Inside Dakota Football #14 – Championship Edition

The following blog provides a breakdown of all seven championship games along with historical notes on individual/team rankings in various categories.


Avon Rallies to Defeat Hamlin, 24-22, in 9B Championship; Record 3rd Unbeaten Season

Avon (12-0) rallied from a 14-point deficit to claim a 24-22 9B title game victory over Hamlin (11-1) in a battle of unbeaten teams. The win enabled the Pirates to record their third unbeaten team in school history with their fifth title overall. It was the third time during head coach Tom Culver’s tenure at Avon that he led a team to a perfect record. Avon was also state champions and unbeaten in 2002 and 2005. Hamlin and head coach Jeff Sheehan finished 11-1 with a two-year mark of 19-2. It was the first time these two programs had met on the gridiron.

Avon junior RB/LB Devin Tolsma was named the Joe Robbie MVP after recording 16 tackles and 1.5 TFLs while rushing 16 times for 94 yards and a TD. He finished the season with 115 carries for 1,296 yards and 18 TDs while racking up 156 tackles (274 in his career). With a season to play he has 2,316 career rushing yards. His teammate senior Brandon Kocmich was named the SDHSFBA Back of the Game after totaling 21 carries for 99 yards and a TD. He also had a 42-yard reception, returned a punt 36 yards and completed a 31-yard pass. Kocmich ended his senior campaign with 1,895 yards and 28 TDs, pushing his career totals to 2,812 yards and 44 TDs rushing.

For Hamlin, senior Alex Holzwarth, who had eight tackles, was named the SDHSFBA Lineman of the Game. Junior QB Brody Grantham completed 4-of-12 passes for 79 yards and two TDs while recording a game-high 154 yards rushing and a TD. Backfield mate Dusty Quiram had 18 carries for 97 yards while also picking off a pass and making a key fourth quarter defensive stop. Grantham has completed 78-of-165 passes for 1,423 yards and 20 TDs in his career, including 43-of-91 for 656 yards and 11 TDs this year. He also has 242 carries for 1,617 yards and 27 TDs in his career.  Quiram had 186 carries for 1,330 yards and 21 TDs in his senior campaign, finishing his career with 388 carries for 2,819 yards and 40 TDs on the ground. He had 3,656 all-purpose yards.

After opening an 8-0 lead after a 20-yard TD run by Tolsma, Avon was outscored 22-8 as Grantham had two TD passes (10, 25). Kocmich’s TD with 7:09 left in the third quarter cut the deficit to 22-16. Then with just 1:08 on the clock in the fourth quarter, Logan Mudder, who threw for 80 yards, completed a 38-yard game-winning TD down the left sideline to Kole Beeson.

Record Notes:  Avon finished the season with 504 carries for 4,279 yards and 58 TDs. Avon’s yardage sits fourth for a season all-time while the carries is seventh and TDs, sixth, on the season chart.  Hamlin finished the season with six shutouts, a total that ranks fifth for a season all-time in 9-man.

Potter County Wins 1st Ever Title as Hall Throws for a Record 8 TDs

It was a “Crazy Eight” sort of day for the Potter County Battlers. In their eighth appearance in the 9-man championships, this time in 9A, the Battlers won a title with a 60-22 win over top seed and previously unbeaten Leola-Frederick. As Gettysburg, the Battlers had appeared in seven previous 9-man championships, five in 9A. It was the first title for veteran coach Vern Smith (105-29 in his career).

Senior QB Chayce Hall, who wears #8, had one of the best performances regardless of class in SD Prep Championship history. Hall threw for eight TDs, a mark previously reached by only two other QBs – Matthew Raba of New Underwood in 1996 and Corey Jacobsen of Viborg-Hurley in 2010. No QB in any class had thrown for eight TDs in a championship setting. The only QB in prep history to throw for more than eight TDs in a game was Dustin Lotzer of Sisseton, who had nine (491 yards passing) in a 60-7 regular season win over Redfield in 2008.

Hall, who was named the Joe Robbie MVP and the SD FB Coaches Association Back of the Game, threw for 464 yards, which not only set a 9A championship record but is the highest total ever by a prep QB regardless of class (Chase Marso, Brandon Valley, 454, 2012). Hall’s yardage total is the fourth best ever by a 9-man QB regular season or in championship play. Hall, who ended the year with 1,448 yards passing and 24 TDs, finished with 522 yards in total offense.

Also for the Battlers, Tanner Heuer broke the 9A record for receiving yards in a game with five catches for 214 yards and three TDs, including an 80-yard pitch-and-catch from Hall. Heuer, who recorded the 13th best receiving performance in 9-man history, broke the 9A championship game mark of Nick Hofer of Canistota, who had 195 yards in 2012.

Potter County’s Carson Kirby, who was the anchor for the offensive front, was named the SDHSFB Coaches Association Lineman of the Game.

In this “Crazy Eight” championship, the Battlers were able to score 60 points against a team that had allowed just eight points per game and had beaten them earlier, 12-7 at Hoven. In fact, the Battlers were able to exact a little revenge for a 34-15 loss to Fredrick 31 years ago (1982 championship). In total, Potter County rolled up 637 yards in total offense, which ranks fifth all-time in prep 9-man ranks.

Leola-Frederick, which had rallied from a 25-0 deficit to 38-22 at halftime, generated 362 yards in total offense. They were led by Dane Campbell who completed 14-of-32 passes for 228 yards and two TDs as well as a rushing score. Derreck Podoll had six receptions for 78 yards and a TD while Logan Weisser, who rushed for over 1K during the regular season, had four catches for 104 yards and a TD.

Record Notes: Individually, Chayce Hall set the all-time record for TDs in a half with six, passing Tyler Ollerich of Lyman, who had five TDs in 2007. Hall’s eight total TDs ranks tied for first with two others while his passing yardage of 466 ranks fourth on the individual chart for a game all-time. In addition, he had 16 completions, which ranks 20th on the all-time season chart. Dane Campbell of Leola/Frederick had 14 completions, which ranks in the top-30 all-time for a game. With 214 receiving yards in a game, Potter County’s Tanner Heuer set the championship game mark while putting together the 13th best yardage total in 9-man  history.  Also in 9A, Wolsey-Wessington had 4,546 rushing yards, which ranks second with their 55 TDs sitting 10th. Howard, another team that reached the semifinals, had 3,980 rushing yards for sixth on the all-time season chart. Howard’s 61 rushing TD is tied for fourth all-time (Deubrook Area, 2012). In the 9A championship, Potter County recorded the fourth-best team passing total in a game in 9-man history. With 611 total yards, the Battlers recorded the 11th best total in 9-man history. Leola-Frederick recorded the 15th-best total for pass attempts with 33.

Bridgewater-Emery/Ethan Wins 7th Title, 6th in 9AA, with 36-6 Verdict over Arlington

Bridgewater-Emery/Ethan (11-1), led by Joe Robbie MVP Wade Miller, captured their third 9AA title in four years with a 36-6 win over Arlington on Thursday. BEE won their seventh overall title in ninth appearances, six of those titles at the 9AA level. Head Coach Jeff VanLeur pushed his career record to 224-100 as he ranks second nationally in 9-man wins. Just like the title-winning season of 2011, BEE had a pair of 1,000 yard rushers. Miller finished with 24 carries for 107 yards and three TDs while adding a 54-yard reception. His backfield mate, Jordan Grosdidier added 20 carries for 122 yards.

In a classy move at the game’s end, VanLeur put in former Joe Robbie MVP Jace Connor for a couple of plays. Connor, who was hurt in a summer work accident, did not play all year until the fourth quarter when he took a snap and then split out wide as a wide receiver. BEE also received 55 yards and a TD rushing from QB Blake Bartscher, who was 3-of-3 for 64 yards. For Arlington, which finished 10-2, Andrew King was 8-of-16 for 120 yards with 17 carries for 82 yards and a TD rushing. Luke Weber, who had 51 yards rushing, caught five passes for 86 yards. Miller finished the season with 243 carries for 1,742 yards and 29 TDs while Grosdidier had 164 carries for 1,153 yards and 15 TDs. King, a junior, had 1,372 passing yards this season while Weber finished with 1,224 yards rushing as a sophomore.

Record Notes: BEE ended the season with 552 carries for 3,811 yards and 53 TDs. The Seahawks’ 552 carries ranks second all-time (BEE, 560, 2010) while the yardage total ranks 13th. Deubrook Area had 3,813 rushing yards in 2013 for 12th all-time. In 9AA, both Deubrook with 57 (tied for 7th all-time) and BEE with 53 (tied for 10th all-time) rank in the top 10 for team rushing TDs in a season. Hamlin had six shutouts in 2013 which ranks 6th all-time for a season.


Canton Wins 3rd Title; Turns Back Parkston, 20-14, in Tough, Physical Battle

Canton, led by Joe Robbie Award Winner Cody Majeres, won their third state title with a hard-fought 20-14 win over Parkston (10-2) in the 11B championship at the DakotaDome on Friday. Majeres, who completed 5-of-6 passes for 102 yards and rushed for 11 yards, led his team to a championship as Canton became the second school, joining Winner, to win both an 11A and 11B championship. Majeres also led the team with seven tackles. Canton, which finished the season with 10 straight wins, won the 11A title in 2006 (Dell Rapids, 27-20) and in 1986 (Winner, 14-7). The C-Hawks, 4-5 in an injury plagued 2012, finished 11-1 with their only loss to Parkston, 21-14, in week two on the road. Parkston, which had a five-game winning streak snapped, finished runner-up for the third time (2002, 1991).

Canton outgained Parkston, 296-to-242, including a 194-to-164 edge on the ground. The C-Hawks were led by Gabe Dolen, who was named the SDHSFCA Back of the Game, with 16 carries for 97 yards while Tanner Broughton had 43 yards and a TD. Austin Schuers had 22 yards and a TD while Kyler Kniffen added 21 yards and a TD. Parkston, which had defeated Canton, 21-14, in week two, was led by Wes Dvorak, who had six carries for 66 yards and 54 yards in punt returns. Mitch Heisinger finished with 11 carries for 51 yards while Miles Semmler had seven carries for 39 yards. Austin Bertram scored a TD for Parkston.

For his career, Majeres finished with 285 carries for 2,071 yards and 40 TDs. He completed 65-of-119-1,114 yards and nine TDs. Dolen completed his career with 250 carries for 1,576 yards and 13 TDs.

Record Notes: With five shutouts in 2013, both Canton and Parkston tied four others for 14th on the all-time season list. With 427 points in 2013, Canton ranks 22nd all-time for scoring in a season. Parkston recorded 19 interceptions this season, which ranks 12th best for a season in 11-man history.

West Central Rallies past top-ranked Madison to Win 12th State 11A Title; Milne Sets All-time TD Rushing Mark

West Central (10-2) rallied with a late TD to win their state-best 12th 11A title with a 28-21 win over top-ranked and previously unbeaten Madison (11-1). It was the Trojans first title since going 12-0 in 2007. Head Coach Kent Mueller’s team rallied from a 21-7 deficit to win the championship. After losing two games in midseason, the Trojans, who were playing in their 14th championship game, closed the season with seven straight wins.  West Central’s 12 titles are the most by any team in the playoff era (since 1981) regardless of class.

West Central scored two second half TDs, including the game-winning 39-yard TD pass from Jace Hanisch to Cody Bussell. The pair had also hooked up for a scoring play earlier in the game. Bussell, who had 15 carries for 63 yards, added two receptions (both TDs) for 59 yards. Hanisch threw three passes in the game, two for scores, even though he wasn’t playing QB. Senior QB Noah Matson (7-17-36 yards) had an outstanding game for the Trojans as did Cole Tirrel, who rushed for 90 yards on 13 carries and two TDs, including the one that tied the contest early in the fourth quarter.

Tirrel finished the season with 1,076 yards and 18 TDs. Bussell was just short of 1K, totaling 976 on the year. As for Madison, which was making its first-ever state championship appearance, Rush Milne had 20 carries for 58 yards and a TD along with two receptions for 89 yards and a TD. Milne finished 2013 with 37 combined TDs (34 rushing) along with 1,422 rushing yards. Milne’s 34 rushing TDs set an all-time 11-man mark for TDs rushing in a season. Jacob Giles, who was 12-of-22 for 234 yards and both a rushing TD and passing TD, concluded his senior season with 1,936 yards passing.

Record Notes: Rush Milne of Madison set an all-time 11-man mark for rushing TDs in a season with 34.  With 488 points, Madison ranks ninth all-time for a season with West Central, 12th at 474.

Pierre Riggs Wins 1st-Ever State Championship

Pierre Riggs has become championship central in South Dakota. By rolling to a 34-7 win over Watertown (7-4) in the 11AA title game, the Governors won their fifth straight game and the school’s first ever state football playoff championship in their second title appearance (1988, loss to SF O’Gorman, 44-6). The Governors also earned mythical titles in 1909 and 1914.

During this calendar year, Pierre has won boys titles in wrestling, girls golf, basketball and football. Over the last two years, the school has won six total state titles. Leading the way for the senior-laden Governors (22 seniors) was Joe Robbie MVP Alex Gray, who completed 15-of-23 passes for 251 yards and two TDs while adding 18 carries for 44 yards and a TD on the ground. Gray also earned the SDHSFCA Back of the Game honor while senior Kyle Veitz was the SDHSFCA Lineman of the Game. Senior Ethan Case, who rushed for 690 yards on 91 carries with 10 TDs this season, had five carries for 28 yards and a TD against Watertown, a team swept by Pierre this season (35-24 win in the opener). In the title game, Gray’s primary target was senior wideout Austin Christopherson, who had five catches for 149 yards and 2 TDs. In addition, Garrett Pochop had six catches for 51 yards.

Watertown, which had a five-game winning streak end in the loss, was led by Shay Bratland, who rushed for 91 yards on 20 carries and had a 95-yard kickoff return for a TD. It was the third kickoff return of 95 yards or better in 11AA this season.

Gray, who was named the SDHSFCA Back of the Game, concluded his career by completing 146-of-243 passes for 2,329 yards and 23 TDs in 2013 while rushing 120 times for 462 yards and 10 TDs. Gray, who took over as starting QB for Pierre late in his sophomore season, had career totals of 285 carries for 1,195 yards rushing and 19 TDs while completing 237-of-451 passes for 3,963 yards and 43 TDs. Pochop finished the season with 49 catches for 822 yards and seven TDs. Christopherson had 37 receptions for 720 yards and 11 TDs in 2013 and finished his career with 67 catches for 1,368 yards and 20 TDs.

As for Bratland, he concluded a standout senior campaign with 272 carries for 1,568 yards and 17 TDs while totaling 425 carries for 2,265 yards and 24 TDs in his career. Logan Gabriel wrapped up his career hitting on 161 passes on 357 attempts for 2,158 yards and 18 TDs. Watertown finished second for the second time (1992). They won titles in 2001 and 1996.

Record Notes: Watertown’s Shay Bratland had a 95-yard kickoff return for a TD, which is the 12th longest return in 11-man history.  Pierre’s 389 points in 2013 ranks 35th all-time for scoring in a season.  Alex Gray of Pierre concluded his career ranking in the top 15 in all four passing categories. He was 11th in completions with 237, 12th with 451 pass attempts, 14th with 3,963 yards and 11th with 43 passing TDs.

SF Lincoln Completes First-Ever Unbeaten Season with 47-24 Win over Roosevelt

Sioux Falls Lincoln, led by Joe Robbie MVP Caden Quintanilla, completed a perfect season for the first time at 11-0 with a 47-24 win over Sioux Falls Roosevelt in the 11AAA title game on Saturday at the DakotaDome. Quintanilla recorded one of the greatest performances in 11-man championship game history with 30 carries for 244 yards and four TDs. With 11AAA a new class, Quintanilla’s total set a new record and would bettered the 11AA 233-yard mark of Roosevelt’s David Sturdevant in 2007. Quintanilla’s rush total was part of Lincoln’s 417 yards rushing and 502 total yards which bettered the big class (11AA) championship game marks of 361 rushing and 469 yards in offense by Sioux Falls O’Gorman in 2005.

Lincoln head coach Aaron Beavers won his 70th career game at the school as he stands 70-48 with a 111-to-56 overall mark. Lincoln, the second straight big class school (SF Washington, 2012, 12-0) to go unbeaten, rolled to a 117-to-31 edge in the playoffs and totaled 457 points in 11 games or 41.54 per game. After trailing 10-0 just a few minutes into the game, Lincoln outscored the Rough Riders, 47-14, the rest of the way.  The title was Lincoln’s 2nd ever, joining the 2008 crown while the unbeaten season was the first in school history.  Quintanilla’s 244 yards was a career-high, bettering his total of 243 vs. Roosevelt in the earlier Lincoln victory (35-28) in the President’s Bowl. Lincoln’s Adam Belhaj added four carries for 75 yards. Junior Isaiah Roach, who stepped in for an injured Connor Burchill, as a starting QB for Lincoln completed 7-of-13 passes for 86 yards and a TD, although his first pass was turned into a pick-six by Austin Atwood and a 7-0 Roosevelt lead. After a short punt and a Chase Vinatieri field goal, Quintanilla went to work, scoring on an 80-yard TD run. After Roosevelt QB Taryn Christion lost a fumble, Roach hit Dylan Bartow on a 23-yard TD strike and a 14-10 lead. Then Roosevelt’s Christion, who completed 21-of-37 passes for 322 yard and 2 TDs, went to work. He connected with David Mulbah on an 11-yard TD throw and a 17-14 lead. Mulbah, who finished with 10 catches for 169 yards and a TD, had over 150 yards for the 2nd time in three games (233 vs. SF Washington, 1st Rd. playoff game). Trailing 24-20 at halftime, Quintanilla scored three second half TD runs (4, 1, and 6) to propel Lincoln to the title. In the second half, the Pats outscored Roosevelt, 27-0.

Record Notes: With four TDs in the title game, Lincoln’s Caden Quintanilla pushed his career total to 29 for the season, tying three others (Gannon Moore, SF Lincoln, 2008; Mitch Breen, Wagner, 2009; and Mike Galligher, West Central, 2007) for second all-time. Quintanilla’s 244 yards vs. Roosevelt ranks in the top 45 performances all-time. In addition, he finished with 257 carries (T-8th, Zach Joslyn, Canton, 2006) for 1,893 yards (9th all-time, season) in 2013. In terms of his career, Quintanilla finished in the top seven in all three running categories, including seventh with 517 carries, sixth with 3,728 yards and second with and 57 TDs. As for Christion, he finished with 165 carries for 926 yards and 19 TDs while completing 165-of-274 passes for an 11-man best 2,553 passing yards with 24 TDs and just nine picks. In terms of season rankings all-time in 11-man, Christion’s attempts and yards rank 11th while his completions are 9th and TDs, 16th. In his career, the junior has completed 255 passes (10th all-time) in 446 attempts (13th all-time) for 4,119 yards (12th all-time) and 36 TDs (18th all-time) with 305 carries for 1,573 rushing yards and 30 TDs. With this being the first-ever 11AAA game, all statistics established in this game are new championship records. However, several of the performances rank among the best for a game in 11-man. They include SF Roosevelt’s 37 passes (top 40). Mulbah’s 10 receptions rank in the top 25 all-time for a game. Christion’s 21 completions rank in the top 40 all-time while his 37 pass attempts sits in the top 50. His 322 passing yards sits in the top 50 performances all-time. Despite playing just 11 games, Lincoln’s 457 points this season sits 15th all-time in 11-man scoring while Roosevelt had the 23rd best total with 409 points.





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