Highmore-Harrold, Wolsey-Wessington’s season will hinge on how they play in their big games. They kick off the year with two revenge games (at M/H-H 8/17 and vs. Bon Homme 8/24) and end the year on October 5 against the team that ended their season, Gregory.

BOTTOM LINE

This much-improved team will put together a great season and get back in the title hunt. Look for Lynden Williams and Skylar Zomer to become two of the top offensive producers in the state.

PREDICTION

7-1

4. IRENE-WAKONDA

Chris Torgerson takes over as the head coach for Irene-Wakonda this year and he inherits a state runner-up team. Last season their only loss of the regular season was to Canistota/Freeman and then in the title game 56-30 to Gregory.

IMPACT PLAYERS

There is no bigger impact player in the state than Trey King. His explosive 2017 season was one of the best ever. He threw for 2,519 yards and 27 TDs and ran for another 1871 yards and 34 TDs plus he picked off nine passes on defense. Brannon McDonald is another key returner for the Eagles, he was in on 11.4 tackles per game and made 12 tackles for loss. Other than that, this team has a lot of holes to fill.

KEY GAMES

September 14th and September 21st are going to be tough ones for the Eagles. They are at Howard then home against Canistota/Freeman. They also end the season at Baltic.

BOTTOM LINE

We’ll see how this team does with a new head coach and a lot of new starters who will have to step up. They do have the top playmaker in nine-man football and that goes a long way to making this team a title contender.

PREDICTION

7-1

 

5. WEBSTER AREA

The Bearcats went 6-2 a year ago with losses to Hamlin and Clark/Willow Lake on the road. Those games are at home this year and they should be much improved with a ton of returning talent.

IMPACT PLAYERS

Webster lost just 4 seniors from last year’s team, 13 of their top 14 tacklers on defense are back this year. Coby Reetz just touched the tip of the iceberg last season as a sophomore with 579 yards and five TDs rushing. He’s back with Tristen Bent on the line and Clayton Kurtz and Kade Gaikowski making plays on offense. Braden Holland will be a junior QB (835 yds passing, 10 TD).

KEY GAMES

Revenge games against Hamlin and Clark/Willow Lake will both be at home this year, they play Hamlin on August 31st then CWL on September 28. If they can get both of those to go their way they could be undefeated.

BOTTOM LINE

Their schedule sets up favorably for a great regular season, however it will be tough once they make the playoffs. Their defense will have to rise to the occasion.

PREDICTION

8-0

 

PLAYERS TO WATCH IN CLASS 9AA

Tyler Arnold

Sr.

Hill City

RB/LB

JJ Beck

Sr. 

Gregory

LB/FB

Tristen Bent

Sr. 

Webster

OL/DL

Jharett Bloomenrader

Sr. 

Miller/Highmore-Harrold

TE/DL

Trey Bohlmann

Sr. 

Menno/Marion

TE/LB

Bo Donald

Sr. 

Kimball-White Lake

OL/DL

Nash Grantham

Jr.

Hamlin

QB/LB

Karst Hunter

Sr. 

Miller/Highmore-Harrold

QB 

Tyler Jensen

Sr.

Arlington-Lake Preston

OL/DL

Dakota Johnson

Sr.

Garretson

OL/DL

Trey King

Sr. 

Irene-Wakonda

QB/LB

Clayton Kurtz

Sr.

Webster

WR/DB

Devante Luellman

Sr. 

Wolsey-Wessington

RB/CB

Brannon McDonald

Sr.

Irene-Wakonda

 

Tyler Murray

Sr.

Gregory

LB

Sam Muston

Sr. 

Baltic

WR/DB

Diedrich Offt

Sr. 

Wolsey-Wessington

RB/LB

Coby Reetz

Jr.

Webster

QB/LB

Zane Schlabach

Sr.

RC Christian

QB/LB

Joey Slama

Sr. 

Bon Homme

WR/RB

Caleb Stukel

Sr. 

Gregory

DB/RB

Lynden Williams

Sr. 

Wolsey-Wessington

RB/CB

Skylar Zomer

Jr.

Wolsey-Wessington

QB/DB

 

 

 

 

JASON ANDERA'S 2018 9AA PROJECTIONS 

  9AA W L
1 Gregory 7 1
2 Miller/Highmore-Harrold 7 1
3 Wolsey-Wessington 7 1
4 Irene-Wakonda 7 1
5 Webster Area 8 0
6 Baltic 7 1
7 North Border 6 2
8 Bon Homme 4 4
9 Hamlin 5 3
10 Kimball/White Lake 4 4
11 Arlington/Lake Preston 6 2
12 Garretson 4 4
13 Parkston 2 6
14 Deuel 5 3
15 RC Christian 5 3
16 Parker 4 4
17 Elkton-Lake Benton 4 4
18 Hill City 4 4
19 Dakota Hills 2 6
20 T-D/A/AC/DC 1 7
21 Dupree 3 5
22 Jones County/White River 1 7
23 Menno/Marion 1 7
24 Viborg-Hurley 0 8
25 Great Plains Lutheran 1 7
26 Tiospa Zina 2 6
27 Tri-State 0 8
Filed Under Football | Power Rankings | Varsity Sports | SD High School