ESPN 99.1 Game of Week: President’s Bowl
The best high school football players from Sioux Falls will take the field on Saturday evening at the 22nd Annual President's Bowl.
All four Sioux Falls schools won their first games last week, and take the top four spots in the ESPN 99.1/KELOLAND Sports/KBHB Radio high school football rankings. Roosevelt (45 votes, 9 first-place votes) was voted into first place, followed by Lincoln, Washington and O'Gorman.
In the first game on Saturday, O'Gorman faces off against Lincoln. The Knights are coming off a 34-9 victory over Rapid City Stevens, while the Patriots dominated Rapid City Central, 55-19.
O'Gorman will be without quarterback Tanner Schulte against the Patriots, as Schulte broke his ankle last week. O'Gorman will now start sophomore Luke Fritsch, and Knights head coach Steve Kueter says it will be tough losing Schulte, as he was a two-way player at quarterback and defensive back. "It's a big hole, but it's something we'll have to work with."
Looking ahead to the Patriots, Kueter felt good about last week's win and says there is room for improvement. "I felt good about our offensive line, we did good getting off the ball, but didn't handle the ball well. We can work on our pass defense. (Rapid City Stevens) threw the ball a lot. High school football is about improvement every week."
The Knights main challenge on Saturday afternoon will be to stop the Patriots run game. "(Lincoln) is very good offensively, running and throwing. If they come out and are able to run the ball, we are going to have some difficulty," says Kueter.
For Lincoln, their run game was huge in last week's win against Rapid City Stevens. Running back Caden Quintanilla finished with 172 yards rushing and three touchdowns. Head coach Aaron Beavers was impressed with the Patriots ground game, and the offensive line that paved the way for Quintanilla. "The run game is very important. It opens up the pass, as the guys up front have to move bodies. (Against Rapid City Stevens) I thought our guys up front played well, and created holes."
This week against O'Gorman, Beavers says the Knights will be a tougher task for the Patriots. "We have to tackle much better. O'G is a whole different monster. They have really good team speed. We have to hold onto the football, and watch the turnovers and penalties."
Against O'Gorman, Beavers hopes the Patriots can match the Knights athleticism and speed. "(Against O'Gorman) we can't give up big plays because they'll grind it out and sooner rather than later, they'll slip into the secondary and turn it into six points."
In the nightcap, Washington snuck by Aberdeen Central, 19-17 and Roosevelt shutout Brandon Valley, 30-0.
Even though Washington only beat the Golden Eagles by two in the first installment of the ESPN 99.1 Game of the Week, head coach Chad Stadem was pleased with the way the Warriors won. "We came together as a team, even though we didn't play perfect, but won like we should have."
Coming up against Roosevelt, the Warriors have to get better fundamentally on offense and defense. Stadem would like the Warriors to look at what Washington does best, and then get better from there. "Prevent and create turnovers, pick up first downs, hang onto the football, and try and get Roosevelt to not do what they want to do."
Meanwhile, on the other sideline, Roosevelt is coming off a shutout on the road at Brandon Valley. Head coach Kim Nelson was impressed with his defense against the Lynx as the Rough Riders held Brandon Valley to under 200 yards and forced four turnovers.
On Saturday, the Rough Riders defense will be facing a tough defense against Washington, and Nelson hopes his offense will keep the defense rested. "On offense, we had some minor penalties that killed drives (against Brandon Valley). We have to be more focused out of the locker room and play better right away. Both teams (RHS and WHS) have good defenses, and we both struggled on offense last week. This week, we have to be consistent, and keep the defense rested."
Nelson pointed out the match-ups to watch against the Warriors are Roosevelt's offensive line against Washington's defensive front. "They are very quick, and aggressive."
All four Sioux Falls teams are playing on the big stage on Saturday, and all four coaches I spoke are excited that their kids get to play in front of a big crowd in a great atmosphere at Howard Wood. "The pageantry is real special, and if you're a fan, you get to see some great high school football," says Kueter.
The 22nd annual game is an event Beavers hopes the kids will cherish. "Millions of kids that play the game don't get the opportunity to play in front of such a large crowd that the President's Bowl brings."
O'Gorman will kick off the President's Bowl by facing Lincoln at 4 p.m., while Washington and Roosevelt will play under the lights at 7 p.m. Both games will be at Howard Wood Field.