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Winner earns another crack at 11B title

Izaiah Sorace’s agile explosiveness for Crow Creek proved impossible for Kul Wicasa to contain. (Photo by James Giago Davies)

RAPID CITY— Only one West River team has survived the playoffs to reach the championship football weekend, the 11B Winner Warriors. Winner got there by virtue of a semi-final 38-27 win over previously unbeaten Webster Area. They will face number one rated Bridgewater-Emery/Ethan, who beat a tough McCook Central/Montrose team, 42-0.

McC/M had only one defeat on the year, losing to B-E/E the first time they played, 57-35. The good news for Winner is that B-E/E gave up 35 in that first tilt, but the bad news is they gave up nothing in the second game. Both teams are unbeaten, at 11-0, and both are known for their defense, although the Warriors have employed a bend-but-don’t-break-defense most of this season, counting on their offense to score enough points that the bend doesn’t result in a defeat.

Brookings will host the championship games, at Dana J Dykhouse stadium, so bundle up for cold weather, as it will be outdoors. The Dakota Dome in Vermillion is undergoing some upgrades.

Class 9B

Number one rated Colman-Egan remained unbeaten and qualified for the title game with a 46-36 win over Wolsey-Wessington. In the other semi, Herreid/Selby Area upset number two seed Harding County, 54-32. The Ranchers did not play any tough East River competition and so this result is not surprising. PREDICTION: Colman-Egan

Class 9A

Unbeaten Britton-Hecla had their hands full with number four seed Gregory. The game was tied 8-8 deep into the final quarter when B-H scored to prevail, 14-8. Normally, this would send a clear message to the football world that B-H is more than ready for the title game. However, number two rated and undefeated Sully Buttes, was shocked by number three Canistota/Freeman, 56-22. C/F is playing their best football right when it matters most. PREDICTION: Canistota/Freeman

Class 9AA

Although expected to win, Viborg-Hurley was in for a slugfest tussle with number five rated Lemmon/McIntosh, although they prevailed 32-26. This game should not have been that close. In the other semi, Bon Homme dealt Deuel a 26-6 defeat. They look sharp on both sides of the football. PREDICTION: Bon Homme

Class 11A

Overall, it has been an upset riddled playoff for 11A. Lennox barely eked by West Central, 34-33. Canton upset Tea Area, 28-10. Canton looks to be the more solid team. PREDICTION: Canton

Class 11AA

There isn’t much hope of any team beating Pierre for the 11AA title. Probably Pierre would beat any 11AAA team as well. But this week’s victim was Mitchell, 57-7. In the other semi, Brookings beat Huron, 36-7. Pierre easily beat Brookings earlier this season. Pierre wins every game by a lopsided margin. PREDICTION: Pierre


Twice this year Sioux Falls O’Gorman has found a way to nudge past number one rated SF Roosevelt. They did it again last Friday, 24-21. Squaring off in the title game against them will be Brandon Valley, the preseason number one, they took SF Washington apart, 52-13. This class has really become a metro championship for Sioux Falls, which is too bad, because 11AA Pierre would probably beat either of these two schools. PREDICTION: Brandon Valley

Now that the regular season is over, and given that twelve native teams played separately in the All Nations Football Conference, let us look at the four Native schools that were invited to participate in the LNI and declined. The best team was Chamberlain. They made a wise choice to stay in the SDHSAA. Their program is relatively solid, with lots of white players, and so the ANFC fit was iffy. Bennett County was the second best team. They have, in the recent past, been quite competitive, but are in a current down cycle, that should eventually pick up. Like Chamberlain, the team has lots of white players who may or may not identify with the reasons for the ANFC to comfortably participate.

Todd County managed only one win this season, over winless Pine Ridge. These are the worst two teams at 11A, although both teams are loaded with talented skill players. Looking back with 20/20 hindsight it is easy to make a case for their having joined the ANFC. They now have schedule commitments which will preclude that participation, but as the ANFC expands, to 11-man and nine-man divisions, both schools are order made ANFC candidates. They have a history of losing, poor organization, weak participation, and they have nowhere to go but up. Hopefully, in due course of time, they will come over and join the ANFC ranks. It is doubtful Chamberlain or Bennett County will, or are probably better off right where they are at. West River football as a whole, is suffering by comparison to East River, but these things go through phases, and both schools have solid enough programs and enough quality participation they can produce teams that will compete in the SDHSAA.



(Contact James Giago Davies at

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