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    WEEK 2 & LABOR DAY

    Technically summer is not over until the fall equinox (September 22nd).  The start of school has been another line of demarcation in recent years defining the end summer and the beginning of fall.  Yet, to many in South Dakota, Labor Day weekend is viewed as the end of summer and the start of fall.  It is also my favorite time of year.  Hoodies, blue jeans, college/pro football, leaves begin to change colors, and the Friday night lights start to mean a little bit more.  Each community has its own celebrations, but when I was a kid Labor Day was a big one.  My community had a parade, a carnival, a demolition derby, and other events to usher in the new season.  Its an exciting time of year and there are some really good games on this week’s schedule.  I hope everyone has a relaxing Labor Day weekend and you get the chance to watch some really good high school football games!

    RECAPPING LAST WEEK:

    ~Custer 36- New Castle, WY 6

    ~Bison 35- Newell 22

    ~Edgemont 28 – Crawford, NE 58

    ~Harding County 46- Lemmon/McIntosh 34

    ~Wall 42 – Lyman 20

    ~New Underwood 28 – RC Christian 6

    ~Philip 13 – Jones Co/White River 22

    ~Pine Ridge 26- Red Cloud 46

    ~SF Roosevelt 48 – RC Stevens 19

    ~Hot Springs 24- Tri Valley 14

    ~Upton/Sundance 42- Lead 0

    ~Winner 50 – Stanley Co 7

    ~Belle Fourche 18 – Sturgis 15

    ~SF Lincoln 31 – RC Central 7

    ~STM 48 – Spearfish 0

     

    GAMES TO WATCH FOR WEEK 2

     

    HILL CITY (1-0) @ EDGEMONT (0-2)

    The intrigue for this game is that Edgemont is coming off a 6-man contest against Crawford, Nebraska last week.  It was the first 6-man game played by a South Dakota team in over 60 years and the only one that will be played this season.  Next year, the SDHSAA will allow 6-man football, but last Friday was a sneak peek for the Moguls.  On the other side of the field, the Hill City Rangers look like they are ready to take another big step under 1st year head coach (and Hill City Alum) Brett Eckert.  Coach Eckert’s squad jumped out to a 28-0 first quarter lead in Week 0 (which is actually week 1) against Newell as the Rangers cruised to a 35-6 win.  Coach Eckert credits the offensive line as the Rangers ran the ball at will.  This week the Rangers will need to contain the shifty Caleb Simons for Edgemont as well as establish their running game.  The game will be played on Edgemont’s newly remodeled field but I think the Rangers roll in this one.

     

    WALL (2-0) @ RC CHRISTIAN (0-1)

    The game between Wall and RC Christian is a matchup of the two nicest 9 man stadiums in the area.  This game is at Hart Ranch but the Eagles are in mid-season form as they had a huge win over Lyman last week (42-20).  Wall was led by Jacob Bielmaier who scored 4 touchdowns and senior Brandan McDonell is in beast mode on both sides of the ball.  For RC Christian, the center of the Comet universe is Zane Schlabach.  Coach McLaughlin’s squad improved as the game went on against the Tigers.  It will take that type of improvement and ball control for the Comets to upset the Eagles.  For the Eagles, Coach Heathershaw’s squad will need to stop Schlabach and prevent anyone else from getting going. 

     

    NEW UNDERWOOD (1-1) @ PHILIP (1-1)

    Region 4 in 9A is up for grabs and this game will certainly have implications towards who wins the region.  The Tigers are coming off a 26-6 victory over RC Christian, while the Scotties are coming off a loss to Jones County/White River.  New Underwood will travel to the land of Dave Burnett let by wide receiver Dusty Merchen, who had 112 yards receiving last week!!!  The Tigers also had strong performances by Colton Knuppe at QB, Flint at RB, and Ludovissie, Madsen, and Perry on defense.  For the Scotties, Coach Thorn’s squad returns a lot from last season.

     

    BISON (2-0) @ HARDING COUNTY (2-0)  

    The gold standard of the West in 9B has been Coach Wammen’s Harding County Ranchers.  The Ranchers are off to a fast start again this season.  The Rancher offensive line was rock solid last week as Harding County beat Lemmon/McIntosh in a shootout.  Quarterback Camden Hett threw for 276 years and Zack Anders had 12 receptions for 192 yards!!!!! Bison, led by seniors Jaren Beckman and Shane Collins would love to put the Ranchers on upset alert.  Ab Penn field is one of the toughest places to play and the locals tell me it has been nearly 20 years since the Cardinals beat the Ranchers.  Could this be the year?

     

    BELLE FOURCHE (1-0) @ MADISON (1-0)

    The Broncs sit atop the 11A Rankings (listed alphabetically, but a win is a win) after defeating the Sturgis Scoopers 18-15 last week.  The Broncs are led by the three headed rushing monster of Olson, Garrett, and Garza.  Jesse Thybo “balled out” on the offensive line for the Broncs and Hunter Mitchell is making a name for himself on the Broncs D-Line.  As for the defending state champion Madison Bulldogs, they are coming off a double overtime victory against Milbank.  The Broncs have an opportunity to make a name for themselves with a strong showing at Trojan field in Madison.

     

    DOUGLAS (0-1) @ STURGIS (0-1)

    The Scoopers are coming off a tough loss to the Broncs and the Patriots lost at Huron.  A bright spot for the Scoopers was quarterback Gavin West who rushed for 98 yards and threw for 78 years and a touchdown.  The Patriots have some youth, but Coach Majic’s teams are always well coached.  I predict this will be a low scoring, grind it out, slug fest!  Whichever team controls the line of scrimmage will have the best chance to come out on top. 

     

    RC STEVENS (0-1) @ SPEARFISH (0-1)

    The Raiders made the long trip across the state to Howard Wood field last week and were defeated by the Rough Riders.  Spearfish traveled to Rapid City to play STM.  Both teams are eager for a win to jump start the season. 

     

    BENNETT COUNTY (1-1) @ HOT SPRINGS (1-0)

    The Bison picked up a big win over Tri-Valley last week 24-14.  As I reported last week, Hot Springs is REALLY GOOD this season, but heading out East against a really good opponent you never know what to expect.  The Bison did not disappoint as Coach Kramer can’t remember a game that his squad played, “As fast and as physical” as they did against Tri-Valley. (Rumor has it, Coach Kramer is asking Coach Norton to renew his vows again every week as a lucky superstition).  The Bennett County Warriors will air it out on Friday night with some really good skill players.  1st year coach and brand new dad, Tucker Risse will need to keep the Bison from forcing pressure and turnovers to have a chance in this game.

     

    TEA (1-0) @ STM (1-0)

    Circle this game on your calendar, as it is my GAME OF THE WEEK!!!! This game will be a measuring stick for the young Cavs who have 8 new starters on the offensive side of the ball alone.  Tea was preseason ranked #2 and is certainly one of the best teams in 11A.  Tea opened the season with a 30-24 victory over West Central.  The Titans are led by running back Carter Slykhuis, who rushed for over 1,000 yards and 11 touchdowns last season.  STM is not without stars of their own, especially 6’6 junior Ryder Kirsch.  Ryder has all of the intangibles and managed the Cavs offense last week.  Riley Olson had a great game running the ball and Jay Neugebauer led the defensive unit.  STM will have their work cut out for them this week, but they have home field advantage and Coach Sullivan ALWAYS has his team prepared!

     

    CUSTER (2-0) @ LITTLE WOUND (0-1)

    The Wildcats defeated Newcastle, Wyoming last week; while the Mustangs lost to Bennett County.  Coach Bailey’s young ‘Cats only have 1 senior, Jaret Woodward.  Woodward is showing his leadership by recording 6 tackles and almost single handedly made Newcastle go 3 and out on 2 possessions last week.  Custer showed they can be an explosive offense as Miciah Grace scored 3 touchdowns (65 yards, 33 yards, and 5 yards), while Daniel Sedlacek scored on an 85 yards touchdown scamper.  Little Wound is long and athletic at the skill positions.  The Mustangs will look to go vertical and throw a lot of 50/50 jump balls for their talented wide receivers.

     

    LEAD-DEADWOOD (1-1) @ PINE RIDGE (0-1)

    The Gold diggers lost to Upton/Sundance last week but Coach Tieszen believes the team is headed in the right direction.  Janke and Mau led the defense and will need another big performance this week.  The Thorpes like to pound the ball and then take a few shots down the field using play action.  Quarterback William Duprey is athletic and has a strong arm.  Pine Ridge lost last week to Red Cloud.

     

    WEST CENTRAL (0-1) @ WINNER (1-1)

    This is game of legacies! The Warriors and Trojans share 19 state titles between the two of them (Winner: 2016, 2015, 2012, 2009, 1989, 1987, 1981 and West Central: 2013, 2007, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1998, 1997, 1996, and 1993).  The 1993 title game between Winner and West Central went into triple overtime.  Both teams have been battle tested this season.  The Warriors played defending 11B state champ and #1 ranked Sioux Falls Christian, while the Trojans played #2 ranked Tea.  Both teams have legendary head coaches in Dan Aaker and Kent Mueller.  Three year starter Broc Halderman will the lead the Trojans on offense and Winner will rely on defense and a balanced attack.  It should be a great game from Warrior Stadium in Winner.  You can guarantee that “THE HILL” will be rocking!

     

    RED CLOUD (1-1) @ CHEYENNE EAGLE BUTTE (1-0)

    Cheyenne Eagle Butte defeated St. Francis last week 24-0 and controlled the entire game.  Meanwhile, Red Cloud beat Pine Ridge by 20.  Both teams are playing with a lot of confidence and can score points.  I still don’t know a ton about either of these teams, but my sources say this could be a high scoring game this week.

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