ESPN 99.1 Game of Week: Doubleheader Under the Lights
In a two-game nightcap under the lights on Friday, Rapid City Stevens opens against Lincoln and Roosevelt will take on Mitchell on a forecasted chilly evening at Howard Wood.
In the first game, the Lincoln Patriots welcome the Rapid City Stevens Raiders all the way from West River. The Patriots come into Friday's match-up as the No. 1 team in 11AAA and with a 5-0 record.
Lincoln is coming off a 28-7 victory over Brookings on the road. Overall against the Brookings, the Patriots shined through the air and on the ground, racking up 473 yards of total offense. Senior running back Caden Quintanilla had another big game for the Patriots, rushing 29 times for 215 yards and two touchdowns. He also caught four passes for 47 yards and a score. The senior running back has been a big part of the team's success in 2013, but the offensive line has been a factor into the Patriot's leadership on the field. "Our offensive line sets an example by how they play, and after that there's not a lot of vocal leaders, but a lot of hard workers. It's unique."
Against the Raiders, the Patriots will look to play their game. "We hope to get guys experience for depth down the road and play our game, We don't just play specific teams, but opponents. We want to play Patriot football."
The Raiders are 2-3 through five games and are led by first-year head coach Scott Hagen. Stevens is 0-2 against Sioux Falls teams so far this year; they fell 34-9 to O'Gorman and 36-0 to Washington earlier this season. Last week, the Raiders beat Spearfish, 15-12, behind sophomore quarterback Brandon Soucy. Soucy, who was called into the game after starting quarterback Austin Hagen was injured, led the Raiders to the victory by rushing for a five-yard touchdown and two-point conversion on the final drive of the game.
The Patriots play the Raiders at 5 p.m. at Howard Field tomorrow night.
In the second game, a couple of one-loss teams square off as Roosevelt hosts Mitchell. The Riders are coming off two wins after falling to Lincoln early in the season. Head coach Kim Nelson says the loss served as a wake-up call for the Riders. "We went into the game No.1 and had beaten Lincoln last year in the playoffs. We weren't as hungry or agressive. Lincoln pushed us around, and we hope we learned."
With three games remaining on the Riders schedule, and a 4-1 record, Nelson hopes his team can be more consistent on both sides of the ball. "On offense, we need to spread the ball around. It's centered around Taryn Christion and we need to be more consistent in the run. On defense, we need to be solid against the run, be active and continue to show different looks."
The Kernals will present a difficult challenge for the Riders on Friday, as they can confuse teams with several different looks. "They're good at misdirection, as you don't know when they're going to switch from the spread or I-formation." On the other side of the ball when the Riders line-up on defense, Roosevelt will have to be prepared to stop Mitchell from smashing the football at them.
"We have to know our assignments, adjust to formations, stop the run and put them in 3rd and long," says Nelson.
Meanwhile, on the other sideline, the Kernals will look to spoil the Riders, after having a bye last week. Mitchell is 3-1 through four games, and is averaging 141 rushing yards per game, but is just averaging 222 yards of total offense. Head coach Kent VanOverschelde says the Kernals still need to improve a few things to play at their highest level. "The offensive line needs to improve in their execution, play physical and stay healthy."
While the Kernals still need to improve in a few areas, VanOverschelde has really been satisfied with the way his quarterback and running back have matured over four games. "Kanin Nelson has made big strides at quarterback as a sophomore in his level of toughness, and junior running back Mitch Johnson has brought heart and passion to the team to rally behind."
Against the Riders, the Kernals will be tested. VanOverschelde says the key will be to keep Roosevelt's offense off the field. "They are explosive, they fly to the ball and come at you with a lot of individuals with speed. We have to adjust and make plays consistently."
Mitchell would obviously like to come away with a win in Sioux Falls on Friday night, but it's a game for VanOveschelde's squad to see where they are at. "We like the opportunity to come to Sioux Falls Roosevelt. They're one of the best, if not the best. It's another challenge to see where there at as a team. Were anxious coming off a week to see where were at as a football team."
Mitchell will play Roosevelt at 7 p.m. at Howard Wood following Lincoln and Rapid City Stevens. If you're going out to the game, be sure to bring your jackets and blankets, as it will be a chilly night under the lights. The game will also be called right here at ESPN 99.1 with Jeff Thurn and Jerry Palleschi on the call.