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Wall captures 9AA title over Parkston


Parkston’s Sam Benson attempts to drive Wall’s full back Mason Heath out of bounds( photo courtesy of SDPB)

VERMILLION—Most nine-man football teams must transition from a grass playing field to the artificial turf of the Dakota Dome, but the 9AA Wall Eagles play on an artificial surface little different than the Dome, an ideal surface for the balanced attack and stellar kicking game the Eagles bring to their games. Having already upset two higher rated teams, the Parkston Trojans entered the game against top rated and undefeated Wall as the number six seed. They featured a powerful ground game and a clutch passing game, and although these strengths expressed themselves throughout the game, Wall’s big play aggression, and ability to capitalize on key turnovers, made all the difference as the Eagles won their first state championship since 1994, prevailing, 34-14.

The tone of the game was set on the first possession, which was a microcosm of all that was to come. Wall had little trouble moving the ball deep into Parkston territory, but the defense stiffened, and Parkston stopped Wall on downs inside the red zone. The problem was Parkston was now only yards from their own end zone, and the next three plays did not produce a first down. Wall’s Quinn Moon didn’t just block the punt, he blocked it in such a way it hit the turf just in front of him, bouncing right up into his hands as he stepped across the goal line for a Wall touchdown. This is the type of play a defensive player dreams about in his sleep, but it was real.

Wall also had something that Parkston did not have, Blair Blasius, a kicker who could boot PATs and field goals, and Blasius did just that, his PAT making it 7-0 and then added a first quarter 34-yard field goal to put the Eagles up, 10-0.

By halftime Wall led, 24-8. This advantage continued throughout the game, because despite the fact Parkston had more rushing yards, and despite the fact the Trojans had only six less passing yards, it was not translating into points on the board.

Although Wall RB Cedar Amiotte’s longest run from scrimmage was 21 yards, he carried the ball 32 times for 222 yards. Parkston’s leading rusher was Kolter Kramer who had 164 yards on 24 carries, his longest run a burst up the middle for 55 yards. Junior Wall QB Burk Blasius won the offensive player of the game and the Joe Robbie MVP award for his 298 yard passing performance, which included four touchdowns. Parkston’s QB Kaleb Weber had 292 yards in the air, but struggled to gain any yards on the ground, averaging only 1.1 yards per carry.

Top receiver was Parkston’s tightend, Will Jodozi, who had 154 yards on 10 receptions, several of the catches about as good as you are ever going to see on the high school level. Amiotte led Wall receivers with 108 yards on eight receptions. Ryan McDonnell and Thane Simons both had highlight reel quality TD receptions for Wall, each catching two TD passes on the day.

Given the undefeated storybook season Wall had, and how many teams they mercy ruled opponents, and how well they handled the pressure in close games against tough opponents, there has probably never been a championship football team of this caliber with so many enrolled tribal members, from Head Coach Lex Heathershaw to about a dozen quality contributors playing both sides of the ball.

Wall will lose a number of standouts to graduation, including Amiotte and Blair Blasius, perhaps the best players in the state at what they do best, run the ball and kick the ball. Both will land in pretty respectable college programs.

Parkston Trojans          0     8     6     0          14

Wall Eagles…………10   14     0    10         34

 

9B Championship

Hitchcock-Tulare           6    14     6     24         50

Herreid/Selby Area        8     0      6     14         34

Herreid/Selby was the undefeated top seed but NSNT predicted this upset because Hitchcock-Tulare had fared better against common opponents.

Top rusher: Brenden Begeman, H/S A: 189 yards

Top passer: Carter Binger, H-T: 238 yards, 4 TDs

Top receiver: Landon Puffer, H-T: 238 yards, 4 TDs

9A Championship

Gregory          16    8      6     6         36

Warner            0     8      15    0         23

With only one loss to 9AA Parkston, Gregory went into the playoffs hugely underrated, but the Gorillas made believers out of everybody with this win, another upset predicted by NSNT.

Top rusher: Rylan Peck, G: 162 yards

Top passer: Hunter Cramer, W: 175 yards, 1 TD

Top receiver: Logan Permann, G: 85 yards

11B Championship

Elk-Point-Jefferson         0      14      0     7         21

Winner                             0       6      0      8         14

Like most other folks, NSNT called this wrong. Who picks against Winner? Huge upset. This was a ground game of sheer will and toughness and undefeated Elk-Point Jefferson out-toughed the undefeated Warriors.

Top rusher: Lucas Hueser, EP-J: 119 yards, 2 TDs

Top passer: Blake Volmer, W: 56 yards, 1 TDs

Top receiver: Garrett Merkley, EP-J: 49 yards

11A Championship

West Central          0    0      0     7          7

Dell Rapids            6     6      0    12       24

The Quarriers had too tough a defense for West Central.

Top rusher: Jack Henry, DR: 64 yards, 2 TDs

Top passer: Jack Henry, DR: 182 yards

Top receiver: Brayden Pankonen, DR: 125 yards

11AA Championship

Tea Area          7     6      7      0        20

Pierre               7     7     14     7        35

This was the sixth straight title for Pierre. Tea Area was a quality team but they just could not hang with the Governors for four quarters.

Top rusher: Lincoln Kienholz, P: 121 yards, 2 TDs

Top passer: Lincoln Kienholz, P: 274 yards, 2 TDs

Top receiver: Jack Merkwan, P: 234 yards, 2 TDs

11AAA Championship

Harrisburg                        7      7      0     7         21

Sioux Falls Jefferson       0    21     21    6         48

Of all the championship games this one was easiest to predict. The 11AAA division is small, too small, as Pierre, Tea Area, Elk Point-Jefferson, Winner and Dell Rapids are all better than Harrisburg and would have given SF Jefferson all they could handle.

Top rusher: Nelson Wright, SFJ: 162 yards, 3 TDs

Top passer: Dylan Elrod, H: 240 yards, 2 TD

Top receiver: Tytan Tryon, H: 140 yards, 1 TD

(Contact James Giago Davies at skindiesel@msn.com)

 

 

 

 

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