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Gridiron Blitz

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Dan Genzler, KSFY Pigskin Preview Blogger Dan Genzler, KSFY Pigskin Preview Blogger

Ready to get this gridiron fun started?

I know I am. Every fall seems like a renewal of passion for prep football and other sports. With kickoff about one week away, coaches and players are starting to scrimmage and test each other. The big exam begins when varsity plays begins on August 30.

As usual, the Gridiron Blitz will follow the prep football scene, providing a weekly inside look. The blog will be released on Tuesday with updates, games synopses, history and facts and a whole lot more. In addition, we will put out the "Focus on Five" blog on Wednesday night, profiling top games in the area. In this "preseason preview" blog, I lay out my first power poll along with the KSFY-KWSN Broadcasters Poll, which was the first rankings released this year. The blog includes projections on title games and preseason players of the year, plus more.

SDHSAA Adds 7th Class

Earlier this year, the South Dakota High School Activities Board voted to add a seventh class, creating the 11AAA for the largest eight schools, based on enrollment with options. That means that schools like O'Gorman (560.5 ADM) had the option to opt into the top class, a route they selected as did Brandon Valley (715 ADM). As a result Watertown (877 ADM) dropped into 11AA with 11 other schools.

With the board's policy action, realignment impacted several other schools with Spearfish and Harrisburg moving from 11A to 11AA. The class structure also includes 11A and 11B along with three 9-man classes (AA, A, B). While 9-man football was not impacted by the restructuring decision, change also came by the way of movement within the class due to enrollment adjustments. In 9A, Canistota moved to 9B, along with 9A playoff participant Hamlin. Several former 11-B schools, namely Garretson, Deuel, Hill City and Platte-Geddes/Dakota Christian have moved to 9AA. Howard, the 9AA runner-up in 2012, and Colome, the 9B runner-up, both moved to 9A along with 9AA playoff team Potter County. In terms of largesse, 9B is the largest class with 35 teams and 11AAA the smallest with eight.

The move to seven classes creates the biggest storyline heading into the season, even as three-time champions Canistota, riding a 36-game winning streak, and Dell Rapids, 34-2 over the past three years, chase a fourth straight title. Without a down being played, talk about the seven-class system has received criticism, at least in various media circles. And, I believe justifiably so.

The classification decision was made as the board cited competitive imbalance with several Sioux Falls and Rapid City schools owning a decided enrollment advantage over other schools, except for Rapid City Central and Stevens, in the old 11AA (16 total schools). Just so you know, SF Washington is no longer the state's largest school. They are fourth. SF Roosevelt with an average daily membership (enrollment) of 1,579.8 ranks first following by Rapid City Central at 1,515.1, Sioux Falls Lincoln at 1,502.8 and Sioux Falls Washington at 1,493.887. It appears that the rationale for the 7-class move surrounded this enrollment disadvantage with ESD schools, now 11AA entrants, Yankton (683), Pierre (610), Watertown (877), Mitchell (578.8), Huron (535.4) and others. With Sioux Falls schools winning the last nine 11AA championships, including the last seven by SF public schools (Lincoln, Washington and Roosevelt), the competitive balance seems to have some merit. Yet, Rapid City Central and Rapid City Stevens (over 1,200 students) haven't made an annual trek to the Dome. So...

I don't buy that winning championships is strictly a numbers game. Coaching staffs, student-athlete work ethic, off season training, youth football, and an unbridled love for the game all play a role in winning and losing.  While I don't believe the addition of a seventh class is the right move, it is what will define South Dakota prep football for two years.

Some suggest, count me in that group, that a move back to six classes, perhaps by creating a two-class structure in 9-man and retaining four 11-man classes, will be the next move and will happen after a two-year policy period draws to a close at the end of the 2014 season. I don't believe 11AAA is going anywhere. The 11-man system will see realignment of schools within the three other 11-man classes while maintaining the eight-school 11AAA.

My view is that South Dakota had too many classes in the former six-class system. And, seven? Well, that clearly is going a bit overboard. Personally, my view is that South Dakota would be fine with five classes. Privately, as I visited with coaches and prep football observers, I found that many of them do not favor a seven class structure and are unsure why the move to a seventh class was necessary. I concur.

But to be fair, we need to let this new class structure play out. Let's see what happens.

Canistota Chasing Freeman's All-time Consecutive Wins Mark of 46

Canistota has reeled off 36-straight victories, winning back-back-to-back titles in two different classes. They were 12-0 in 2010 in claiming the 9B title and 12-0 in each of the last two years in rolling to 9A crowns. As they open the 2013 campaign, Canistota will again face a difficult schedule as they seek 10 more wins to tie Freeman's all-time nine-man mark and 11 puts them over the top. Regardless, if they reach the record or fall short, the Hawks will rank as one of South Dakota's most dominant programs, regardless of class.

Take a look at the numbers. Canistota's point differential, both in-season and in the playoffs, spell out the power of this squad. In the playoffs, they have a fashioned a three-year combined 658-to-28 points advantage, including 212-to-14 in the 2012 season. This squad has rolled to 66-0, 66-6 and 52-8 in 9-man championship games at the DakotaDome. In three seasons, the Hawks have compiled 250 TDs (88, 77, 85) with 1,843 points (627, 2010; 620, 2011; 596, 2012) while allowing just 202 (38, 2010; 61, 2011; 103, 2012) for a 51.19-to-5.6 points per game margin Canistota has accumulated 13,617 yards (7.8 miles) in total offense on 1,328 plays or 10.25 yards per play. Of that total, the Hawks have 10,328 rushing yards, including a season-high of 3,644 in 2010. Overall, Canistota recorded 1,161 rushes or an average of 8.90 yards per carry. Hawks' quarterbacks have completed 157-of-268 passes for 3,289 yards, which breaks out to 12.27 yards per pass and 20.94 yards per completion. On defense, this squad has recorded 55 sacks, including 30 this past season when Jason Van Winkle had 14. They also forced 89 turnovers, including 45 interceptions and 44 fumble recoveries. In 2012, they had 27 turnovers with 29 in 2011 and 33 in 2010. Canistota has recorded 19 shutouts, including eight in 2011, seven in 2010 and four this past season.

Dell Rapids, Canistota Seek 4th Straight Title and Marks of West Central and Freeman

As the 2013 season opens in 10 days, it is noteworthy to mention that two schools, Canistota, now back in 9B, and Dell Rapids in 11A have won three straight titles. In the history of playoff football in South Dakota, only two teams have won four or more consecutive championships. In 9-man football, the Freeman program, directed by Jim Aisenbrey, won four straight championships from 1996-99 in 9B and 9A. In that great run, Freeman set an all-time wins mark at 46. West Central, led by Jim Utuecht, claimed six straight titles from 2000-05, which is the most in any class. It is worth noting that the Trojans have captured the most championships (11) in the playoff era, regardless of class. In fact, just eight schools have won three straight titles, including West Central twice.

3 Straight titles or more

11-man

6 - West Central, 11A, 2000-05, 238-to-41 ppg diff.

3 - Dell Rapids, 11A, 2010-12, 137-to-20 ppg diff.

3 - West Central, 11A, 1996-98, 127-to-14 ppg diff.

3 - Vermillion, 11A, 1990-92, 114-to-55 ppg diff.

3 – Hamlin, 11B, 1989-91, 93-to-47 ppg diff. (appeared in four straight title games, lost 1992 title game to Platte, 14-8)

9-man

4 – Freeman, 9B, 9A, 1996-99, 146-to-72 ppg diff.

3 – Canistota, 9B-9A, 2010-2012, 184-to-14 ppg diff.

3 – Hanson, 9B, 9A, 2008-10, 104-to-56 ppg diff.

3 - Tripp, 9B, 1983-85, 70-to-32 ppg diff.

Winning Streaks – Canistota, 9B, 36 straight games, 2nd all-time in 9-man; Deubrook, 9AA, 12; Winner, 11B, 12; SF Washington, 11AAA, 12.

Coaching changes11-man – SF Washington, Chad Stadem; Spearfish, Chad McCarty; Pierre Riggs, Jayson Poppinga; Rapid City Stevens, Scott Hagen; Sturgis, Bill Godsil; Chamberlain, Jerry Rhodes; Dakota Valley, Jeff VanDenHul; Flandreau, Travis Ahrens; Lennox, Matthew Luze; Vermillion, Andrew Homan. 9-man – Canistota, Jamie Strang; Scotland, Ryan Robb; Miller, Will Castle; Colman-Egan, Chad Williamson; Garretson, Kevin Steckler; Stanley County, Jeff Hegge;; Tripp-Delmont/Armour, Tom Sattler; Viborg-Hurley, Brett Mellem

Game to Watch Week 1

Keep your eye on the 11AAA matchup of #1 Roosevelt at #5 Brandon Valley. In 9AA, #5 Arlington will travel to #2 and defending champ Deubrook. 9A Hanson will play at 9B #1 Canistota, which will look to extend their winning streak. 9AA #1 Gregory battles 9A #1 Colome in the only matchup of two number ones in different classes looking for a quick start. Out west, 11AA Spearfish battles 11B #5 St. Thomas More and of course an ESD and 11AA battle is in place when #2 Pierre faces #5 Watertwn. On Thursday night, the annual Iowa dogfight between Central Lyon-George-Little Rock and West Lyon will be action-packed.

Did You Know?

Before the playoffs mythical champs were crowned with some 49 different schools earning the recognition from 1899-to-1980. Argus Leader reporter Jim Ashley created the mythical titles in 1905 and except for a period of 1922-26, South Dakota teams did not play for championships until the playoff system was put in place in 1981. Spearfish was the first "mythical champ" in 1899, although not give the honor until later. Sioux Falls Washington was crowned mythical champ 36 times with the first coming in 1905.

Season Preview

11 AAA

Blitz Power Poll – 1. SF Roosevelt 2. SF Lincoln 3. SF Washington 4. Brandon Valley 5. SF O'Gorman

KSFY-KWSN Broadcasters Poll – 1. Sioux Falls Roosevelt, 76 (12) 2 Sioux Falls Lincoln, 55 (2)  3. Sioux Falls Washington, 51 (2) 4. Sioux Falls O'Gorman, 29 5. Brandon Valley, 27

11AAA Championship Projection – SF Roosevelt over SF Lincoln, 34-28, 11AAA title game.

Notes – SF Washington, which is 47-3 over the past four seasons with three titles, has a run of six straight state championship games. Washington, 68-8 (18-3 in the playoffs) over last six years, has 39 total championships – 36 mythical and three playoff titles with seven total playoff championship appearances. Roosevelt, which has three playoff titles in four appearances, is 87-21 with six double-digit win campaigns since 2004. O'Gorman has won eight championships and appeared in a South Dakota-best 14 title games in the playoff era. Brandon Valley, 75-26 since 2004, has won six championships in 11AA or 11A with nine total title game appearances. The four Sioux Falls schools have won nine straight 11AA titles and now take their shot in 11AAA.

Blitz Preseason Honors – Taryn Christion, SF Roosevelt, Offensive Player of the Year. Dan Marlette, SF Washington, Defensive Player of the Year.

11AAA: Sioux Falls Roosevelt (9-3), which won the 11AA crown two years ago, appears to be the favorite in the new 11AAA. Kim Nelson's team returns one of the elite players in South Dakota in junior QB Taryn Christion (99-of-17-1,156-11 TDs, 6 int., passing; 140-647-11 TDs rushing), who will lead an explosive offense. The Rough Riders will feature senior RB Seth Bjordahl (127-664-5 TDs) in the backfield while senior TE Tanner Hennings (27-413-4 TDs) will be a primary weapon in the pass game with newcomer David Mulbah. The defense is physical and fast led by linebackers Kirby Hora (75T, sack, int., 3 FR), Trevor Janisch (79T, 1.5 sacks, FF, FR) and standout DE Kory Lundquist, (38T, 7.5 sacks, int., 3 FF, FR, def. TD return). Sioux Falls Lincoln (7-4), led by lightning quick Caden Quintanilla (162-1,080-18 total TDs, 1,509 all-purpose yards; 370-3,629 all-purpose yards in his career; 266-1,840-18 TDs career, 11G over 100 yards rushing), QB Connor Burchill and an experienced receiving corps in seniors Trevor Naasz (21-384-5 TDs) and Dylan Bartow (27-400-6 TDs) will be in the mix for a championship. Lincoln, which returns 10 starters on offense and eight on defense, has a physical front wall on both side of the ball and has speed all over the roster, including the secondary. Matt Wagner (51T, 3 sacks) and Taylor Salava (51T, 2 sacks) are stalwarts at LB. Senior Reid West (25T, 4 sacks) causes disruption on a veteran DL. Sioux Falls Washington, which has won 12 straight games, brought in Chad Stadem to lead the highly successful program. SFW lost a large class seniors, including Nebraska recruit Nate Gerry one of the all-time prep greats in South Dakota. Don't count out the Warriors, which features RB/LB Dan Marlette (career – 126T, 20 TFLs, 4 sacks, int., 75T, 13 TFLs, 2 FF, 2 sacks in 2012), who is being recruited by FCS schools and is the state's top linebacker. Another Farniok (Matt) will anchor the offensive front. Sophomore Jack Schelhaas and senior Justin Miller are in a battle for the QB spot. Luke Reiter (54-241-8 TDs) and Marlette will be a tough running back tandem, especially around the goalline. Trey Crisp-Peterson (30T, 6 TFLs, sack, FR) and AJ Beck (35T, FR, FF) will play a key role on defense. Brandon Valley suffered heavy graduation losses from an 11-1 team but still return 14 letter winners, including two starters on offense and four on defense. HC Chad Garrow will likely install Jake Comeaux at QB, replacing all-time great Chase Marso. A.J. Garrow (62 rec., 110 for his career, 7th all-time) and OL Eric Ode will lead the offense. BV's defense will be led by a talented pair of linebackers including Jacob Adams (71T, 3 int.) and Lucas Lunstra (95T, 3 int.). Sioux Falls O'Gorman returns 22 letter winners with three starters returning on offense and seven on defense. The Knights, directed by HC Steve Keuter, who has 270 career wins (active wins leader), will be led by quarterback Tanner Schulte with Eion Donelan and Jaden Holzer in the backfield. O'Gorman's defense will include NG Sam Weinensee, LBs Isaac Althoff, Spencer Hopkins and Jack Niedringhaus and DBs Schulte, Donelan and Holzer. Sophomore Luke Fritsch, son of assistant coach John Fritsch, has won a spot in the secondary and will likely see snaps on offense, perhaps at QB.

Team to Watch – Rapid City Central (4-6) has talent at the skill positions. Junior QB Donnie Pallatto (76-153-1,126-11 TDs, 5 int) will lead the offense. Senior RB Blake Stone (145-1,052 all-purpose, 126-781-5 TDs rushing; 6-62-TD receiving) and DI prospect and wide receiver Asher Pikula (38-488-6 TDs rec.; 58-1,048 all-purpose yards) will be worth watching. On defense Shane O'Connell (84T, 2.5 sacks), Jarren Jensen (59T, 2 TFLs, 1.5 sacks), and Aaron Beaird (46T, 4 TFLs, sack) will be leaders.

11AA

Blitz Power Poll – 1. Yankton 2. Pierre 3. Watertown 4. Brookings 5. Harrisburg

KSFY-KWSN Broadcasters Poll – 1. Yankton, 76 (12) 2. Pierre, 63 (4) 3. Brookings, 27 4. Harrisburg, 25 5. Watertown, 22.5

11AA Championship Projection – Yankton over Pierre, 24-14, 11AA title game.

Notes – 11AA includes 12 schools, including former 11A programs Harrisburg and Spearfish. Yankton has 15 mythical or playoff championships, including appearances in nine playoff title game with six titles. Harrisburg, 63-31 since 2004, has appeared in eight championship games in 11A or 11B with titles in 1984, 1993 and 1993, all in 11B. They played in the 11A title game in 2012 (lost to Dell Rapids, 47-0).

Blitz Preseason Honors – Shay Bratland, SF Roosevelt, Offensive Player of the Year. J.J. Hejna, Yankton, Defensive Player of the Year.

11AA: Yankton (7-4) returns 16 letter winners, along with four starters on offense and five on defense. The Bucks will go with either Mason Strahl or Brady Hale operating Yankton's double wing and spread offense. Yankton is solid at running back with junior standouts Levi Davis (107-734-5 TDs) and Jordan Lightner (96-434-7 TDs rushing; 14-120-2 TDs rec.). Outside, Yankton features one of the elite receivers in South Dakota with 6-4 senior JJ Hejna (21-357-3 TDs). The Bucks defense will be led by Hejna (76T, 5 int., FR), Davis (55T) and Lightner (31T). Pierre Riggs (7-4), which will be directed by new coach Jayson Poppinga, return 14 letter winners, including six starters on offense and five on defense. As the Governors search for their first-ever title, they return experience under center with senior QB Alex Gray (50-of-128-1,069-15 TDs, passing; 96-563-4 TDs rushing). The backfield will be led by junior Jace Jerome (108-528-5 TDs rushing). Standout senior WR Austin Christopherson (30 rec., 648 yards, 9 TDs) leads the receiving corps. Defense is led by Dylan Bennett, Shay Reinke, Gray, Nathan Blaseg and Garrett Pochup, who is also an All-State kicker (35-of-38 PATs, 3-of-6 FG). Watertown (2-8) could make a big turnaround this season with the return of 30 letter winners, including eight starters on offense and nine on defense. They will have 14 seniors back who started a year ago, including explosive senior RB Shay Bratland (153-697-7 TDs rushing; 20-256-2 TDs rec.; 1,549 all-purpose yards) and senior QB Logan Gabriel (22-136-TD; 93-of-208-979-6 TDs, 9 int.) Dynamic wide out Jess Poppen (33-312-2 TDs) and speedy Joe Foley are other key players. Like the offense the Arrows defense returns plenty of experience, led by senior linebacker Trevor Jutting (36T, int.), Nate Johnson (30T, FR), and Foley (38T). Brookings, which last won a title in 2000 and was runner-up in 2001, should make noise in 11AA, although the Bobcats suffered a key loss when junior running back Mikey Daniel (167-924-6 TDs rushing; 35-210-5 TDs rec.) transferred to IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. Junior QBs Carter Gordon or Tyler Hanson will run Brookings' spread offense. Senior Cody Shepardson and junior WR/RB Dayton Bender (24-198-2 TDs rushing; 24-267), along with WR Jon Lehman (18-129-4 TDs rec.) and Tyler Madler (12-165 rec.) will play roles. Shepardson (60T, 2 sacks, 4 PDs), junior Wyatt Resmen (57T, 2 PB), juniors RJ Helsper (36T, 2 sacks) Tyler Priest, and seniors Devon Crandall (38T, 3 PDs), Bender (38T) and Lehman (29T, int) lead the defense, which gets back Shane Bradley and NG Tyson Salzman. Harrisburg (9-3) was hit hard by graduation. Still the program led by head coach Brandon White, a former standout TE at USD, wins and should again. The Tigers return only senior lineman Derrick Kruetzfeldt on offense. Leading Harrisburg's Pro-Style Spread will be junior quarterback Shaye Slaughter. The backfield will be led by hard-nosed senior Christian Trainer, junior Drew Andela and sophomore Jonathan Kabambi. The 3-4 defense will be led by four returning starters, including linebackers Trainor and senior Adam Holmstrom.

Team to Watch – Keep your eye on Spearfish, under new leadership in head coach Chad McCarty. The Spartans will feature quarterback Drew Kaitfors at QB and Spencer Moody in backfield. Athletic Cole Richards will fill in somewhere, if not at QB. On defense, senior DE Andrew Bressler (26T, 6 sacks, 2 FR, FF) is a force upfront along with Cole Johnson (32T, sack) and Daulton Johnson (35T).

11A

Blitz Power Poll – 1. West Central 2. Dell Rapids 3. Tea Area 4. Hot Springs 5. Madison

KSFY-KWSN Broadcasters Poll – 1. Dell Rapids, 70 (9) 2. West Central, 65 (5) 3.Hot Springs, 40

4. Tea Area, 33 5. Madison, 30

11A Championship Projection – West Central over Dell Rapids, 28-24, 11A title game.

Notes – Dell Rapids has won three straight titles and 12 straight playoff games. In fact, Dell Rapids is part of the newly formed Dakota 12 Conference, which has members that have won 23-of-32 Class A championships (18-of-past-20) since beginning of the playoffs in 1981. West Central, also in the Dak 12, has won an unprecedented 11 titles and has 13 title game appearances. Dell Rapids is 49-8 and 16-1 in the past five years. The Quarriers are 34-2 in the past three years with losses only to 11B Tri-Valley, twice.

Blitz Preseason Honors – Riley Schmidt of Dell Rapids, Offensive Player of the Year. Cole Tirrel of West Central, Defensive Player of the Year.

11A: West Central (6-4) is one of South Dakota proudest programs with its 11 titles. The Trojans are itching for a title run with a championship drought dating to 2007. WC is a program that is 40-12 in the past five years and 84-13 in the last nine. HC Kent Mueller has a squad heavy in experience with the return of 44 letter winners, including eight on offense. On defense, 14 players are back that started at least one game. Operating the Trojans' unbalanced double wing will be senior QB Noah Matson (43-of-80-496-7 TDs; 39-211-7 TDs rushing). The backfield returns senior fullback Cody Miller (88-536-7 TDs), senior running back Cole Tirrel (38-305-5 TDs), and junior running back Cody Bussell (51-251-2 TDs). The defense is led by Tirrel (36T, 7 int., 2 FR, two sacks), Jace Hanisch (29T, sack), Alex Voigt (43T, 2 sacks) among others. Dell Rapids (11-1) will look to add another piece of hardware to the school's growing trophy case in 2013. Yet, the coming season may be one of the most challenging for head coach Steve Hansen and Quarriers, which return just four starters. The Quarriers, with eight straight winning seasons, will lean on 19 seniors. Quarterback will be in the hands of senior Tanner Solberg or standout junior Riley Schmidt (Joe Robbie Award winner in 2012). If Schmidt (107 touches, 1,580 yards, 17 TDs; 65-475-12 TDs rushing; 9-156-2 TDs rec.; 21-686-3 TDs KOR; 12-263 PR) isn't at QB, he will be the focal point of a backfield that will include seniors Brett Nichols (30 carries, 178 yards, 2 TDs), and Cody Nielsen (15 carries, 92 yards, 2 TDs). Senior Andy Scherff is the anchor upfront. Dell Rapids' 4-3 defense return three starters in White (17T, TFL, 5 PBU) and Nielsen (22T, TFL) at linebacker along with Schmidt in the secondary. Tea Area (5-4) was snake-bitten a year ago, losing three games down the stretch in 2012 by a combined 11 points. Two of the losses were to Dakota Valley, including a 40-37 setback in the playoffs. Now, the talented and athletic Tea Area squad will try to reverse that frustrating trend. Third-year coach Craig Clayberg will try and lead the Titans to a third straight winning season and beyond. The Titans return six starters on both sides of the ball. Operating out of the double wing, Tea Area's offense will be led by senior QB Taylor Roeman (64-of-128-1,226-9 TDs passing; 69-310-7 TDs rushing) and senior RB Gunnar Ensz (93-767-16 TDs). The Titan's 3-4 defense will lean on Ensz (42T, 3 TFLs, 1.5 sacks, 2 FR, FF), senior Tarin Smallfield (42T, 4.5 TFLs, 2 sacks, 2 FF), senior Brett Herr (33T, int., FF), and junior Jordan Fechner (40T, TFL, int., 2 FR, FF). Hot Springs (8-3), directed by head coach Ben Kramer, ended the 2012 campaign with five wins in six games. With the core of the team returning on both sides of the ball, the Bison head into the 2013 beaming with confidence. Hot Springs, 26-22 with three winning seasons since 2008, will led by senior running back Jake Oberpriller (136-1,042-13 TDs, rushing; 9-152-2 TDs, rec.) and senior QB Justin Harkless (44-of-107-733-6 TDs, 4 int.; 79-113-5 TDs rush). Look for junior running back Jared Harkless (66-254-4 TDs rushing; 9-366-TD PR; 620 all-purpose yards) to be an explosive player for the Bison. Defensively, Hot Springs is led by Jared Harkless (71T, 2 sacks, FF, int.) at linebacker and Oberpriller (73T). Berkley (50T, 4 int., FR), Grady Egly (42T, 4 sacks), Taran Weaver (31T) and Swiftwater (21T, 2 FR). Madison (5-4) is stocked full of talented athletes and could be a dangerous team in 2013, especially with momentum from winning 4-of-5 to end the season. Directed by head coach Max Hodgen, the Bulldogs return 15 starters (8 on offense, 7 on defense), including senior QB Jacob Giles (80-of-167-1,000 yards, 9 TDs, 4 int.). Senior RB Rush Milne (155-728-12 TDs; 6-188-TD) will be the featured back. The leader of the defense is Tyler Curry (58T, int., 3 FR, 3 sacks) at linebacker. Preston Nording (33T, int., defensive TD), Mason Hemmer (24T, TFL), junior Johnny Monroe (20T, 2.5 TFL), Steffen (43T, two sacks), Blake Gusso (24T, 2 FR, three sacks), Giles (33T, 2 int., 2 FR) and Milne (20T) form a solid defense.

11B

Blitz Power Poll – 1. Aberdeen Roncalli 2. Parkston 3. Winner 4. St. Thomas More 5. Tri-Valley

KSFY-KWSN Broadcasters Poll – 1. Aberdeen Roncalli, 63 (6) 2. Winner, 52 (5) 3. Tri-Valley, 46 (44. Parkston, 32 (1) 5. St. Thomas More, 17

11B Championship Projection – Aberdeen Roncalli over Parkston, 28-10, 11A title game.

Notes – Since 2004, Aberdeen Roncalli has gone 79-17 (18-7 in the playoffs) and recorded a South Dakota-best 46 shutouts. Tri-Valley has made appearances in five of the past six 11B title games, Since 2004, Tri-Valley has a 71-29 record, including 22-7 in the playoffs with championships in 2007, 2008, and 2011. Since 2009, they have put together four seasons with 11 wins or more. Winner, which has won 12 straight games are the defending champs and have made 12 championship game appearances with 3 five titles.

Blitz Preseason Honors – Zach Lundquist, Aberdeen Roncalli, Offensive Player of the Year. Trace Meyer, Winner, Defensive Player of the Year.

11B: Aberdeen Roncalli (10-1), led by head coach Terry Dosch, will be one of the favorites in 11B. Roncalli return 20 letter winners, including seven starters on offense and six on defense from a team that didn't lose until the 11B semis in 2012. Junior QB Zach Lundquist (105-of-193-1,459-26 TDs, 8 int.). will lead the offense with support from two-year senior starters Dalton Cox (117-559-5 TDs rush; 16-164-2 TDs rec.) and Lucas Lorenz (101-589-5 TDs rush; 29-419-8 TDs rec.). The defense, which allowed just 7.2 ppg a year ago, will be anchored by Cox (105T), Tyson Mitzel (52T, 2 int.) and Lorenz (34T, 2 int.) at linebacker with Brayden McNeary (41T) and Layne Holzer (20T, 3 int.) veterans in the secondary. Parkston (7-3), directed by head coach Eric Norden, has an eye on a deep playoff run in 2013. There is plenty of reason for optimism in Parkston, which returns 17 letter winners, including eight starters on offense and seven on defense. Senior quarterback Zachary Scott (41-of-94-614-19 TDs) will direct Parkston's I-formation on offense. The running attack will be carried out by senior Chase Stoebner (57-347-5 TDs; 5 rec. 28 yards) and junior Miles Semmler (57-213-5 TDs). Scott will throw to experienced receivers like 6-3 junior tight end Brady Reiff (11-203-2 TDs) and junior wide receiver Wesley Dvorak (10-89, rushing; 13-218-2 TDs rec.; 17-205-TD punt return). Winner, directed by head coach Dan Aaker, will look for another playoff run, despite the loss of nearly the entire offensive backfield. The Warriors will have to reload. Junior QB Nate Galbraith (8-117-2 TDs) will take over signal calling duties. In the backfield, Winner will lean on Trace Meyer (102-683-10 TDs). Senior Forrest Cerv (14-96-TD), and junior Sam Naasz (31-220-TD) will be factors. The defense will be solid with the return of Meyer (87T, 4 sacks, 2 int.) and Cerv (56T, 2 FR) at linebacker with Assman (65T, sack), Kray Krolikowski (59T, 7 sacks), Harter (35T, 3 sacks, int.) and Naasz (25T, 2 int.) also expected to play key roles. Tri-Valley (10-2), directed by 2nd-year coach Steve Bazata, was hit hard by graduation but has been one of the best in 11B for several years. Leading Tri-Valley's double wing offense will be senior QB Clark Haugen, who will throw to senior tight end Jaden Krump and junior Logan O'Hara. Senior Derek Eldeen and junior Nick Buchmann, will tote the rock. The defense will be led by Krump (93T, sack, 2 FR) and O'Hara (65T, int.), along with Newman (36T, FR, 4 sacks) upfront. St. Thomas More (7-3) will again be a top contender. St. Thomas More has compiled an impressive 84-18 record since 2004, including five 10-win or better seasons. They were 11-1 in four straight seasons from 2004-07. Over the last three years they are 23-8, including 7-3 a year ago when they lost to Flandreau in the 11B quarterfinals. The Cavaliers will be led by quarterback Matt Eastmo, running back/linebacker Newt Johnson (48-364-7 TDs, rushing; 26-48-416-6 TDs, int., passing; 20T) and receiver/linebacker Jacob Henderson (32-485-7 TDs, 36T, 2 sacks, FR for def. TD).

Teams to WatchWagner (6-3) return six starters on both size of the ball and will be led by senior RB David Kocer (188-1,289-12 TDs; 200-1,453-13 TDs in career), senior QB Dylan Brunsing (54-of-110-854-6 TDs) and senior WR Noah St. Pierre (600 all-purpose yards). Kocer (100T), Kuca (58T) and Soulek (30T) and St. Pierre (eight career interceptions) will key a physical defense. Canton (4-5), led by head coach Rich Lundstrom, is another team to keep an eye on. The C-Hawks, which won titles in 1986 and 2006, have seven starters back on offense and eight on defense. Senior QB Cody Majeres (1,402 all-purpose yards; 124-1,049-17 TDs; 27-of-52-387-3 TDs, 3 int; career- 168-1,335-28 total TDs, 22 by rush; 30-64-436-3 TDs, 7 int.) is one of the state's best athletes. Tanner Broughton (56 att., 318 yards, 8 TDs) and Gabe Dolen (106-597-3 TDs) will add strength to the backfield. Canton's 4-3 defense is a tough group, led by Dolen (74T, 10.5 TFLs, 4 FF, 4 FR, int.), Broughton (51T, 4.5 TFLs, 1.5 sacks, FF), Tyler Lems (44T, 6.5 TFLs, two sacks, FR) and Eli Ripley (42T, 2 int.).

9AA

Blitz Power Poll – 1. Gregory 2. Deubrook 3. Clark-Willow Lake 4. Arlington 5. Garretson

KSFY-KWSN Broadcasters Poll – 1. Gregory, 68 (6) 2. Deubrook, 65 (9) 3. Clark-Willow Lake, 31 4. Arlington, 25 5. Garretson, 22 (1)

9AA Championship Projection – Gregory over Deubrook, 31-27, 9AA title game.

Notes – Deubrook, the defending champ, has a 12-game winning streak and. has compiled a 27-6 record over past three seasons - 59-30 since 2004 with a 7-3 playoffs record. Garretson, Deuel, Platte-Geddes/Dakota Christian, Hill City all have moved from 11B to 9AA. For Garretson, the return to the 9-man classification is sure to conjure up memories of 1985-97. It was then the Blue Dragons claimed a pair of state titles in 9A (1990, 1991) and had two runner-up finishes (1989, 1997). Gregory has played in eight championship games with one title. Arlington, which has a 69-24 record since 2004, built a 30-game winning streak (4th best all-time) in 2004-06 when the program had back-to-back unbeaten season and won championships (2004, 2005). Bridgewater-Emery/Ethan head coach Jeff Van Leur has 213 career wins which ranks second nationally in 9-man ranks. BEE has won six titles with a 44-11 record with two titles and a runner-up finish in the past five years.

Blitz Preseason Honors – Riley Hanson, Deubrook, Offensive Player of the Year. Jonah Beck, Gregory, Defensive Player of the Year.

9AA: Gregory (9-2) is a team to watch. Despite losing QB Jaden Bartling (283-2,549-31 TDs rushing; 128-of-262-2,232-31 TDs; 5,132 all-purpose yards in his career), the Gorillas, which open the season against 9A #1 Colome, look like a team that could go further than their semifinal finish of a year ago. Under the direction of fifth year head coach Brian Allmendinger, Gregory is a program beaming with confidence with the return of 22 letter winners, including five starters on offense and six on defense. The signal calling duties will likely fall to Kurt Braun (19-148-2 TDs). The backfield includes junior running back Jonah Beck (42 carries, 366 yards, 5 TDs) and senior Brody Boes (22 att., 114 yards, 2 TDs rushing, 21-565-6 TDs rec.). Andrew Taggart (17-373-7 TDs rec.) and Paul Taggart will be counted on as will junior WR Gavin Thomas (15 rec., 325 yards, 5 TDs). The defense will include two-year starters Boes (76T, sack, int.) and Beck (80T, 12 TFLs, 2 FR), along with Brandon Warnke (59T, 3TFLs, FR), a tough physical linebacker. The secondary includes A. Taggart (66T) and senior Derek Stoke (53T, 4 TFLs). Deubrook (12-0) led by former SDSU player and USD coach Adolph Shepardson, will again be one of 9AA's best. The offense, which lost standout RB Ryan Knutson (480-3,745-47 TDs in his career; 2,434 rushing yards and 9AA record 40 rushing TDs in 2012) will be directed by Dustin Trooien (31-544-3 TDs rec., 2012; 51-1000-11TDs career rec.), an All-State wide receiver, who will take over QB duties. Senior WR/RB/DB Riley Hanson (170-2,861 all-purpose yards, 23 TDs) is one of the state's most explosive players and will be the Dolphins' primary back. Dalton Kruse (28-355-6 TDs) will also get carries in the backfield. The offensive line will be anchored by senior Clayton Dahl, who was the MVP (line) in the state title game. The defense will be led by Hanson (46T, 6 int.; 82T, 9 int., FR in career), Trooien (67T, 3 int., FR, FF; 103 career tackles), Dahl (72T), Quinn Petersen (78T, sack, 2 FR) and junior linebacker Evan Sheffield (97T, 3 sacks, 2 FF). Clark-Willow Lake (9-2) will again be a contender. The Cyclones, which won an 11B title in 2002 with Joel Huber as head coach, will bank on 12 returning letter winners and four starters on both sides of the ball to pick up the pieces and continue the program's winning ways. The offense is led by 6-5 junior quarterback Tyson Jenkins (53-of-120-1,033-14 TDs). Senior Ty Wicks (240 yards rushing) will lead the running game. Clark-Willow Lake's defense will look for leadership from standout lineman Nick Young (51T, 3 sacks), Jenkins (34T, 18 solos, and 4 sacks) and Janis (23T, 16 solos) along with T. Wicks (56T) and D. Wicks (31T). Arlington (9-2), led by veteran coach Steve Gilbertson, is looking to make another playoff run. Arlington returns nine letter winners, including five starters on offense and four on defense. Junior quarterback Andrew King (36-64-927-12 TDs; 49-321-5 TDs) and standout junior tight end Tanner Lemke (15-510-7 TDs) lead the offense. Lemma leads the defense along with King and senior Tomas Touched. Garretson (4-5) returns to the 9-man ranks (9AA) after 15 years in 11-man. Garretson, led by 1st-year head coach Kevin Stickler, Garretson returns nine starters, including five starters on offense and four on defense. The skill positions are well-stocked with the return of standout junior running back Matt Johnson (119 carries, 625 yards, 3 TDs) and senior Austin Mathieson (46 att., 240 yards, TD). Taking over at quarterback will be senior Jesse Blockhouse (11 rec., 84 yards, TD). The split end will be senior Conner Blossom (11 rec., 243 yards), one of the top sprinters in the state. The defense will feature Johnson (46T, sack, FR), Blockhouse (37T, FR) and Blossom (29T, 2 FR, 2 int.).

Teams to WatchBridgewater-Emery/Ethan (6-3) will try and shake off an early exit from the playoffs and make another 9AA playoff run. The Seahawks return 31 letter winners, including three starters on offense and two on defense. The Seahawks took a heavy hit this summer when Jake Connor was lost due to a back injury this summer (construction accident). He was the Joe Robbie MVP in leading the Seahawks to a title two years ago. Seniors Wade Miller (24 att., 228 yards, 2 TDs; 4 rec., 40 yards: 367 career rushing yards) and Blake Batcher (38T, 2 int.) are among the team leaders. Menno-Marion, which is in the first year of a co-op together, will be run by co-head coaches Jason Pasco and Todd Abele. Menno-Marion is led by senior quarterback Nick Gortmaker (31-of-81-436-5 TDs passing; 159-813-16 TDs rushing; 1,351 all-purpose yards). The backfield will include seniors Chet Peterson (61 carries, 313 yards, 4 TDs) and Dylan Lehr (24 carries, 159 yards; 6 rec., 44 yards, TD). On defense, M-M has a solid group including Gortmaker (95T, int., FR; career – 163T, 2 int., 3 FR), Peterson (63T, sack, int.), seniors Tyrell Bertsch (50T, 2 FR; career – 98T), Andrew Nelson (60T, sack, 2 FR), Lincoln Langerock (54T, sack, int., 2 FR), and Brandon Goossen (54T, 3 sacks, 2 FR), along with junior Dustin Lehr (53T, sack, int., def. TD), Austin Handel (54T, sack; Career – 111T), and Parker Schultz (59T, FR). White River (8-2), directed by head coach Troy Krogman, has had a winning program with a 29-17 record over the past five seasons, including 15-6 in the past two years. White River will look to quarterback Link Tucker, running Tanner Larvie and wide receiver Tre Iyotte, and Bubba Young and others to step up. Deuel (7-3) was in the 11B playoffs a year ago and looks to go to the 9AA promised land. Fourth-year head coach Matt Rosdahl will install junior Cooper Gates into the lead role for the Cardinals at quarterback. Junior Lance Eide (944 all-purpose yards; 55-178-3 TDs rushing) will be counted on heavily as one of the team's primary offensive weapons. Tanner Brandt is set to handle tight end duties. The defense will be led by Jordan Lovre (41T, 2 FF, 4 FR), Brandt (22T, 2 FR, def. TD) and Eide (44T, 2 int.).

9A

Blitz Power Poll – 1. Colome 2. Potter County 3. Howard 4. Herreid-Selby 5. Wolsey-Wessington

KSFY-KWSN Broadcasters Poll – 1. Colome, 68 (7) 2. Herreid/Selby, 57 (6) 3. Howard, 33 (2) 4. Potter County, 31 (1) 5. Wolsey-Wessington, 22

9A Championship Projection – Colome over Potter County, 34-17, 9AA title game.

Notes – The defending champ Canistota has moved to 9B. Colome moved up from 9B and Howard and Potter County from 9AA. Colome has played in six title games, winning 9B titles in 1988 and 2007. The Cowboys finished second in 1981, 1987, 2006 and 2012. Under the direction of sixth-year head coach Pat Ruml, Howard has won 37-of-53 games, including 9-of-13 playoff games, and nearly pulled off its third state championship a year ago. They have won two titles (9AA, 2009; 11B in 2004). Hanson has won four titles since 2004, recording a 77-20 overall record with a 22-5 record in the playoffs.

Blitz Preseason Honors – Terrance Kinzer, Colome, Offensive Player of the Year. Alex Babcock, Wolsey-Wessington, Defensive Player of the Year.

9A: Colome (10-2), directed by head coach Kevin Keiser, played in the 9B title game a year ago but have moved up to 9A. Colome, which is 43-17 since winning the 2007 title, is led by Terrance Kinzer (190-1,964 all-purpose yards; 28-of-64-500-8 TDs passing; 170-1,607-29 TDs; 1,014 career passing yards and 12 TDs as well as 2,719 career rushing yards and 42 TDs). Kinzer, who scored 192 points in 2012 and 54 combined TDs in his career, has 11 games over 100 yards rushing, including three over 200 yards. He is a dynamite offensive player. Also on offense, junior RB Cole McCarty (27-163-2 TDs) will play a role. Kinzer (124T, 6 int., FR) leads the secondary and has several teammates returning on defense including 6-6, 250 pound senior lineman Lane Fawcett (57T, FR, 8.5 sacks), junior linebacker Chase Hrabanek (86T, 2 FR), senior linebacker Jacob Worden (59T, int), defensive lineman Zack Ekberg (41T) and sophomore DB Reed Harter (25T, two int.). Potter County (8-2), which had state champion Deubrook on the ropes before falling in overtime in a second round playoff game last year, will continue its hunt for the elusive state title. Potter County is directed by Head Coach Vern Smith, who has put together a 94-28 record. They return experience with 12 letter winners and seven total starters. Chayce Hall (47-346-9 TDs; 23-of-44-412-4 TDs) will lead the offense, along with seniors Mitch Hinckley (40 carries, 285 yards, 4 TDs; 8 rec., 107 yards, TD), Hayden Simon (110-791-15TDs, rushing; 10-103 receiving) and Tanner Heuer (13-77 rush; 6-155 yards rec., 4 total TDs) in the backfield. Defensive leaders including Hinckley (81T, 2 sacks), Heuer (49T, 2 int., FR) and Simon (28T, 5 int., 2 def. TDs). Herreid-Selby (10-1), which has gone 32-9 over the last four seasons, should be in the hunt for the 9A crown. Led by head coach Jeff Koster (101-69), the Wolverines return eight letter winners, including five starters on offense and six on defense. Junior RB Cooper Schaefbauer (110-968-10 TDs, rush; 11-327-4TDs receiving; 132 touches for 1,505 yards) is one of the state's top backs. Seniors TE Dakota Thorstensen (19-469-9 TDs rec.), RB Austin Iverson (58-390-8 TDs; 6-145-TD rec.), Dakota Houck (65-470-7 TDs rushing; 4-58 rec.) and Cade Opheim all return. Defensively, Schaefbauer (65T, sack, int., FR) and Thorstenson (60T, 5.5 sacks, FR, int.) are key returners along with Ethan Deibert (37T, 1.5 sacks, FF). Howard (9-3) was hit hard by graduation, including the loss of 13 seniors. However, HC Pat Ruml returns junior FB Luke Loudenburg (230-1,873-18 TDs, career rushing; 196-1,785-16 TDs; 11-104-TD; 900 yards rushing in four playoff games). The backfield will also include senior Isaiah Glanzer (11-98 yards-TD) and junior Jordan Kuhle (24-227-TD). Running Howard's Wing T and Pro set offense will be junior quarterback Gunner Gilbertson. The Tigers play tough, physical football led by defenders Nick Pardy (58T, sacks, FR) and Kuhle (83T, FR). Wolsey-Wessington (7-2) returns 11 letter winners, including four starters on offense and five on defense. The Warbirds, which have a 24-22 record under head coach Gordon Hooks, will feature of one South Dakota's top backs in senior Ryne Johnson (303-2,540-33 TDs, 11, 100-yard rushing games, career; 2012 – 108-1,181-16 TDs), who is the only active back in South Dakota with back-to-back seasons of 1,000 yards rushing. The quarterback will be Lorenzo Williams (25-182 rushing, 4 total TDs; 5-of-6-129-2 TDs passing). On defense, Johnson (86T, FR, 2 sacks) and Williams (83T, 6 sacks, 2 FR) form a solid linebacking corps. Defensive lineman Alex Babcock (65T, 12 sacks, 2 FR) is one of the best in 9-man ranks.

Teams to Watch - Tri-State (4-5) could be a team to watch. They return the core of a team that gave Clark-Willow Lake a run in the 2012 playoffs first round. Tri-State is led by senior running back Dexter Lick (124-919-6 TDs, 4G over 100 yards, rushing; 9 rec., 97 yards, receiving; 1,661 all-purpose yards), his brother Dylan (49-of-95-821-13 TDs, 6 int.; 77-283-8 TDs rushing) and WR Matthew Wieser (8-288-6 TDs) on offense. On defense, Dexter Lick (62T, int.,), Dylan Lick (53T, int., 2 FR) junior Paul Zach (30T, 6 sacks) and senior Dylan Hensch (23T, 3 sacks) lead the way. Leola-Frederick (8-2) has had four straight seasons of eight wins or better and a five-year record of 39-12 with Mile Waltman as head coach. L-F should be solid again with the return of senior RB Nathan Sumption, senior DE Derrick Podoll, lineman Matt Hoffman and Adam Geffre and senior Dane Campbell at QB. Viborg/Hurley (8-3), which is 26-8 over the past three seasons, will try to overcome heavy graduation losses to field another playoff-contending team. The Cougars, who have won 7-of-10 playoff games in the current co-op agreement, move up to 9A with new head coach Brett Mellem running the show. V-H returns a solid core with eight letter winners, including standout senior quarterback Jack Huether (59-of-88-1,342-15 TDs; 78-566-7 TDs rushing). Junior Austin Wurtz (44T, 3 sacks) is a two-way starter. On D, V-H has Huether (84T, 4 int.) and junior Rusten Andersen (53T, 6 int.) to lead the way. Hanson (4-5), under the leadership of veteran coach Jim Haskamp, returns 14 letter winners, including seven starters on offense and five on defense. The offense will be led by senior running back Jacob Paradeis (125-768 yards-7 TDs) and juniors Jordan Marquardt (104 -404-3 TDs rushing; 9-252-4 TDs rec.) and Mason Mayer (73-251-3 TDs rush.; 8-165-TD rec.). The defense will be led by Paradeis (47T, int., sack), Marquardt (46T, 3 sacks, 3 int.), Ryan Guericke (39T, two sacks, FR) and Mayer (50T, 2 int., FR).

9B

Blitz Power Poll – 1. Hamlin 2. Avon 3. Harding County 4. Castlewood 5. Canistota

KSFY-KWSN Broadcasters Poll – 1. Canistota, 60 (11) 2. Harding County, 59 (4) 3. Hamlin, 43 (1) 4. Castlewood, 28 5. Avon, 23

9B Championship Projection – Hamlin over Avon, 34-28

Notes – Canistota has reeled off 36-straight victories, winning back-back-to-back titles in two different classes. They were 12-0 in 2010 in claiming the 9B title and 12-0 in each of the last two years in rolling to 9A crowns. Hamlin won three straight 11B titles (1989-1991) and has appeared in six title games, all in 11-man. Since 2004, Avon has been one of the best in 9B with three titles (2008, 2005, 2004) and two runner-up finishes (2011, 2009). Incredibly, the Pirates have just one year (2012) when they had over two losses in a season and six-of-nine seasons with double digit win totals. In that time period, Avon built an 89-14 record under the direction or Tom Culver (136-39 overall, 123-30 at Avon). Harding County has advanced to the state championship game six times with titles in 1993 and 2012. The Ranchers also were in the 9B title game in 1992 and advanced to four 9A title games in 1998, 1999 and most recently 2010. Hitchcock-Tulare has advanced to six 9B championship games, including winning titles in 1992 and 2009. H-T has a 45-11 record over the last five seasons.

Blitz Preseason Honors – Lucas Ching, Castlewood, Offensive Player of the Year. Devin Tolsma, Avon, Defensive Player of the Year.

9B:  Hamlin (8-1), which had a perfect season end in a first round loss to Arlington in 2012, stack up as one of the top teams heading into 2013. They return 21 letter winners, including eight starters on offense and seven on defense. Head Coach Jeff Sheehan's return their field general and junior QB Brody Grantham (35-of-74-767-9 TDs, 3 int.; 68-305-11 TDs rushing) and talented senior RB Dustin Quiram (144-1,147-16 TDs). The Chargers should also receive contributions from sophomore Ryder Grantham (40-274-4 TDs), junior WR/RB Austin Niemann (35-237-3 TDs rushing; 5-110 rec.). The defense is led by Alex Holzwarth (60T, 10 sacks), Tristen Leiseth (53T, 4.5 sacks), B. Grantham (30T, 5 FF, 2 int.), Niemann (46T, 4 int., 6 FF), Brady Buck (65T, 2 int., 3 FF), Quiram (32T, 4 int., 2 TD returns) and Tristan Namken (40T, 2 int.). Avon (6-4), , which has the potential to do big things, returns 30 letter winners, led by five starters on offense and six back on defense. The offense will be led junior quarterback Logan Mudder (22-of-41-176 yards-2 TDs; 99 carries for 380 yards, 5 TDs) and the talented RB duo of senior Brandon Kocmich (76-912-16 TDs, 88-1,167 all-purpose yards) and junior Devin Tolsma (165-1,020-14 TDs, career rushing; 95-740-9 TDs rushing; 123 touches, 1,213 yards), who recorded a combined 211 touches for 2,380 all-purpose yards. On defense, Tolsma (118T, two sacks, 2 int., FR), Kocmich (65T, 3 interceptions), Beeson (42T, int., 2 FR), Jacob Knodel (27T, sack) and Mudder (39 tackles, sack, int., 2 FR) lead a talented group. Harding County (12-0), which lost Jess Feist, one of three 1,000-1,000 QBs in SD last year, by HC Jay Wammen's team knows how to win. They have won 12 straight but face a tough opening game against highly-regarded Faith. HC will return 18 letter winners, including five starters on offense and six on defense. Senior RB Steve Koch (103-739-14 TDs rushing; 870 career rushing yards; 13-179-3 TDs receiving; 984 all-purpose yards) and junior RB Windom Hewsom (64-470-7 TDs) will be a tough duo. On defense, Koch (115T, 4 TFLs, 2 sacks, 4 FR, 3 FF, 3 int.), Mollman (55T, 3 int., 2 return TDs), Reece Jensen (105T, 3FR, 8TFLs, 6 sacks), and Hewsom (102T, 3 sacks, 2 FR), will lead a veteran defense. Castlewood (7-4), which has five straight winning seasons with head coach Doug Rueseink, returns 15 letter winners, including five starters on offense and six on defense. Senior QB Lucas Ching (100-of-179-1,622-29 TDs) will again handle the controls of Castlewood's I-Pro-Spread offense and will throw to twin brother Adam (17-427-9 TDs). Junior Riley Haug will also catch passes while senior Kaleb Artz and Jacob Tvedt will take over running back duties. Castlewood's defense, is led by the Chings upfront with Artz, Twedt and Haug playing key roles. Canistota (12-0), which made a coaching change with Jamie Strang taking over for Lenny Schroeder, has won 36 straight games but were hit hard by graduation. I  expect this team to fare well this season but with games vs. Hanson, BEE, Menno-Marion and Avon in four of the first five weeks, plus a road test late in the year vs. 9A Howard and a home battle with 9AA Garretson, staying unbeaten will be tough. In what may be 9-man's most difficult class, Canistota will lean on senior Nick Hofer, who led the team in receiving a year ago. Hofer has 130 touches for 2,259 yards (70-817-16 TDs rushing; 27-632-8 TDs receiving; 13-228-KOR; 19-392-2 TD; 2 int., 30 yards, TD) and 29 combined TDs in his career. The backfield will also include junior Carson Hofer and sophomore Jared Nielsen. Sophomore Shay Jolley could win the QB job, which would shift Hofer to running back. The vaunted Canistota 3-5-1 defense will be led Hofer (16T, PD) in the secondary along with C. Hofer (10T, FR) at linebacker and Anderson (4T), Golder (10T) and Weber upfront.

Teams to WatchFaith (8-2), which was 8-2 a year ago, has put together winning seasons in three of the past four years with a combined 29-17 mark over five years. Faith was 7-2 two years ago and 7-3 in 2009. The Longhorns, which scored 450 points a year ago with seven games of 50 points or better, will be led by junior quarterback Gereth Bushong. Hitchcock-Tulare (7-3), annually one of South Dakota's top 9-man teams, led by head coach Kenny Huether, should again be in the hunt. They will be led by Cole Chaplin, a senior running back and linebacker, who had 1,321 yards rushing, 14 TDs (2,200 career rushing yards) a year ago. He also had 131 yards receiving with two TDs and 48 tackles and two picks on D. Faulkton Area (5-5) may be on the verge of a breakout season. It is a team that returns the core of its offense from a year ago including junior quarterback Kurt Beidler (62-of-132-816-8 TDs, 8 int.; 22-69-2 TDs rushing) and standout running back Darin Wieseler (164-1,327-9 TDs rushing; 5-76-TD rec.). Also back is Oliver Aesoph (718 all-purpose yards; 20-211-TD; 11-118 rec.). Sophomore Carson Ortmeier (41-305-4 TDs) had a solid season for the Trojans in the backfield. The defense will be led by junior Lane Meyer (59T, 2 sacks), Aesoph (34T, 3 int., FR), Baloun (18T, 2 int.), among others.

Leading Passers (2012 stats/career stats if available)

Returning this year is 14 players that have threw for at least 1,000 yards a year ago. That includes nine QBs at the 11-man level and five in 9-man. Just three quarterbacks threw for over 1,500 yards with Lucas Ching of Castlewood the leader with 1,622 yards.

11-man

Taryn Christion, Jr., 6-1, 180, QB, SF Roosevelt, 99-of-170-1,566-11 TD-6 int., passing

Zach Lundquist, Jr., 6-1, 175, Aberdeen Roncalli, 105-193-1,459, 26 TDs, 8 int.

Oliver Doeden, Jr., 6-4, 210, QB, Beresford, 84-of-168-1,400 yards passing, 9 TDs, 7 int.

Connor Burchill, Sr., 6-1, 170, QB, SF Lincoln, 93-198-1,264-14 TDs, 11 int., 2 rushing TDs

Taylor Roeman, Sr., 6-2, 185, QB/LB, Tea Area, 64-of-128-1,226-9 TDs

Chase Glazier, Sr., 6-4, 180, QB, Custer, 85-158-1,185-10 TDs-7 int.; 3 rushing TDs

Donnie Pallatto, Jr., 6-1, 170, QB, Rapid City Central, 76-of-154-1,126-11 TDs, 5 int.

Jacob Giles, Sr., 6-1, 180, QB/FS, Madison, 80-167-1,000-9 TDs, 4 int.

Alex Gray, Sr., 5-9, 175, QB/DB, Pierre, 50-of-128-1,069-15 TDs passing

Logan Gabriel, Sr., 5-11, 170, QB, Watertown, 93-of-209-979-6 TDs-9 int.

Parker Rossow, Sr., 5-10, 165, QB/FS, Groton Area, 64-of-123-883-6 TDs, 6 int.

Dylan Brunsing, Sr., 6-1, 185, QB/DB, Wagner, 2012 - 54 -110-854-6 TDs, passing; Career - 68-of-150-1,131-10 TDs

Matt Larson, Jr., 5-10, 150, QB, Mitchell, 74-of-134-705-3 TDs, passing; 72-246-3 TDs rush

Zachary Scott, Sr., 6-0, 180, QB, Parkston, 41-of-94-619-19 TDs

Noah Matson, Sr., 6-0, 175, QB, West Central, 43-of-80-496-7 TDs

Newt Johnson, Sr., 6-1, 190, QB/RB, St. Thomas More, 26-48-416-6 TDs, int.

Jace Christiansen, Sr., 6-0, 175, QB/DB, Flandreau, 21-of-49-409, 6 TDs, 2 int.

Cody Majeres, Sr., 6-0, 190, QB/DB, Canton, 27-52-387-3 TDs,

9-man

Lucas Ching, Sr., 6-5, 235, Sr., QB/DT, Castlewood, 100-of-179-1,622-29 TDs

Bo Fries, Jr., 6-4, 170, QB, Langford Area, 111-191-1,500-13 TDs-8 int.

Jack Huether, Sr., 6-0, 175, QB/LB, Viborg-Hurley, 59-of-88-1,342-15 TDs

Seamus O'Malley, Sr., 6-0, 155, QB, Centerville, 66-112-1,088-15 TDs-7 int. passing;

Tyson Jenkins, Jr., 6-5, 215, QB/DE, Clark/Willow Lake, 53-of-120-1,033 -14TDs

Andrew King, Jr., 6-0, 170, QB/S. Arlington, 36-of-64-927-12 TDs

Dylan Lick, Jr., 5-10, 170, QB/LB, Tri-State, 49-95-821-13 TDs-6 int

Reid Valsvig, Sr., 5-10, 160, QB/DB, Webster Area, 50-of-121-785-7 TDs-14 int.

Brody Grantham, Jr., 6-1, 185, Hamlin, 35-of-74-767-9 TDs-3 int.

Jace Connor, Sr., 6-2, 185, QB/DB, Bridgewater-Emery/Ethan, 41-of-62-593-13 TDs-2 int. (Career - 87-of-129-1,060-15 TDs-4 int.)

Terrance Kinzer, Sr., 6-1, 185, QB/LB, Colome, 28-of-64-500-8 TDs, 2 int. (Career - 54-169-1,014 yards, 12 TDs, 5 Int.)

Nick Gortmaker, Sr., 6-0, 170, QB/LB, Menno/Marion, 31-of-81-436-5 TDs

Chayce Hall, Sr., 6-1, 180, QB, Potter County, 23-of-44-412-4 TDs

Turner Serr, Sr., 6-0, 165, QB/RB/DB, South Central, 18-of-54-305-4 TDs, 7 int.

Rushing

A total of 11 athletes return as 1,000-yard rushers, including eight in 9-man football and three in 11-man. Ryne Johnson of Wolsey-Wessington is the only back with consecutive 1,000 yard rushing seasons. The leading return rusher is Luke Loudenberg of Howard with 1,785 yards a year ago.

11-man (2012 stats/career stats if available)

Caden Quintanilla, Sr., 5-8, 180, RB, SF Lincoln, 162-1,080-17 TDs, 6G over 100 yards, rushing; 18 total TDs (Career - 266-1,840-28 TDs, 11G over 100 yards)

Cody Majeres, Sr., 6-0, 190, QB/DB, Canton, 124-1,049- 17 TDs; Career – 168-1,335-28 total TDs,

Jake Oberpriller, Sr., 5-8. 150, RB/LB, Hot Springs, 136-1,042-13 TDs

Blake Stone, Sr., 5-9, 160, RB/DB, Rapid City Central, 126-781-5 TDs (8 total TDs); Career – 163-1,013-7 TDs, rushing; 10-117, 2 TDs, receiving

Gunnar Ensz, Sr., 5-10, 185, RB, Tea Area, 93-767-16 TDs

Rush Milne, Sr., 6-1, 205, RB/CB, Madison, 728-12 TDs

Shay Bratland, Sr., 5-10, 210, RB/KR, Watertown, 153-697-7 TDs

Seth Bjordal, Sr., 5-9. 180, RB, SF Roosevelt, 127-664-5 TDs

Kasey Kurtz, Sr., 5-10, 185, RB/LB, Groton Area, 176-648-7 TDs

Taryn Christion, Jr., 6-1, 180, QB, SF Roosevelt, 140-647-11 TDs

Alex Gray, Sr., 5-9, 175, QB/DB, Pierre, 96-563-4 TDs

Cody Miller, Sr., 5-9, 160, FB/LB, West Central, 88-536-7 TDs

Riley Schmidt, Jr., 5-10, 165, QB/RB/DB, Dell Rapids, 65-475-12 TDs

Newt Johnson, Sr., 6-1, 190, QB/RB, St. Thomas More, 48-364-7 TDs

Dan Marlette, Sr., 6-2, 190, RB/LB, SF Washington, 49-356-5 TDs,

Taylor Roeman, Sr., 6-2, 185, QB/LB, Tea Area, 69-310-7 TDs

Cole Tirrel, Sr., 5-9, 155, RB/CB, West Central, 38-305-5 TDs

9-Man 

Luke Loudenburg, Jr., 5-7, 150, FB/DB, Howard, 196-1,785-16 TDs (Career – 230-1,873-18 TDs),

Terrance Kinzer, Sr., 6-1, 185, QB/LB, Colome, 17-1,607-29TDs, 8G over 100 yards rushing (Career- 294-2,719-42 TDs, 11G over 100 yds, 3 over 200)

Darin Wieseler, Jr., 5-7, 165, RB, Faulkton Area, 164-1,327-9 TDs, 6G over 100 yards, 3 over 200 yards (high, 241); (Career, 166-1,340-9 TDs)

Cole Chaplin, Sr., 5-11, 160, RB/LB, Hitchcock-Tulare, 1,321 yards rushing, 14 TDs, 2,200 career

Jaden Denison, Sr., 6-0, 210, RB/LB, Lake Preston, 242-1303-15 TDs (Career – 377-1,929-18 TDs)

Ryne Johnson, Sr., 5-9, 155, RB/DB, Wolsey-Wessington, 108-1,181-16 TDs, 6G over 100 yards (Career - 303-2,540-33 TDs, back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons; 11G over 100 yards; career-best 28-377-5 TDs in 2011)

Dustin Quiram, Sr., 6-0, 160, RB/DB, Hamlin, 144-1,147-16 TDs, 6G over 100 yards, 2G over 200 yards

Chase Bronson, Sr., 5-10, 155, RB/LB, Wilmot, 149-1,106-9 TDs (Career – 245-1,731-21 TDs, 8 games over 100 yards)

Cooper Schaefbauer, Jr., 5-10, 165, WB/LB, Herreid/Selby, 110-968-10 TDs

Dexter Lick, Sr., 5-11, 165, RB/LB, Tri-State, 124-919-6 TDs, 4G over 100 yards (Career - 162-1,200-10 TDs)

Brandon Kocmich, Sr., 6-3, 195, RB/LB, Avon, 76-912-15 TDs

Nick Gortmaker, Sr., 6-0, 170, QB/LB, Menno/Marion, 159-813-16 TDs (Career – 234-1,011-17 TDs)

Colin Walth, Jr., 5-10, 155, RB/LB, Alcester-Hudson, 130-808-8 TDs

Hayden Simon, Sr., 5-11, 180, TB/CB, Potter County, 110-791-15 TDs

Garrett Bruns, Sr., 5-9, 155, RB/DB, South Central, 107-778-6 TDs, 3 games over 100 (Career – 172-1,121-11 TDs)

Jacob Paradeis, Sr., 5-11, 195, RB/LB, Hanson, 125-768-7 TDs

Turner Serr, Sr., 6-0, 165, QB/RB/DB, South Central, 122-759-17 TDs, 4G over 100 yards (Career – 269-1,587-25 TDs)

Devin Tolsma, Jr., 5-9, 170, LB/RB, Avon, 95-740-9 TDs (Career - 165-1,020-14 TDs)-

Steve Koch, Sr., 6-1, 195, RB/LB, Harding County, 103-739-14 TDs (Career - 121-870-14)

Mason Van Vuuren, Sr., 5-11, 170, FB/LB, Corsica/Stickney, 68-676-7 TDs

Matt Johnson, Jr., 5-10, 200, RB/LB, Garretson, 119-625-3TD

Riley Hanson, Sr., 5-6, 150, RB/WR/DB, Deubrook, 65-586-7 TDs

Jack Huether, Sr., 6-0, 175, QB/LB, Viborg-Hurley, 8-566-7 TDs

Jace Connor, Sr., 6-2, 185, QB/DB, Bridgewater-Emery/Ethan, 123-563-6TD (Career- 196-956-10 TDs) Nick Hofer, Sr., 6-0, 180, QB/RB/CB, Canistota, 35-557-7 TDs (Career - 70-817-16 TDs)

Drew Planteen, Sr., 6-3, 190, TB/WR/S Langford Area, 109-499-9 TDs

Gavin Kolden, Sr., 5-10, 165, Waverly-South Shore, 53-490-8 TDs

Erik Barnes, Sr., 5-10, 190, RB/WR/DE, Alcester-Hudson, 69-462-5 TDs

Garrett Anderson, Sr., 5-10, 170, FB/LB, Irene-Wakonda, 78-454-5TDs

Jordan Marquardt, Jr., 5-11, 185, RB/LB, Hanson, 104-441-3 TDs

Tyson Jenkins, Jr., 6-5, 215, QB/DE, Clark/Willow Lake, 66-344-7 TDs

Jonah Beck, Jr., 5-11, 180, LB/RB, Gregory, 42-366-5 TDs

Seamus O'Malley, Sr., 6-0, 155, QB, Centerville, 78-363-TD

Chayce Hall, Sr., 6-1, 180, QB, Potter County, 47-346-8 TDs

Andrew King, Jr., 6-0, 170, QB/S. Arlington, 49-321-5 TDs

Josh DeRaad, Sr., 5-11, 160, WB/LB, Centerville, 72-314-6 TDs

Brody Grantham, Jr., 6-1, 185, Hamlin, 68-305-11 TDs rushing

Mitch Hinckley, Sr., 6-1, 200, FB/LB, Potter County, 40-285-4 TDs

Dylan Lick, Jr., 5-10, 170, QB/LB, Tri-State, 77-283-8 TDs

Receiving

Nine players, including six in 11-man and 3 in 9-man, return after catching 25 passes or more a year ago. The leader is A.J. Garrow of Brandon Valley who is the only receiver with 60 or more (62).

11-man (2012 stats/career stats if available)

A.J. Garrow, Sr., 5-10, 170, WR, Brandon Valley, 62-731-5 TDs (Career – 110 rec. - 7th all-time - 1,382 yards, 6 TDs)

Asher Pikula, Sr., 5-10, 155, Rapid City Central, 38-488-6 TDs

Jacob Henderson, Sr., 6-2, 185, St. Thomas More, 32-485-7 TDs

Tanner Hennings, Sr., 6-0, 190, WR, SF Roosevelt, 27-413-4 TDs

Dylan Bartow, Sr., 5-11, 165, WR/DB, SF Lincoln, 27-400-6 TDs

Clayton Wahlstrom, Sr., 6-0, 185, Custer, 25-260-2 TDs

Trevor Naasz, Sr., 6-0, 180, WR/DB, 21-384-5 TDs

Keshaun Britt, Sr., 5-9, 175, RB, SF Lincoln, 17- 215-2 TDs

Caden Quintanilla, Sr., 5-8, 180, RB, SF Lincoln, 14-178 (Career - 28-327)

Riley Schmidt, Jr., 5-10, 165, QB/RB/DB, Dell Rapids, 9-156-2 TDs

Jake Oberpriller, Sr., 5-8. 150, RB/LB, Hot Springs, 9-152-2 TDs

9-man

Dusty Trooinen, Sr., 5-9, 150, QB/DB, Deubrook, 31-544-3 TDs, (Career – 51-1,000-11 TDs)

Drew Planteen, Sr., 6-3, 190, TB/WR/S Langford Area, 30-587-6 TDs

Nick Hofer, Sr., 6-0, 180, QB/RB/CB, Canistota, 25-557-TDs (Career - 27-632-8 TDs)

Harvey Mollman, Jr., 6-3, 175, WR/DB, Harding County, 25-554-11 TDs

Josh DeRaad, Sr., 5-11, 160, WB/LB, Centerville, 21-395-5 TDs

Chase Bronson, Sr., 5-10, 155, RB/LB, Wilmot, 20-310-2 TDs

Dakota Thorstenson, Sr., 6-4, 200, TE/DE, Herreid/Selby, 19-469-9 TDs

Brennan Schmidt, Jr., 6-4, 150, WR/DB, Freeman, 19-407-6 TDs

Gavin Kolden, Sr., 5-10, 165, Waverly-South Shore, 18-267-6 TDs

Adam Ching, Sr., 6-4, 230, , TE/DE, Castlewood, 17-427-9 TDs receiving

Riley Hanson, Sr., 5-6, 150, RB/WR/DB, Deubrook, 17-261-3 TDs

Tristen Leiseth, Jr., 6-2, 185, TE/DE, Hamlin, 13-242-3 TDs

Garrett Bruns, Sr., RB/DB, South Central, 12-23, , 9-3 TDs

Steve Koch, Sr., 6-1, 195, RB/LB, Harding County, 13-179-3 TDs (Career-35-402-7 TDs)

Cooper Schaefbauer, Jr., 5-10, 165, WB/LB, H, , err, eid/Selby, 11-327-4 TDs

Jordan Marquardt, Jr., 5-11, 185, RB/LB, Hanson, 9-252-4 TDs

All-Purpose

At least 13 players return with 1,000 all-purpose yards or more with nine over 1,500 yards. Chase Bronson of Wilmot is the leader with 209 touches for 1,995 yards a year ago. Three players have at least 3,000 career all-purpose yards including Caden Quintanilla of SF Lincoln, 3,629; Colome's Terrance Kinzer, 3,628; and Bronson, 3,164.

11-man (2012 stats/career stats if available)

Riley Schmidt, Jr., 5-10, 165, QB/RB/DB, Dell Rapids, 107 touches, 1,580 yards, 17 TDs

Shay Bratland, Sr., 5-10, 210, RB/KR, Watertown, 193-1,549-10 TDs

Caden Quintanilla, Sr., 5-8, 180, RB, SF Lincoln, 185-1,509-18 TDs (Career – 370-3,629-32 TDS)

Blake Stone, Sr., 5-9, 165, RB/KR, 145-1,052-8 TDs

Asher Pikula, Sr., 5-10, 155, WR/KR, Rapid City Central, 58-1,048-8 TDs

9-man

Chase Bronson, Sr., 5-10, 155, RB/LB, Wilmot, 209-1995-12 TDs (Career numbers–341 touches, 3,164 all-purpose yards, 28 TDs

Terrance Kinzer, Sr., 6-1, 185, QB/LB, Colome, 190-1,964-30 TDs (Career – 339 touches, 3,628 yards, 47 TDs)

Riley Hanson, Sr., 5-6, 150, RB/WR/DB, Deubrook, 116-1,787-14 TDs (Career -170 touches, 2,861 yards, 23 TDs).

Dexter Lick, Sr., 5-11, 165, RB/LB, Tri-State, 160-1,661-8 TDs (Career - 226-2,350-14 TDs)

Drew Planteen, Sr., 6-3, 190, TB/WR/S Langford Area, 165 -1,556-16 TDs

Cooper Schaefbauer, Jr., 5-10, 165, WB/LB, Herreid/Selby, 132-1,505-14 TDs

Nick Hofer, Sr., 6-0, 180, QB/RB/CB, Canistota, 70-1,239-16 TDs (Career - 130 touches, 2,259 all-purpose yards, 29 career tds, 17.57 yards per touch)

Devin Tolsma, Jr., 5-9, 170, LB/RB, Avon, 123-1,213-9 TDs

Steve Koch, Sr., 6-1, 195, RB/LB, Harding County, 116-984-17 TDs

Turner Serr, Sr., 6-0, 165, QB/DB, South Central, 132-941-17 TDs (315-2,465-28 TDs)

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