The seventh week of high school is short on truly compelling matchups, but a clash of two possibly Class 11AAA playoff teams and further skirmishing in the top half of Class 11A give area fans plenty of storylines to follow.
Washington (6-0) vs. Watertown (2-4), 5 p.m.
The Warriors won’t face another Sioux Falls area team until they get Roosevelt on the last Friday of the regular season, and with the majority of talent concentrated in southeastern part of the state this year, Washington has a fairly straightforward path to being undefeated heading into that game. Both of the Arrows’ wins this year have come on the road, but their home losses — 40-0 to Brandon Valley and 31-13 to O’Gorman, among others — are more telling.
IAN’S PICK: Washington
Harrisburg (4-2) vs. Douglas (2-4), 5:30 p.m.
Harrisburg gets back to facing Class 11AA opponents this weekend, and the Tigers should have an easy time with the Patriots, whose two wins have come against Sturgis Brown and Brookings, both of whom are winless this year.
IAN’S PICK: Harrisburg
Tea Area (6-0) vs. West Central (3-3), 7 p.m.
The ranks of unbeaten teams in Class 11A were narrowed last week when Sioux Falls Christian fell to Madison, and the Titans are one of three schools, along with the Bulldogs and St. Thomas More, remaining in that group. The Trojans haven’t scored a win against an upper-echelon team in the class yet, so Tea Area should be able to carry that undefeated record into its big matchup next week against Madison.
IAN’S PICK: Tea Area
O’Gorman (4-2) vs. Rapid City Stevens (3-3), 7 p.m.
The first game of the Jayson Poppinga era at O’Gorman was in Rapid City, on the road against the Central Cobblers. The Knights won that game with a 19-0 shutout, and while Stevens looks like the stronger of West River’s two 11AAA teams, their not-great defense won’t give O’Gorman, which is finding more offensive momentum every week, much of a challenge.
IAN’S PICK: O’Gorman
Sioux Falls Christian (5-1) at Vermillion (0-6), 7 p.m.
The lack of life on offense that the Chargers showed in their loss last week to Madison was certainly discouraging, but Sioux Falls Christian’s defense stood strong in the defeat, pressuring Bulldogs quarterback Josh Giles and covering Madison’s receivers well before fatigue and lack of depth got to the Chargers in the second half. It will be a surprise if they allow double-digit points to Vermillion, a team that managed just 12 over the past two weeks.
IAN’S PICK: Sioux Falls Christian
Lennox (0-6) vs. Dakota Valley (4-2), 7 p.m.
Dakota Valley dropped to 1-2 on the season after a week three loss to Tea Area, but the Panthers have reeled off three straight wins since then, including a 40-8 thrashing of Canton, who was 3-1 at the time. Lennox has yet to be fully competitive in a game, although they did manage a season-high 13 points against West Central last week.
IAN’S PICK: Dakota Valley
Madison (6-0) vs. Canton (3-3), 7 p.m.
After facing its toughest opponent of the season in Sioux Falls Christian, the Bulldogs get a much easier test in a Canton squad that has dropped its last two games by 32 and 28 points after starting the season at 3-1. Madison has allowed a point total in the double digits just once this year.
IAN’S PICK: Madison
Dell Rapids (4-2) vs. Milbank Area (5-1), 7 p.m.
Both of Dell Rapids’ losses this season have come to teams that currently sit at 6-0 on the year, and the Quarriers have allowed just 13 points combined in their four wins. Milbank Area has one of the more deceptive records in the state — the Bulldogs have only played Class 11B opponents this year, and their 35-3 win against Redfield/Doland is their only legitimate blowout victory.
IAN’S PICK: Dell Rapids
Roosevelt (6-0) vs. Brandon Valley (4-2), 8 p.m.
Brandon Valley appears to be have settled into a groove in recent weeks, with a strong win over Harrisburg and a thrashing of Rapid City Central. That might not matter, though, against Roosevelt, who has yet to play a close game and remains fairly healthy at this point in the season.
IAN’S PICK: Roosevelt
Lincoln (2-4) at Rapid City Central (1-5), 8 p.m.
The Patriots are hanging around the top half of Class 11AAA, but that’s mostly due to the extreme imbalance in the classification. The loss to Aberdeen Central was unconvincing, if understandable due to a sudden rash of injuries. The walloping at home at the hands of Mitchell was more concerning. A loss to Rapid City Central would be without recent precedent.
IAN’S PICK: Lincoln