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    Athletics are important!  The lessons that our student-athletes learn from teamwork, discipline, and hard work are shaping them to be leaders in the future.  First, sports programs benefit the school by increasing school spirit, school pride, and academic achievement (Taliaferro, 2010).  In regards to school performance, a study in Kansas showed that athletes average a full point better on the ACT and 25% more athletes were on the honor roll compared to the non-athletes (Heil, 2014).  In the community, there is a relationship between athletes and lower crime rates, teen pregnancy, and higher volunteer rates (Taliaferro, 2010).  Business owners claim that athletes make better employees than non-athletes and also display desired employee qualities such as leadership, self-confidence, and self-respect (Kniffin, Wansink, & Shimizu, 2013).  Even more stunning is that 95% of Fortune 500 CEO’s played college athletics (Da Costa, 2016).

    Whether we like it or not, budget cuts are happening.  Therefore, if schools are generating less money, then unfortunately, it is what it is! Schools cannot spend money they don’t have. One trendy budget item people want to cut are sports programs.  While I agree, every line item needs to be scrutinized; simply cutting athletics will not solve budget woes.  Few people realize how little of the total budget athletic programs encompass.  In South Dakota’s largest school district, the Sioux Falls public schools spend about 2% of their budget on athletics (SFSD, 2016).  Rapid City School District spends nearly 2.7% of their general fund budget on athletics (Budlong, 2011).  Hill City School District spends under 4% of the total general fund budget on athletics.  A traditional sports powerhouse located in central South Dakota, Winner spends 5.83% of its $5.7 million general fund on athletics. 

    The case for athletics is powerful!  Last April my late father-in-law Cory Ginsbach was inducted into the South Dakota Interscholastic Athletic Administrators hall of fame. (TO READ MORE ABOUT CORY AND WHAT A GREAT GUY HE WAS CLICK HERE).  As these legendary athletic directors received their hall of fame award; they fought back tears, the shaky voice, and the quivering lips.  One gentleman said that without athletics he would have been dead or in jail.  One person spoke about the positive impact that a coach, who took him under his wing had on his life.  One athletic director reflected on his recent high school reunion, he said, “We didn’t sit around and talk about English lessons; instead we spent the weekend reminiscing about our high school games!”  In conclusion, sports are not about the X’s and O’s, they are about the Jimmy’s and Joe’s.  I believe we are investing in future leaders and our athletes are getting life lessons from athletics.  This Friday night, you might just be watching the next John Thune, Elon Musk, or Tom Brady.

    HILL CITY (2-0) @ WALL (3-0)

    Hill City still has a lot to prove, but the Rangers are getting better each week.  The solid nucleus of Arnold, Krull, Homan, Hanson, and Edwards has proven to be a dynamic one.  The Rangers defeated Edgemont last week, have outscored opponents 75-20, and Noah Krull was the KEVN athlete of the week.  Meanwhile, Coach Heathershaw’s squad from Wall has been airing it out.  “Fly Eagle Fly” took on a new meaning last week against RC Christian as Wall threw for 200 yards and 3 touchdowns (Cash Wilson caught 2 of the 3 scores).  Cooper McCanaghy got Wall going defensively with a pick 6.  Last season, both teams entered with the same record and Wall 50 pointed the Rangers.  Hill City hopes to keep the game close and make it competitive for 4 quarters. 


    The Philip Scotties lost a tough one in overtime last week 18-20 to New Underwood.  The honorable John Krogrstrand of the SDHSAA did a wonderful job creating competitive games for Philip this season (Won by 4, lost by 9, and lost in OT).  Last week, Philip was led on offense by McCoy Peterson with 149 yards rushing!  Peterson will have his work cut out as he faces a tough Rapid City Christian defensive line.  Sawyer Corr, Tanner Fite, and Nicholas Herman have been run stoppers for the Comets.  Coach McLaughlin’s game plan will include improving on defense and scoring some points.  Philip is a good squad and will be ready to roll when they play at Hart Ranch on Friday.

    KADOKA (1-2) @ NEW UNDERWOOD (2-1)

    New Underwood defeated Philip last week in overtime.  “Do it all” Dusty Merchant led the Tigers with 73 yards rushing and 144 yards receiving.  Coach Carmichael’s defense was led by Connor Heinert, who had 16 tackles and 2 fumble recoveries.  Kadoka Area has played a tough schedule and will have a bye next week.


    Timber Lake will host their 4th straight home game to start the season as the Ranchers come to town.  Timber Lake is extremely athletic!  The Panthers will feature SDSU recruit Tucker Kraft at running back.  Timber Lake will have speed on the edges as well with Jackson Harrison and Isaac Kraft.  Coach Wammen’s Ranchers will have some additional adversity as they will be without 3 starters, including one of my favorite players, Sam Adams.  Look for Reese Jenson and Zac Anders to step up even more!

    STM (1-1) @ WEST CENTRAL (0-2)

    11A is a TOUGH class of football.  The blue Cavs travel to Uttech stadium where they hope to silence the touchdown cannon.  I drove by the stadium last week and it is still oozing with glory from their 12 state titles!  While golfing in Hartford, I found out the locals still believe Coach Mueller can get the Trojans deep in the playoffs.  STM should not panic just yet either.  STM lost to a tough Tea team last week that is loaded at every position.  Don’t be fooled by West Central’s 0-2 record, though, as they lost in overtime to Tea and then to Winner.  Coach Sullivan thinks his squad is improving and must do a better job of tackling and blocking up front.  The Cavs want to grind it out in this one by taking care of the ball and moving the chains.


    After a season opening win against Sturgis, the Broncs took a step back last week against Madison.  The Broncs were without big Thybo, but now Coach Slotten will get his squad ready to host the Quarriers from Dell Rapids.  Dell Rapids lost their season opener to #1 ranked Dakota Valley and then won a thriller 29-28 over Vermillion.  The Broncs must stop the run as Dell Rapids loves to run “student body left” and then “student body right”.  Belle Fourche will look to establish their passing game and then make some splash plays on special teams.  Side note, the 1992 state champion volleyball team from Belle Fourche will be inducted into their hall of fame.

    CUSTER (3-0) @ STANLEY COUNTY (1-2)

    Stop me if you have heard this one already, “Elmore, Grace, and Sedlacek combine for long explosive scores for the WildCats.”  The trio combined for multiple scores in the 41-12 victory over Little Wound. Custer will face a big, strong, and athletic Stanley County team this week in Fort Pierre.  The Buffs losses have both come at the hands of ranked opponents, so this game will be a test for Custer.  I expect Ole Williamson field in Fort Pierre to be filled with purple and gold.

    DOUGLAS, WY (1-0) @ HOT SPRINGS (2-0)

    Hot Springs rolled to a 44-0 victory last week against Bennett County.  The Bison are averaging over 500 yards per game on offense while only allowing 2 scores in the first 2 weeks.  Douglas, Wyoming will be a well-coached and very disciplined team.  The Bearcats are 1-0 after defeating Buffalo, Wyoming last week 7-0.  Coach Kramer feels the Bison will need to control the line of scrimmage and get to the 2nd level with their blocks in order to spring some big plays.


    Lead-Deadwood sits in a 3 way tie for 2nd place in region 4.  Coach Tieszen’s crew beat Pine Ridge 45-14 last week and the Diggers were led by Stulken and Hon who both scored defensive touchdowns.  The running back trio of Dylan Janke (11 carries-58 yards – 2 touchdowns), Jordy Stulken (10 carries – 59 yards – 1 touchdown), and Max Johnson (8 carries – 58 yards- 2 touchdowns) led the way.  Little Wound has some long athletic players, but Lead will get some athletes back from the injured reservce.


    The Scoopers picked up a dominating win over Douglas last week.  Coach Koletzsky’s squad would love to make it 2 in a row.  Scooper running back Gavin West is averaging almost 15 yards per carry this season.  The Cobblers will certainly key on West and try to pick up a victory at O’Hare stadium on Friday night.  Central has faced a couple tough opponents in Sioux Falls Lincoln and Watertown.


    Douglas (0-2) vs Pierre (1-1)

    Spearfish (0-2) @ Brookings (1-1)

    Bennett County (1-2) @ Pine Ridge (0-2)

    Faith (0-3) @ Newell (0-3)

    Watertown (2-0) @ RC Stevens (1-1)


    Budlong, J. (2011). Budget crunch could impact Rapid City sports. Retrieved October 13, 2016, from


    Da Costa, D. (2016). 95% of Fortune 500 CEO’s Played College Sports.  Retrieved September 5, 2018,



    Heil, J. (2014). A Comparison in the Academic Achievement of High School Athletes vs Non Athletes in Kansas (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). Northwest Missouri State.

    Sandbulte, E. (2018, February 28). District Aims to Educate on Opt Out. Brookings Register. Retrieved March 2, 2018.

    Taliaferro, L. A. (2010). Relationships Between Youth Sport Participation and Selected Health Risk Behaviors From 1999 to 2007. Journal of School Health, 399-410

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