Governors fend off Bobcats in 11AA final

Sean Welsh/Register: Above, Brookings defenders Rhett Zelinsky (15), Brady Ammann (44), Cole Mahlum, Caden McKeown (38), Wes Koenig (40), Theo Burns (8) and Gus Miller (50) swarm Pierre quarterback Garrett Stout during the second quarter of the Bobcats’ 32-16 loss to the Governors in the Class 11AA championship game Friday afternoon at Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium. The ‘Cats finished the season with a 10-2 record.

BROOKINGS – The Bobcats battled but the Governors were just too much.

Garrett Stout scored three second-half touchdowns and top-seeded Pierre (12-0) won its third consecutive Class 11AA state title with a 32-16 defeat of Brookings on a warm fall Friday afternoon at Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium.

“It was a hard-fought game; we gave ourselves some opportunities,” said BHS coach Lee Schmidt. “We just didn’t make a few plays, you know, it came down to a game that was a first down here or not putting the ball where it needed to be there; not fitting on the outside, not wrapping up. It came down to just some little things.

“We came out in the second half and took the ball and scored and fought. I’m just really proud of the way the kids went out and battled today and really gave that last game their best – I think probably the best effort we’ve seen all year. We showed a lot of toughness. Give Pierre credit, they’re just a really good football team. They have some kids that just make plays a lot, and we just couldn’t quite overcome that today.”

Stout had a hand in all five of his team’s TDs.

He swung momentum back in the Governors’ favor with an 87-yard kick return for a touchdown midway through the third quarter after the Bobcats had pulled within 13-9.

“That’s my fault – we’ve been kicking right all the time and I decided to kick it away from Stout and we just didn’t get the ball away from him,” Schmidt noted. “I was changing up something that we’d worked on in practice and the situation of the game, so I kind of put (kicker) Payton (Theodosopoulos) in a bad position.

“It was big. We had just gained all the momentum – we make them drive again and, that was the biggest thing today was we just didn’t give up. We gave up some plays later on in the fourth quarter – I think we got a little tired – but other than that, we made them earn everything and we needed to do it there. That quick score kind of hurt.”

Stout ran 19 times for 132 yards and three scores while going 12-of-16 for 154 yards with a TD and an interception through the air. The South Dakota State baseball commit was voted the Jim Langer MVP and Most Outstanding Back.

Following the kick return, the Pierre defense forced a three-and-out.

Stout had a 12-yard completion to Zach Letellier and a 26-yard pass to Andrew Coverdale before running into the end zone from 13 yards out to make it 26-9 with 3:37 to play in the third.

The Bobcats countered with a 16-play, 80-yard drive to stay in it, as Carter Eidem’s 3-yard TD rush and Payton Theodosopoulos’ PAT kick cut the deficit to 26-16 with 9:51 remaining in the game.

But Stout and the Governors had another quick answer to all but seal the deal.

He hooked up with Coverdale for a 43-yard pickup, carried 9 yards and, following a personal foul penalty that moved the ball to the 8-yard-line, scampered to paydirt to provide for the final margin with 8:56 showing on the clock.

Pierre senior Grey Zabel, a North Dakota State commit, was the Most Outstanding Lineman.

River Iverson paced the defense with 10 tackles and Regan Bollweg added eight, including a pair of sacks.

For Brookings, Tanner Shepardson was 8-of-19 for 74 yards and ran for 40 yards.

Parker Rykhus picked up 56 yards on four receptions and added 18 yards on the ground with a score. Carter Eidem ran for 38 yards and a TD.

The Governors struck first with an 11-play, 80-yard march as Stout plunged in from a yard out at the 6:08 mark of the opening period. Carston Miller’s PAT kick made it 7-0.

Brookings went three-and-out on offense; however, Cole Mahlum popped Cade Hinkle on the punt return and Jackson Krogman pounced on the fumble at the Pierre 29.

A pair of pass interference penalties – the latter of which came on fourth-and-12 at the 21 – set up Theodosopoulos’ 27-yard field goal with 2:35 to go in the first.

Pierre answered with another long drive – 80 yards on 15 plays, spanning 7:41. Stout found Josh Rowe for a 9-yard touchdown to put the Governors ahead 13-3.

That’s where the score stood heading to halftime.

The Bobcats put together their best drive of the game out of the break, moving 80 yards on 14 plays.

Rykhus battled his way over the goal line from a yard out on fourth down to pull Brookings within 13-9 at 6:10 in the third.

Stout followed with the big kick return. Miller kicked the PAT to make it 20-9.

Caden McKeown recorded a game-high 12 tackles for the Bobcats. Brady Ammann added eight stops and Mahlum six to go with two forced fumbles and a pass breakup.

Koby Bartels intercepted a pass and returned it to the Pierre 48 late in the second period; however, Brookings ended up punting.

Brookings, the No. 2 seed, finished with a 10-2 record.

“We got a lot of kids that took positions and kept those positions all year,” said Schmidt. “We had a lot of kids that got into games to get varsity experience. We learned an awful lot about ourselves and the peak performance about buying in and being a part of a team and sometimes doing the tough things – thinking about others first and all those things that are part of what we want to do. I thought we showed a lot of toughness all year long. And we showed that simple sometimes is effective and our kids believed in what we did and trusted in what we were teaching them and that’s a good team.

“That was a fun team to coach and I think they reaped the benefits of it at the end. And we got into a game with Pierre that we gave ourselves chances.

“I think a season like that, finishing with that many wins and really dominating the competion – we’ll take that.”

Notes: The Governors beat the Bobcats 54-6 in the regular-season meeting Oct. 11 in Pierre. … Pierre averaged 89.2 yards on five kick returns this season, returning all of them for TDs – four by Stout and one by Raske. … Stout finished the season with 38 touchdown tosses to go with 23 scoring runs, four kick returns and a pick-six. … The Governors outscored their opponents a combined 710-89 (59.17-7.42 average) this season, including 516-9 (43-0.75) in the first half. West Central was the only other team to record first-half points. … Pierre improved to 4-1 in title games – all 11AA. The Governors won in 2013, 2017 and 2018 and were second in 1988. … Brookings dropped to 2-4 in championship contests – all 11AA. The Bobcats won in 1983 and 2000 and were runners-up in 1998, 2001 and 2014. … Brookings allowed 65 points in eight games at DJDS this year, going 7-1.

No. 1 PIERRE 32, No. 2 BROOKINGS 16

Brookings (10-2) 3  0    6  7    16

Pierre       (12-0) 7  6  13  6    32

First Quarter

P – Garrett Stout 1 run (Carston Miller kick), 6:08

B – Payton Theodosopoulos 27 FG, 2:35

Second Quarter

P – Josh Rowe 9 pass from Stout (kick failed), 6:54

Third Quarter

B – Parker Rykhus 1 run (kick failed), 6:10

P – Stout 87 kick return (Miller kick), 5:57

P – Stout 13 run (kick failed), 3:37

Fourth Quarter

B – Carter Eidem 3 run (Theodosopoulos kick), 9:51

P – Stout 8 run (kick failed), 8:56

B P

First Downs 12 19

Plays-Yards 57-170 47-319

Rushes-Yards 38-96 31-165

C-A-Int.-Yards 8-19-0-74 12-16-1-154

Fumbles-Lost 2-0 2-1

Penalties-Yards 8-55 4-43

Punts-Avg. 6-34 2-44.5

Kickoffs-Avg.-TB 4-48.8-2 6-57.3-3

Punt Returns-Yards-TD 0-0-0 1-(-2)-0

Kickoff Returns-Yards-TD 3-64-0 1-87-1

INT Returns-Yards-TD 1-9-0 0-0-0

Fumble Returns-Yards-TD 0-0-0 0-0-0

Miscellaneous Yards 0 0

Possession Time 24:27 23:33

Third-down Conversions 5-of-14 2-of-6

Fourth-down Conversions 2-of-2 1-of-1

Red Zone chances-TD-FG 3-2-1 5-4-0

Sacks By-Yards 0-0 2-19

Field Goals 1-for-1 0-for-0

RUSHING: B – Tanner Shepardson 13-40, Carter Eidem 16-38, Parker Rykhus 5-18, Preston Helmbolt 3-1, TEAM 1-(-1). P – Garrett Stout 19-132, Maguire Raske 11-37, TEAM 1-(-2).

PASSING: B – Tanner Shepardson 8-19-0-74. P – Garrett Stout 12-16-1-154.

RECEIVING: B – Parker Rykhus 4-56, Jackson Krogman 2-22, Carter Eidem 1-4, Preston Helmbolt 1-(-8). P – Andrew Coverdale 4-83, Josh Rowe 3-20, Maguire Raske 2-11, Regan Bollweg 1-17, Zach Letellier 1-12, Matt Lusk 1-11.

DEFENSE: B – Caden McKeown 12 tackles, TFL; Brady Ammann 8 tackles, .5 TFL; Cole Mahlum 6 tackles, 2 FF, PBU; Matt Girard 5 tackles; Wes Koenig 5 tackles; Jackson Krogman 4 tackles, FR; Rhett Zelinsky 3 tackles, TFL; Joe Prusa 3 tackles; Koby Bartels 2 tackles, INT; Preston Helmbolt 2 tackles; Gus Miller 2 tackles; Max Struck 1 tackle. P – River Iverson 10 tackles, TFL; Regan Bollweg 8 tackles, 2.5 TFL, 2 sacks; Chase Sattgast 6 tackles, 1.5 TFL, FF, PBU; Cobey Carr 6 tackles; Cade Hinkle 6 tackles; Gunnar Gehring 4 tackles, TFL; Matt Lusk 3 tackles, PBU; Josh Rowe 3 tackles; Grey Zabel 2 tackles, TFL; Andrew Coverdale 2 tackles; Josh Rowse 2 tackles; Colling Brueggeman 2 tackles; Preston Taylor tackle, .5 TFL; Zach Letellier tackle; Garrett Stout tackle.

Below 1: Brookings’ Parker Rykhus (33) breaks a tackle while picking up 24 yards on a reception during third quarter action. The senior later capped the drive with a 1-yard touchdown plunge on fourth down. (Sean Welsh/Register)

Below 2: Brookings’ Carter Eidem runs through the tackle attempt of Pierre’s River Iverson (30) at the goal line to plunge in for a fourth-quarter TD during the Bobcats’ 32-16 loss to the Governors in the Class 11AA title game Friday afternoon at Dana J. Dykhouse. (Jason Salzman/salzmanstudios.com)

Below 3: Bobcat quarterback Tanner Shepardson runs downfield in front of Joe Prusa (77). (Sean Welsh/Register)

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Sean Welsh/Register: Above, Brookings defenders Rhett Zelinsky (15), Brady Ammann (44), Cole Mahlum, Caden McKeown (38), Wes Koenig (40), Theo Burns (8) and Gus Miller (50) swarm Pierre quarterback Garrett Stout during the second quarter of the Bobcats’ 32-16 loss to the Governors in the Class 11AA championship game Friday afternoon at Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium. The ‘Cats finished the season with a 10-2 record.


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