Game of the Week: President’s Bowl Takes Centers Stage Saturday Night
The 23rd President's Bowl kicks off Saturday night at Howard Wood Field between O'Gorman and Washington at 4 p.m., and Lincoln and Roosevelt at 7 p.m.
Both games have the making of fantastic football games. O'Gorman is coming off a loss to Lincoln last week and Washington nearly pulled off an upset, but fell to Roosevelt, 26-14 in a tight game.
In the first game, the Knights and Warriors is an interesting contest. O'Gorman lost a close game, 34-29 to Lincoln in the Dakota Bowl. It was a game that was in reach for the Knights, too. They trailed 7-6 after one, 14-9 at half, and 20-9 at the end of the third quarter. Then, O'Gorman outscored the Patriots in the fourth quarter by scoring 20 points. But Lincoln mustered out 14 points and was able to hold off the Knights. Junior quarterback Luke Fritsch led the charge for O'Gorman and passed for 163 yards and three scores. Jack Peery, one of Fritsch's top targets, had 105 yards with two scores. Dodi Makwinja ran for 105 yards and a touchdown to help balance the attack.
Sitting at 1-1, the Knights are in the middle of 11AAA and have learned a lot about their team early in the season.
"Running the football is our greatest strength and we are young team on both sides of the ball," says Kueter.
Looking forward to Saturday's early game at the President's Bowl, Kueter knows that even though the Washington is 0-2, the Knights cannot overlook the Warriors
"Washington is a much improved team from their first and second game. They have a new offense and are getting a feel for it. I think they are very good football team."
One of the Washington's strengths is their offensive game led by big tackle Matt Farniok. Warriors head coach Chad Stadem says that the unit hasn't played to their full potential yet and it's scary for opponents to think about.
"Our offensive line hasn't played to what it is capable of doing and when they do, I think you will see a charge in our team."
Washington lost a tough game in the first week, 7-6 to Aberdeen Central and then almost upset Roosevelt a week ago. On the positive note, Washington's rushing attack was spectacular behind their offensive line with 212 total yards and 104 from Logan Raabe. Stadem is still optimistic that his team is heading in the right direction.
"We are better (than our record). Roosevelt is the No. 1 team in the state and we played with them. It shows where we are at. We want to win a game and are better than our record. The Sioux Falls schools are tough to separate from. Anybody can beat any team on any given night."
One thing Stadem noticed from his offense last week was their maturity and they were finishing drives. As a unit, the offense scored inside the 20 all but once. This week against the Knights, the Warriors have to continue to make the most out of every possession.
"We have to get the ball and do something with it. They want to limit us and we have to take advantage of opportunities. Put points on the board and hope good things will happen," adds Stadem.
In the nightcap, the Patriots and Riders kick off in a rematch of last year's 11AAA title game, where Lincoln captured the title. After graduating a lot seniors, the Patriots are in a good place and hope to give Roosevelt a true test. Last week, Aaron Beavers' squad improved to 2-0 with a win over O'Gorman in the Dakota Bowl. Part of the reason for their fast start is senior quarterback Isaiah Roach, who had a passing touchdown and two running scores against the Knights. He and Taryn Christion will give fans an interesting quarterback match-up Saturday night.
Yes, Lincoln has their own multidimensional signal-caller, but to keep the ball in Roach's hands, Beavers and the Patriots will have to contain Christion.
"Hasn't been stopped (this year) and we didn't stop him as much as we slowed him down in last year's championship game so we could get the time of possession in our favor. We need to do that again this time (Saturday night)," tells Beavers.
Christion has been spectacular this season for the Riders. In the first two games, he has passed and rushed for a combined 789 yards and seven touchdowns. As a result, Roosevelt will hang a lot of yards and points on opponents. However, the defense has looked susceptible to giving up big plays. Last week, Washington rushed for 212 yards and the previous week, Brandon Valley passed for 364 yards on the Riders defense.
Making defensive stops down the stretch could be the difference maker for both Patriots and Riders, as both are fighting for the top spot in Class 11AAA early in the season.
Both games are on ESPN 99.1 with Jerry Palleschi. Also, follow @ESPN991SF for updates as the games progress.