Ramblings from the DakotaDome

Observations and unsanctioned opinions from Saturday night’s Class 11AA state championship game, which #1 Washington won over #2 Brandon Valley, 35-20.

*I’m including some pictures taken by P&D sports editor James Cimburek – view the entire gallery HERE

Washington’s Nate Gerry chases Brandon Valley’s Matt Vandeberg early in the 11AA title game

– With the scoreless first quarter in the title game, Washington went the entire season without allowing a single first-period point. The Warriors outscored their opposition 173-0 in the first quarter for their 12 total games in 2012.

-Think that last stat sounds impressive? Well, Washington also outscored opponents 353-33 in the first half, and 10 of those opponent’s points came in Saturday’s game.

-Saturday night’s game was the second time this year that Washington allowed 20 points in a contest – the other being a September 28th scare against Pierre (a 27-20 win in which they committed 6 turnovers). The Warriors allowed a total of 41 points in their other 10 games.

-Brandon Valley entered the contest with their own impressive point margin, averaging a spread of 41-11 through their 11 victories.

Brandon Valley QB Chase Marso fires a first-half pass

-Entering Saturday’s game, the Lynx were out-rushed 1,529-1,048; but they averaged 4 yards per carry compared to allowing only 3.9 per carry. Through the air, the Lynx out-gained opponents 2,887-1,258.

-Senior QB Chase Marso accounted for 2,698 of those 2,887 passing yards.

-Marso set new 11AA championship game records with 34 completions, 63 attempts and 454 yards. The old record for pass completions was 23. Marso had 18 by HALFTIME!

-Brandon’s Tony Tripp had 138 carries for 861 yards (5.9 average) and 15 touchdowns entering Saturday’s game. He finished the title game with 3 yards on 4 carries.

Brandon Valley’s Matt Vandeberg shakes off Nate Gerry for a 27-yard touchdown reception midway through the second quarter

-Washington held a 14-10 halftime lead despite being out-gained 227-76 in the first half and trailing BV in first downs 12-4 and time of possession, 16:20 – 7:40.

-A true testament to their athleticism, both Vandeberg and Gerry handled punting duties for their respective teams.

-Gerry punted two times, averaging 52 yards, including a 55-yard booming kick that got the Warrior faithful more fired up than fans usually are for a punt.

-Brandon fans were rightfully upset when Washington’s Chris Parker fumbled a punt return right into teammate Zac Freese’s hands. Freese returned the fumble all the way for a TD. Parker should have obviously been called down due to lack of forward progress, as he had already been pushed back 5 yards when he fumbled. It was not the only call (or noncall) to go against either team, but it was definitely the biggest.

Chase Marso fires a pass during the 11AA championship game

-Watching the Brandon Valley offense was very reminiscent of Mike Leach’s Texas Tech teams – and not just because of the similar uniforms. The Lynx spread out 4 and often times 5 receivers on almost every offense play. They had three players finish with at least 115 yards receiving.

-Washington struggled to consistently get pressure on Marso, but they were reluctant to blitz given the Lynx quarterback’s ability to pick apart secondaries.

-Brandon finished with 454 total yard of offense, all through the air. The Lynx gained zero net yards rushing off of 17 carries.

-Washington’s Jon Hander was 6-11 for 66 yards passing and a TD. The Warriors were much more successful on the ground, gaining 265 yards on 40 carries.

Washington’s Nate Gerry breaks free for a fourth quarter 42-yard TD run to put the Warriors up 35-20

-In the first 21 years of SD playoff football, Washington reached the DakotaDome just once, a 1987 loss. In the past 11 years, Washington has made 7 title game appearances – winning 3 championships – 2009, 2010, 2012

-Washington outscored Brandon Valley 21-0 over the last 13 minutes of game action; not bad for a group of players who were usually long gone from games by the end of the third quarter during a season full of blowouts.

-Following Friday night’s 47-0 thumping of Harrisburg by Dell Rapids, Saturday’s game was extremely entertaining and full of suspense until the Washington sealed the victory on a late Nate Gerry interception.

-These two teams will return a combined 9 starters next year from Saturday’s game (WHS – 4; BV – 5), meaning next year’s 11AA & 11AAA title chase should be wide open!

-Congrats to both teams, their players, coaches, fans and communities on a wildly entertaining finale to a pair of successful seasons. It is a shame that the Lynx had to lose their final game of the season, because this Brandon squad is anything but losers and they should be proud of their accomplishments in 2012.

Washington’s Danny Marlette (25) celebrates his second quarter score to put the Warriors up 7-0

Comments/questions/concerns/smart remarks directed to sports@yankton.net

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