BY JEREMY HOECK
For what it’s worth, here are my picks for the South Dakota State high school football championship games later this week in Vermillion.
Picks are in order of games.
CLASS 11A: Dell Rapids (10-1) vs. West Central (10-1)
Dell Rapids beat West Central 35-18 in their regular season meeting, but that was back in week two. Since then, the Trojans have been on fire and haven’t lost since.
While West Central has scored 28, 30 and 34 points in the playoffs, the Quarriers have rolled up 56, 47 and 41 points.
For that reason, I’m taking Dell Rapids
CLASS 11B: Tri-Valley (11-0) vs. McCook Central/Montrose (10-1)
I think a lot of people are surprised to see No. 6 McCook Central/Montrose in the championship game. The Fighting Cougars beat defending champion Flandreau in the first round and have to win road games at Groton Area and Winner to get to the Dome.
Their biggest challenge comes Thursday against Tri-Valley, which has rolled in all three playoff games.
Still, I’m going with the mild upset here: McCook Central/Montrose
CLASS 9B: Waverly-South Shore (11-0) vs. Avon (10-1)
Nobody has been able to slow down Waverly-South Shore this season, as the Zemlicka trio (Taylor, Tyson and Brent) have run over, around and through every defense.
On the flip side, Avon has used the running attack of Jackson Powers to get to the Dome once again. Though, I would have to argue that the Pirates haven’t really faced an offense like the Coyotes.
I’ll go with Waverly-South Shore
CLASS 9A: Canistota (11-0) vs. Wall (11-0)
To me, this matchup screams of schedule.
Canistota has rolled over everyone this season, including Bridgewater-Emery-Ethan (by 8), Hanson and Viborg-Hurley. In the 42-0 semifinal win over Hanson, the Hawks rushed for 329 yards — about par for the course for this offense.
Wall, meanwhile, hasn’t faced nearly the same level of competition, including in the playoffs.
I’ll take Canistota in a rout
CLASS 9AA: Bridgewater-Emery-Ethan (10-1) vs. Kimball-White Lake (9-2)
These two teams met in the regular season, in early October, with BEE cruising 42-14.
In the playoffs, BEE has scored 68, 46 and 50 points and has allowed just six over the last two games.
Kimball-White Lake boasts a pretty salty rushing attack led by Seth Carsten and Trevor Reinesch, but I don’t see it being enough in the championship game.
I think Bridgewater-Emery-Ethan rolls
CLASS 11AA: Roosevelt (10-1) vs. Washington (9-2)
Since suffering back-to-back losses to Sioux Falls opponents in early September, Washington hasn’t lost — winning nine straight to make a fifth consecutive championship game appearance.
Roosevelt, meanwhile, needed a last second field goal to beat Brandon Valley in the quarterfinals and edged O’Gorman 23-16 in the semifinals. I don’t see the Rough Riders as having enough on offense to contend with Washington’s DaVonte Clay.
I’ll go with Washington