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    Forum Pollsters Class A Poll: 3-1-19

    Pollsters are extra pithy this week.  Contributing pith and insight this week are rufus, Artis Gilmore, Jackalope and yours truly.  

    1. Tea Area (40 pts)
    2. Sioux Falls Christian (36 pts)
    3. St. Thomas More (32 pts)
    4. Pine Ridge (22 pts)
    5. Cheyenne-Eagle Butte (20 pts)
    6. Tiospa Zina (19 pts)
    7. Lennox (16 pts)
    8. Hot Springs (13 pts)
    9. Dakota Valley (10 pts)
    10. TIE Parker, Madison (4 pts) 

    Honorable Mention: Todd County, Vermillion, Little Wound, West Central, Tri Valley, RC Christian, Winner, Red Cloud, Dell Rapids 

    General pithy comments from the pollsters: 
    It is no wonder Region 5 was so lackluster at the Class A level.   That region is replete with Class A wannabe teams that really have Class B enrollment numbers. 

    The biggest tear jerker of the season is the drop from top 5 status by Red Cloud after losing superstar Ale Rama with a season ending injury. 

    The defending champs are still defending but simply have no defense. 

    At least half the regions have less than one percent chance of winning the state championship.   

    Even with the Sweet 16 format enabling two teams from each region to move forward, there are still stacked regions like 4 and 7 and unstacked regions like 5 and 6, resulting in less than worthy teams advancing and worthy teams being eliminated in the region. 

    After The Big Four (Tea, SFC, STM, Pine Ridge) the rest of the top 10 can be racked and stacked in countless ways because these other teams are so hard to rate. 

    Seed points are set, and all the experts are scratching their heads to which of the high seeds will break rank and fall to one of the teams in the lower 8. 

    After looking at the numbers, and barring any major regional upsets, Tea, SFC, and STM should be in the "safe" zone, as there appears to be no bottom feeders with enough stones to knock them off.  But watch out for the likes of lower half teams such as CEB, Lennox, Roncalli, SV, Madison, or even Dell Rapids to pull off two or three upsets over the 4-8 teams of Pine Ridge, Parker, TZ, Hot Springs and Red Cloud, who are all skating on thin ice right now and should be considered in the "danger" category.  

    Lennox better not savor the “almost win” against Tea too long or the Orioles run the risk of not making the trip to Sioux Falls. 

    In the Region 4 playoffs one of these will become extinct this season: Panthers or Orioles. 

    The Orioles can almost taste the rematch they want against Tea but do the Orioles have enough lift to get off the ground and fly to Sioux Falls? 

    Orioles fly a little too high after near upset against Tea and crash into the fairway at Dakota Valley.

    I am finally drinking the Hot Springs kool-aid and it actually has a sweet taste. 

    The Bison got the upper hand on the Comets but a potential rematch looms in the Region 8 playoffs.   

    A herd of Bison caused a Comet to crash to earth in a remote area south of Rapid City and centered on an area known as: Hart Ranch. 

    The South Dakota Highway Patrol reported that a Comet was totaled near Reptile Gardens in a crash with a herd of Bison that allegedly escaped from Custer State Park ... or Hot Springs ... the SDHP is still investigating.   The Custer State Park herd of Bison is problematic since no hoofed animal is dumb enough to cross that invention that looks like a series of pipes laid across the road.   

    These Bison are showing some fight, maybe this bunch knows more than just football....

    Dakota Valley completed their regular season on a high note when they beat Region foe Lennox. 

    The Panthers and the Orioles are on a crash course rematch in region play to determine which of these very talented teams advances to the final 8 ... AKA the state tournament. 

    The Dunes boys swat some Orioles out of the trees with their putters and 5 irons. 

    Tiospa Zina ended the regular season in a bit of a slide but I am still “kinda big” on them .... all they really lack is “a big” ... but oh those guards are so good. 

    The Wambdi lost a little elevation in their last couple flights but should be fine in Region 1 playoff. 

    A White led Wambdi leads a team with a German, a Fun Maker, a pair of Shepherds, an Abbey, and a HolyBear ... now that is diversity.   

    Wambdi finish with a spectacular 17-3 record, but not looking quite as dominant as they did early in the season. 

    Despite a balanced scoring attack led by Tyler Tappe and "Downtown" Cody Brown, Bulldogs come up just short against SFC. 

    Green Cavs have held tough. SoDak16 material me thinks. 

    The Bulldogs had some growl but not enough bite against the state’s number 2 team: Sioux Falls Christian. 

    Two muscle cars were center stage as Badlands Motor Speedway ... most of us remember as Huset’s Speedway ... was re-opened at the request of the SDHSAA to feature the Mustangs racing the Chargers.   No contest as the Chargers ripped through another weak challenge. 

    Mr. Goodbar and the Schipper successfully guide the SS Charger through another 3 hour tour, but not in the south Pacific, instead to the north against against Madison and Tri-Valley.

    Thorpes take a much deserved week off after finishing #1 in Region 7, will they rest too long and be ripe for an upset from a lower seeded east river team?

    Tommie More manned up and ended their season on the road with an overtime loss to number two AA Yankton and then lost the next night to Brandon Valley.   

    The old Blue Cavalier once again made the cross state journey to the southeast corner of the state and all the miles finally caught up to the Cavaliers as they dropped two games to Class AA teams. 

    STM displayed the biggest pair since Tea tore through the best competition the state has to offer.  Tommie More’s pair are as big as the basketballs they played with but alas, no regular season ending wins for More.

    No team put on more miles than STM this year, playing games in Nebraska, Mitchell (twice), Sioux Falls, Yankton, and Brandon.  

    Coach Hollenbeck can never be accused of hiding from challenging competition.   

    Maybe one of the only teams ever who can lose two in a row but still rise in the polls.  But after all it was to two AA schools on the road, about a 500 mile road.

    Blue Empire finishes only 5-2 against AA schools this year.  But come to think of it, there are several AA teams who didn't finish 5-15 against AA schools....

    More once again looks to the AA for some high stakes action, but ends up tapping out in both Yankton and Brandon Valley.  But the stakes were high, and if there is one thing these high-rollers-in-training learned this summer, it is that you keep on your poker face even when you don't get a turn of a friendly card.

    Comets flame out against Hot Springs. Now all Rapid residents not sleeping on blue sheets must face reality, that they must wait at least another year to witness any fall of the Blue Empire.

    Cossacks edge out Madison in seed points to win Region 2 #1 seed, but some Bulldog authorities claim they played a much stronger schedule. Maybe there will be a chance to prove it on the court.

    Tea left no doubt they are the undisputed best team in the state after running through one of the strongest strength of schedules any of us has seen in years .... quite possibly never witnessed in state history. 

    As we begin post season the question of the day is: can anybody beat Tea? 

    The prediction by most is that Coach Fechner will retire at season’s conclusion with another state title and the largest trophy in hand. 

    Only one school will be able to boast about playing in three straight state championship games: the Tea Titans.

    Titans will remain #1 after finishing the season in a dominant style with 14 straight wins.  It really does now look like all the other teams in class A will be playing for second place.

    Good thing coach Fechner spent the extra bucks on all-season mud and snow grips this year on the Nissan Titan. Mud hasn't been a problem, but there has been plenty of snow and way more than normal dog crap in the parking lots this year left by Bulldogs, Huskies, and other Watchdogs.

    Mustangs continue to run free, at least for the time being 

    Can the Miners respond to the threat of the Blue Dragons?

    Just when I'm getting ready to rank Winner, they are not a winner at Crow Creek.

    Ale-less ‘Saders sputtering to the finish.

    Parker has lost only once to a Class A team and that was more than two months ago vs Sioux Valley. 

    The Pheasants are gaining altitude and should have little trouble making the flight to Sioux Falls. 

    The Pheasants downed two different Fliers/Flyers and tried on the Trojans and liked the fit and comfort in their last three games ... all wins. 

    The Braves closed the regular season on a big seven game winning streak and beat their chief region competition: Mobridge Pollock, twice in the last week. 

    Cheyenne Eagle Butte is not a lock for Sioux Falls but they are close ... the Braves will have to beat either Miller or Stanley County. 

    Cecilio Montgomery and teammates will make sure that happens. 

    Seven straight to close the season for the Braves.


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