2023 South Dakota High School Football Championship Previews

The 2023 South Dakota High School football championships are upon us. I'll break down each game with stats plus analysis from anonymous coaches from across the state. These coaches give great insight into the pivotal keys to the game and what are the most important things to watch for. 

Championship Schedule

Thursday, November 9

Class 9B    10:00 AM CT     #1 Avon (9-2) vs. #2 Faulkton Area (10-1)

Class 9A      2:00 PM CT     #1 Warner (11-0) vs. #7 Deubrook Area (8-3)

Class 9AA     7:00 PM CT     #1 Parkston (11-0) vs. #3 Howard (10-1)

Friday, November 10

Class 11B     10:00 AM CT     #4 Elk Point-Jefferson (10-1) vs. #6 Hot Springs (10-1)

Class 11A     2:00 PM CT     #1 Dell Rapids (11-0) vs. #2 West Central (10-1)

Class 11AA     7:00 PM CT     #1 Pierre T.F. Riggs (10-1) vs. #2 Yankton (10-1)

Saturday, November 11

Class 11AAA     7:30 PM CT     #1 Sioux Falls Lincoln (11-0) vs. #3 O’Gorman (9-2)



Avon vs. Faulkton Area











Faulkton Area





Avon Leaders: 

Paxton Bierema     18-36, 385 yds, 7 TD, 4 INT; 62 rush, 342 yds, 2 TD; 87 tkls, 3 DEF INT

Aziah Meyer     173 rush, 1669 yds, 33 TD; 2 rec, 56 yds, TD

Landon Thury     8 rec, 150 yds, 3 TD

Landon Mudder     62 rush, 342 yds, 2 TD

Tyler Tjeerdsma     101 rush, 782 yds, 8 TD; 3 DEF INT, 2 FF

Terran Talsma     104 tkls, 4 sacks, 7 TFL, 5 FR, TD

Al’Shamon Gunter      74 tkls, 2 sacks, 4 TFL

Faulkton Area Leaders:

Layne Cotton     60-109, 1134 yds, 16 TD, 4 INT; 74 rush, 469 yds, 12 TD

Garrett Cramer     102 rush, 947 yds, 16 TD; 10 rec, 150 yds, 2 TD

Charlie Deiter     23 rec, 492 yds, 8 TD; 81 tkls, 3 sacks, 7 TFL, 3 DEF INT

Spencer Melius     14 rec, 294 yds, 8 TD; 68 tkls, 6 TFL, 6 DEF INT

Landon Coyle     27 rush, 246 yds, 6 TD

"I am excited about this match-up. I think they are evenly matched on what they do to attack teams offensively and defensively. I think they are both well coached and disciplined teams."
"Avon thrives off momentum, and if Faulkton can get a few big plays on them early it will be tough. Avon is a lot more physical than I thought. Azaiah Meyer is a lot faster and more powerful than I expected. As long as Faulkton can stop Meyer, I believe they'll win."
"I think Avon has the better overall team and they have a lot of confidence coming into this. Faulkton is going to have their hands full with the option. Whichever team is able to stop the run inside and out will have the win."
"The passing game really shouldn’t be a factor, they both are very similar and not strong passing teams. I think Avon has the more athletic team to get to the ball wherever it is; Faulkton seems to be more disciplined, but struggles on the outside. I am going with Avon for the win, but it could go either way."


Deubrook vs. Warner














 222.9  135.2

Deubrook Leaders: 

Jace Vomacka     63-99, 1114 yds, 13 TD, 2 INT; 36 rush, 270 yds, 3 TD

Gavin Landmark     154 rush, 1256 yds, 25 TD;75 tkls, 2 sacks, 13 TFL

Devon Landmark     72 tkls, 3 FR

Dylan Rios     71 tkls, 9 TFL

Jaxon Quail     18 rush, 273 yds, 5 TD

Jacob Jorenby     23 rec, 585 yds, 8 TD; 3 DEF INT, 2 FF

JP Rogness     2 PR TD; 3 TFL, 2 DEF INT; 6 rec, 131 yds, TD

Warner Leaders:

Hunter Cramer: 120 rush, 1134 yds, 27 TD; 90-128, 12 TD, 6 INT; 67 tkls, 3 DEF INT

Jesiah Baum     46 rush, 432 yds, 11 TD; 27 rec, 388 yds,

Charlie Dulany:    59 rush, 309 yds, 7 TD; 5 rec, 29 yds

Devon Fischbach     21 rec, 357 yds, 3 TD; 3 DEF INT

Alex Pudwill     25 tkls, 6 sacks

Brodey Sauerwein    19 rec, 309 yds, 4 TD

Payton Volk: 14 rec, 251 yds, 8 TD; 25 rush, 187 yd

"I think Warner is probably the best nine man team in the state."
"It will be interesting to see how Deubrook will try to defend Warner. It will be interesting to see if there are any matchups that make a difference in the game."



Howard vs. Parkston














290.4  45.5

Howard Leaders: 

Taiden Hoyer     46-71, 865 yds,17 TD, 2 INT; 82 rush, 881 yds, 12 TD; 6 DEF INT

Karsyn Feldhaus     113 rush, 904 yds, 9 TD; 4 DEF INT

Tate Miller     92 rush, 810 yds, 7 TD

Jackson Remmers      82 rush, 948 yds, 10 TD; 3 rec, 70 yds, 3 TD; 66 tkls

Luke Koepsell     18 rec, 409 yds, 9 TD; 9 sacks, 75 tkls, 

Weston Remmers     13 rec, 268 yds, 4 TD

Kade Grocott     50 tkls, 5 sacks

Parkston Leaders:

Luke Bormann:  82 rush, 1059 yds, 14 TD; 8 rec, 132 yds, 4 TD

Brayden Jervik: 79 rush, 670 yds, 13 TD; 51 tkls, 4 TFL, 2 DEF INT, FF

Kolter Kramer: 40 rush, 531 yds, 7 TD

Carter Sommer: 18-37, 361 yds 9 TD

Will Jodozi: 67 tkls, 5.5 sacks, 19 TFL, FF

Jaron Nesheim: 37 tkls, DEF INT, PR TD

"Look for Howard to try to steal some possessions but Parkston is the better overall team. I think Howard can hang around a while if their Offensive Line can win at the point of attack."
"I think both teams mirror each other which can sometimes lead to a close game as both defenses see that style of offense every day in practice. Example is Hanson vs Parkston this year. Both double wing smash mouth football teams."



Elk Point-Jefferson vs. Hot Springs











Hot Springs





Elk Point-Jefferson Leaders: 

Keaton Gale     88-150, 1407 yds, 18 TD, 4 INT; 79 rush, 399 yds, 3 TD; 3 DEF INT

Jake Gale     99 rush, 683 yds, 10 TD

Gunner Ewing     60 rush, 325 yds, 6 TD; 2 FF

Garrett Merkley     40 rush, 477 yds, 8 TD; 23 rec, 315 yds, 3 TD; 2 FF; 2 KR TD

Carson Timmins     20 rec, 346 yds, 4 TD

Ashton Fairbanks     18 rec, 428 yds, 9 TD; 5.5 TFL

Evan Fornia     39.5 tkls, 5.5 TFL

Hudson Kempf     21.5 tkls, 4.5 TFL, 2 FF

Hot Springs  Leaders: 

Colin Iverson      24-46, 421 yds, 6 TD; 59 rush, 188 yds, 6 TD; 6 DEF INT

Camron Maciejewski      135 rush, 1568 yds, 25 TD; 97 tkls, 15 TFL, 3 sacks

Braden Peterson      59 rush, 702 yds, 13 TD; 10 rec, 178 yds, TD; 3 DEF INT; KR TD

Caleb Rickenbach      60 tkls, 13.5 sacks, 15 TFL

"Hot Springs is going to run the ball, but a big portion of their yardage comes after contact. You must limit their run after contact."
"The Huskies use of multiple formations/motions/shifts can keep opponents looking at the wrong keys and catch them by surprise with an effective screen or misdirection play.  Their OL plays physical football.  Their backs run hard and make good decisions in the open field.  The QB runs their system really well as both a runner and a passer.  The weak spot in their game may be excessive penalties, misalignments, and dropped passes by TEs.  The Bison will have to capitalize on those miscues if they are going to slow-down this offense.  Hot Springs can match EP/J size and physical play with their defense.  They did an outstanding job against St. Thomas More’s passing attack, so they are capable.  Discipline in their assignments/reads will go a long way to their success."
"Hot Springs has a physical OL that can run or pass block effectively.  Their QB is a true dual-threat player in their system.  Their RBs (especially #1) run hard and have good speed.  Their passing game is excellent as well and can stretch the field, which opens up running plays and their short passes.  They will need to be multi-dimensional when facing EP/J.  Coach Terry’s crew plays with the same physicality they show up front on offense.  They cover well, mixing man & zone schemes effectively.  The front-8 has good gap discipline and can be tough to move.  Just like their offense, they can hurt themselves with penalties/misalignments that come from being so aggressive.  Hot Springs will need to be effective with draws/screens/misdirection to take advantage of these errors."
“EPJ is a hard team to prepare for. They do an excellent job with their shifts. Both teams are very well coached and do a lot of different things”
Non-Anonymous Coach Dan Hughes: "There are two major factors that give Elk Point a competitive advantage. First is scheme, most notably the ability to run counter and throw effectively.  The second factor is fact that they have been there before and understand the situation. This can be very advantageous but HOLD ON.....  Elk Point won the title last year as the "new guy" over Winner, and Hot Springs' defense can be the difference maker."



Class 11A

West Central vs. Dell Rapids






West Central





Dell Rapids






West Central Leaders: 

Caden Alfson     33-63, 609 yds, 8 TD, 5 INT; 31 rush, 132 yds, 2 TD

Chet Carda    93 rush, 686 yds, 9 TD; 149 tkls, 7 sacks, 18 TFL

Chandler Carda    96 tkls, 7 TFL

Jude Jarding    43 rush, 483 yds, 9 TD

Aiden Bartmann    82 rush, 478 yds, 4 TD

Jesse Jost    61 rush, 415 yds, 6 TD

Layton Johnson    11 rush, 259 yds, 4 TD; 9 rec, 188 yds, 4 TD

Crew Heier    11 rec, 207 yds, TD; 63 tkls, 5 TFL

Keaton Vessells    49 tkls, 6 sacks, 14 TFL, 2 FF

Dell Rapids Leaders:

Jack Henry    43-65, 856 yds, 8 TD; 35 rush, 292 yds, 3 TD

Mason Stubbe    126 rush, 1563 yds, 29 TD; 10 rec, 219 yds, 2 TD; 48 tkls, 5 TFL, 2 INT

Cole Ruesink    61 rush, 699 yds, 9 TD; 18 rec, 423 yds, 5 TD; 2 INT

Sutton Williams    40 rush, 215 yds, 7 TD; 5 TFL

Aiden Geraets    70 tkls, 5 TFL, DEF INT, FR

Treyse Eastman    45 tkls, 6 sacks, 10 TFL, 2 FR

Quinn Carr    31 tkls, 4 sacks, 8 TFL


“Both teams are extremely physical and very soundly coached.”
"Both teams have very similar styles on offense and defense. It should be a good old fashioned ground and pound game. However, Dell Rapids has more explosive playmakers and they're not afraid to spread it out and let Jack Henry throw or run. I expect Dell Rapids to win by a couple scores."
"The ultimate battle on the ground, both teams average less than 6 passes a game, but don’t be surprised if they are able to make big plays in the passing game once they get to the dome. Last year they both threw more than expected (31 total passes)."



Yankton vs. Pierre
















Yankton Leaders: 

Lucas Kampschoff172-283, 2540 yds, 21 TD, 9 INT; 78 rush, 350 yds, 11 TD

Shaylor Platt48 rush, 299 yds, 2 TD

Evan Serck161 rush, 798 yds, 8 TD

Tucker Gilmore42 rec, 748 yds, 5 TD; 5 DEF INT, 8 PBU

Carson Ness41 rec, 624 yds, 3 TD; 4 DEF INT

Austin Gobel26 rec, 344 yds, 5 TD; 2 DEF INT

Cohan Zharbock10 rec, 138 yds, 3TD

Tyson Prouty6.5 sacks

Matthew Sheldon108 tkls, 3.5 sacks, 12 TFL

Pierre Leaders: 

Cade Kaiser     132-206,2082 yds, 29 TD, 6 INT; 120 rush, 892 yds, 8 TD

Jett Zabel     55 rec, 966 yds, 17 TD; 25 rush, 136 yds, 5 TD

George Stalley      28 rec, 493 yds, 5 TD

Trey Lewis      75 rush, 573 yds, 7 TD

Brock Moser      58 rush, 420 yds, 6 TD

Emmit Andersen     6 sacks, 49.5 tkls, 17.5 TFL

Elijah Boutchee      25.5 tkls, 4 sacks, 7.5 TFL

Chance Carda      61.5 tkls, 6.5 TFL

Spencer Easland      4 DEF INT

“These are 2 very different teams offensively Yankton will go as fast as possible and try to get as many plays as they can.  Pierre will try to gain a numbers advantage weather that is right / left or inside or outside the box. Both teams are balanced run pass attacks and will go with what every you give them.  I think Pierre has more playmakers offensively and Yankton will struggle to defend the run with that being said if Yankton loads up to defend the run Piere will throw the ball all over.”
“On Defense these teams are a lot alike they are both 3 front high pressure teams.  This is where Yankton might have a bit on an advantage Pierre has not played a high tempo offence for a long time if Yankton can get rolling early they can wear down a defense.”
“Special teams could be a major factor in this game. Pierre can score however they are not great on KO so Yankton will get very good field position every time they start.  Pierre has a good extra point kicker but they will have a hard time will mid to long field goals.”
“This game has potential to be a very good game and come down to the end if it does I will give the edge to Pierre they know how to win and have been in this situation many times.  I could also see this game being a 2-3 TD game in Pierres favor.”
“I believe the edge right now goes to Pierre. They have been there and know what to expect and how to prepare. They are, as stated earlier, the king of the hill until someone takes them down.”
“I am looking at this maybe being one of the better games in Vermillion.”


O’Gorman vs. Lincoln
















O’Gorman Leaders: 

Hayden Groos     183-295, 2565 yds, 30 TD, 6 INT

Maverick Jones     168 rush, 1216 yds, 19 TD; 30 rec, 362 yds, 4 TD; 3 DEF INT

Ryland Satter      63 rec, 689 yds, 12 TD; 19 rush, 202 yds, 2 TD

Sullivan Schlimgen     27 rec, 448 yds, 4 TD; 88 tkls, 10 TFL

Henry Theobald     25 rec, 512 yds, 4 TD

Josh Woelfel     82 tkls, 11.5 TFL

Noah Vandel     7.5 TFL, 3 sacks, INT (TD)

Lincoln Leaders: 

Tate Schafer     177-241, 2560 yds, 40 TD, 5 INT; 53 rush, 251 yds, 4TD

Dreavin Hodge     88 rush, 589 yds, 9TD

Jack Smith     66 rec, 1118 yds, 21 TD; 3 special teams TD

Isaac Jarovski      57 rec, 653 yds, 11TD

Dawson Siem      30 rec, 379 yds, 5TD

Mikey Roche     20 rec, 370 yds, 4TD

Sawyer Tolk      54 tkls, 2 INT

Brycen Mitchell     52 tkls, 8 TFL

Reuben Diehyee     6.5 sacks

“Against a team like Lincoln, mistakes get amplified. Turnovers, missed tackles, missed opportunities etc. Can OG limit mistakes,  make the play when it needs to be made, and make Lincoln earn everything.”
“Satter, Jones, Schlimgen, Groos are all great players- they need to be on the field the whole game for OG to have a chance, can they do that and still be effective?”
 “I think Lincoln will end up winning, but I do think it will be a competitive game, BV showed that Lincoln is not unbeatable. Like I said before, OG gets to the fourth with a chance to win anything can happen, can they get out to a big lead and hang on, or go blow for blow for three quarters and put pressure on Lincoln?”



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