Cossacks crush Huskies in 11B opener

VOLGA – Top-seeded Sioux Valley piled up 289 rushing yards on 23 attempts and limited Elk Point-Jefferson to just 72 total yards of offense during a 51-0 victory in the first round of the Class 11B Football Playoffs on Thursday night.

The game ended with 5.5 seconds remaining in the third quarter as the Cossacks improved to 9-0.

“It went very well,” said Sioux Valley coach Dan Hughes. “The kids were ready to play, they executed very well.

“On to the next game.”

Daymein Lucas ran 12 times for 146 yards and scored a pair of touchdowns.

“I think we had a good game,” the senior said. “The defense played well, didn’t give up anything; and our offense was pretty good. Our line made some big holes for us to get through; a solid game throughout.”

Lucas is averaging 186 yards per game and has found the end zone 24 times.

“The line’s been awesome,” he added. “They’ve just been making holes and getting the job done.”

Lucas ran for 16 yards on the game’s first play. He later converted a fourth-and-6, before Connor Logan opened the scoring with a 3-yard TD rush at the 8:01 mark of the first. Brennan Stoltenberg added the PAT kick to make it 7-0.

Jaxton Schiller got loose for an 88-yard punt return to paydirt later in the first. Stoltenberg tacked on the PAT.

“He did an awesome job – set a good wall and he got to it and took it to the house,” Hughes said. “Good stuff.”

Dalton Hanson sparked the Cossacks’ next drive with a 31-yard run, and a penalty on the play moved the ball to the 11-yard-line. His TD run got called back by a holding penalty; however, Lucas raced up the middle untouched on the next play for a 21-yard score that gave Sioux Valley a 20-0 cushion with 2:06 to play in the first.

The Cossack defense forced another three-and-out, but the Huskies answered with a takeaway as Caleb Mahin recovered a fumble at his own 43 early in the second.

EPJ put together its longest drive of the night after that. But on fourth-and-4 at the Cossack 30, Tristan Richarz and Andrew Mullaney sacked Husky quarterback Logan Donelan to end the threat.

Tyler Schwartz rattled off a 41-yard run on the next play from scrimmage. On first-and-17, Lucas picked up 21 yards.

Noah Puetz rolled right and found an open Hanson in the end zone for a 7-yard score. Puetz hooked up with Schiller on the two-point conversion, making it 28-0 midway through the period.

Lucas added a 40-yard touchdown rush up the middle on fourth-and-short and Stoltenberg booted the PAT to give the Cossacks a 35-0 advantage with 34.7 seconds to go in the half.

With the clock running in the second half, Sioux Valley quickly bounced back from an interception when Logan pounced on a loose ball in the end zone for a touchdown. Puetz connected with Schiller for the two-pointer.

“He recovered one in the end zone; that was a good one,” Hughes said of Logan, who ended up with two TDs. “He’s been taking a lot of reps at that wing position so he’s gotten a lot of carries, he just hasn’t been in the end zone.”

On the Cossacks’ final drive, Hanson had a 9-yard run and Lucas a 12-yarder, before Schwartz ran left for a 20-yard touchdown.

Lucas’ two-point conversion run ended the game via the 50-point mercy rule.

“It’s good to work on a few things and clean some things up,” Hughes said when asked about the quick game. “As we get deeper, teams will get a little more athletic and we’ll see a few different looks. But it’s nice to get a lot of work on a lot of different things.”

Hanson ran five times for 61 yards and Schwartz three times for 60.

Chase Ringheimer paced the defense with seven tackles, while Schiller and Mullaney added five apiece.

“Everybody plays together so well,” added Hughes on his team’s ability to run the ball and get stops defensively. “We’re having a lot of fun, people communicate well, there is a lot of chemistry; so all those things.”

For Elk-Point Jefferson (3-6), Donelan went 11-of-17 for 28 yards and Brody Weavill ran for 26 yards.

Sioux Valley is host to Aberdeen Roncalli (5-4) in the quarterfinals on Thursday. The Cavaliers beat Mobridge-Pollock 27-9 in the first round.

Notes: The Cossacks built a 48-0 lead through three quarters in a 48-19 defeat of the Huskies on Oct. 6 in Volga. … Sioux Valley is in the postseason for the fourth consecutive season, posting a 4-3 record during that stretch. The Cossacks reached the semifinals in 2015 and the quarterfinals in 2016.

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