It’s well-documented that Sioux Falls has placed four teams in the Class 11AA football semifinals the past two years, and the ESD wants to do something about that.
The longstanding league hasn’t sent a team to the DakotaDome since Aberdeen Central fell to Washington in 2009, but there appear to be three ESD teams to watch in the playoffs this season:
Brandon Valley – The second-ranked Lynx (6-0) have their best team in years and are a legitimate DakotaDome threat with multi-purpose weapon Matt Vandeberg leading the way.
With wins over O’Gorman and Lincoln on its resumé, Brandon Valley has proven it can beat the Sioux Falls schools (at least some of them) while easily handling lesser foes.
After hosting Aberdeen Central on Friday, Chad Garrow’s team will go for the ESD title when it visits Pierre and hosts Yankton in the final two weeks.
Yankton – The fourth-ranked Bucks (5-1) won their first five games but ran into defending champion Roosevelt on Friday night, falling 35-21 at Howard Wood Field.
Yankton trailed just 14-7 at halftime but was worn down by the Rough Riders in the second half while giving up 293 rushing yards for the game, including a 46-yard scamper by quarterback Taryn Christion.
The Bucks will get another stern test when they face Washington on Friday, followed by Mitchell and a trip to Brandon Valley that could decide the ESD crown.
Pierre – The Governors (4-2) got the state’s attention Friday by grabbing a 13-0 lead in the second quarter against top-ranked Washington in Pierre.
The Warriors ultimately rallied for a 27-20 victory, but Pierre is a team with a potent passing attack led by quarterback Alex Gray and receivers Lane Severyn and Austin Christopherson.
The Govs, whose only other loss came to Yankton, will finish up the season with games at Rapid City Stevens, home against Brandon Valley and at Watertown.
Among the signs you’re a bad referee, from CBS’s David Letterman:
* “Every call you make begins with ‘Uhhh…’
* “Can’t believe how many players’ autographs you’re getting.
* “Missed last three calls because beer vendor was slow giving you change.
* “You’re hated everywhere but Seattle.”