VERMILLION – Pierre beat Brookings 38-6 in the Class 11AA championship game Friday night in the DakotaDome for its fourth consecutive title.
The third-seeded Governors (9-2) used a second-quarter flurry to take control.
Lincoln Kienholz sandwiched touchdown tosses of 3 and 10 yards to Regan Bollweg around a 29-yarder to Jack Merkwan to grab a 28-6 advantage. Kienholz intercepted a pass and Pierre also recovered a fumble to set up the final two scores.
Pierre limited the Bobcats to just 182 yards of offense, including 158 on 37 rushes – 4.3 average. Brookings was 1-of-10 on third down and turned it over three times.
“I think we let the idea that we were at the ‘Dome distract us a little bit,” said first-year BHS coach Brady Clark. “Defensively, they just got up on us a lot early. In the second half, we made adjustments (on defense) and started playing how we play football and we played better.
“They had a really good gameplan coming in. Both sides of the ball, they’re really well coached – there’s a reason they’re the four-time state champs. I mean, that is what it is.
“We just couldn’t get things going – a turnover here, penalty there or whatever it was. A few things go our way, maybe we get a few things going; but it just didn’t happen for us tonight.
“Props to Pierre – they came and played a great game.”
Following a slow start offensively by both teams, Kienholz plunged into the end zone from a yard out at the 3:17 mark of the opening period. Carston Miller converted the first of his five PAT kicks after that.
The ‘Cats answered with an emphatic march, moving 74 yards on five plays into the end zone in less than 2 minutes.
Josh Buri capped it with a 9-yard scamper with 1:32 showing on the clock.
And then came the second quarter.
Kienholz, the Joe Robbie MVP, finished the game 10-of-19 for 151 yards with the three TDs through the air.
Pierre finished with 300 yards total.
The score remained 28-6 throughout the third.
Miller booted a 32-yard field goal with 7:56 remaining.
Maguire Raske, who was named Outstanding Back, scored from 20 yards out with 1:38 to play in the game. He ended up with 164 yards on 28 carries.
Preston Taylor was the Outstanding Lineman.
Austin Foley recorded eight tackles, with Taylor and Josh Rowse notching seven apiece and Bollweg six.
Buri ended up with 122 yards on 16 rushes for Brookings.
Keegan Fields ran for 31 yards and had a five-yard reception.
Jaxon Bowes was 4-of-13 for 24 yards with two INTs.
On defense, Jackson Krogman racked up 12 tackles. Jaxton Eck and Parker Theobald logged seven stops apiece, with Lincoln Hardin adding six and Wes Koenig and Gavin Fixsen each five.
The top-seeded Bobcats finished the season with an 11-1 record.
“11-1 with the adversity that we went through – that’s nothing to hang your head about,” Clark said. “I am so dang proud as a coach.
“I mean, yeah, we want to win the big one – that was our goal coming into the year; that’s what we wanted to do. But we have to sit back and reflect now on all of the positives throughout the year, and there are a lot of them.
“This score tonight doesn’t reflect who we are as a team. I told our guys that. I know it’s hard – it’s not the way you want to go out – but I’m extremely proud of our program, our staff, our fans, our community. I can’t say enough.
“We’ll be back.”
Notes: The Bobcats beat the Governors 21-14 in the regular-season meeting Oct. 9 in Brookings … Pierre improved to 5-1 in title games (all in Class 11AA). The ‘Govs defeated Harrisburg 24-21 in 2017, Huron 38-20 in 2018 and the ‘Cats 32-16 in 2019. … Brookings dropped to 2-5 in finals (all in Class 11AA). It last won in 2000, falling in 2014 and 2019.
PIERRE 38, BROOKINGS 6
Pierre 7 21 0 10 – 38
Brookings 6 0 0 0 – 0
P – Lincolon Kienholz 1 run (Carston Miller kick), 3:17
B – Josh Buri 9 run (kick failed), 1:32
P – Regan Bollweg 3 pass from Kienholz (Miller kick), 11:06
P – Jack Merkwan 29 pass from Kienholz (Miller kick), 8:12
P – Bollweg 10 pass from Kienholz (Miller kick), 1:46
P – Miller 32 FG, 7:56
P – Maguire Raske 20 run (Miller kick), 1:38
First Downs 17 10
Plays-Yards 59-300 50-182
Rushes-Yards 40-149 37-158
C-A-Int.-Yards 10-19-0-151 4-13-2-24
Fumbles-Lost 2-0 2-1
Penalties-Yards 6-55 6-54
Punts-Avg. 5-39.8 6-33.5
Punt Returns-Yards-TD 2-0-0 1-10-0
Kickoff Returns-Yards-TD 1-45-0 7-90-0
Interception Returns-Yards-TD 2-54-0 0-0-0
Fumble Returns-Yards-TD 0-0-0 0-0-0
Third-down Conversions 6-of-12 1-of-10
Fourth-down Conversions 0-of-0 0-of-1