Vengeance at the Dome: A clash of rival GIANTS

Thursday’s 9AA Championship game will be a battle of Region 3 giants when two teams who know each other well, located just 30 minutes apart, will clash for the ultimate in high school football hardware.
The game’s announcers will have to tackle a mouthful when the Woonsocket/Wessington Springs/Sanborn Central Blackhawks and the Wolsey/Wessington Warbirds reconvene on the turf inside the DakotaDome.
Due to their close proximity, the teams have appeared on each other’s regular schedules for years, and this season’s meeting on Oct. 16 was hyped as the game of the season. Some even dared to prophesy that it may have been a Dome preview. It turns out some were right.
The game was hard-fought and highly defensive and the Blackhawks came away with a 20-6 win, doling out the Warbirds’ lone loss of their first season in the 9AA class. Besides this one anomaly, Wolsey/Wessington spent their 2015 season delivering an average
of 49.9 points
per game on
offense, shut
out four teams
and allowed
their opposition
a season total of just
42 points. They’ve outscored their post-season opponents 118-37.
Combine with that the fact that these boys won’t arrive in Vermillion — the biggest stage in South Dakota high school football — with stars in their eyes, since this team made the trip last year in the 9A game, and you’ve got a formidable opponent.
Of course, playing on turf under a roof in front of a huge, roaring crowd isn’t exactly a new idea to the Blackhawks, either. Their returning 10 seniors and 11 juniors remember well the feel of the turf, the bright lights and the sting of heartbreak after enduring a tough 31-8 loss to Gregory.
The Warbirds know something about that feeling. They, too, settled for second place with a 12-point loss to Howard.
It’s safe to say, both teams will be out for vengeance.
The boys from Sanborn and Jerauld counties vowed last year that they’d get another chance, and this year’s Hawks bring back to the Dome a bigger, stronger, harder-hitting version of the 2014 9AA Runners-up. The 2015 Hawks are undefeated and are averaging 43 points on offense through the post-season, while holding their opponents to a third of their 474 total points.
The Blackhawks bring to the table a long roster of hard-working, game-tested, strength and size, with nearly 900 pounds on their front line. Seniors Chase Von Eye, Brady Tiede, Jacob Fouberg and Garrett Larson are all over six-foot and tip the scales at over 200 pounds          apiece. As the tallest guy         on the field, six-foot-
five Tiede double-
times as tight end

and has been
known to haul in
some tough catches.
Six-foot quarterback Tucker Kingsbury has paid his dues as well, leading his team to the championship game for both of his two years as starting QB, but also doesn’t slack off on defense as a defensive back.
Speaking of tested experience, six-two senior Dillon Moore has made his share of catches, touchdowns and tackles through the years, as well as kick returner and wide receiver senior Josh Feiner.
Senior Trinity Brunsen and standout sophomore John Witte are reliable back-ups for lead rusher, Landon Ochsner.
Ochsner, a six-foot, 180-pound senior, seamlessly stepped into the every-down back spot, left open when Austin Messmer graduated last year. Ochsner has proven his worth as a workhorse running back with over 1,300 yards this season.
It is this experience that helped them to stay calm under pressure in the final nerve-wracking minutes of the semifinal game; the same experience they hope to use to their advantage this Thursday afternoon.
The Blackhawks are coached by Jason Kolousek and assisted by Ray Ginsbach, Corey Flatten, Armando Rodriguez and Kyle Gerlach.        Kickoff is at approximately 1:30 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 12 at the DakotaDome in Vermillion and will be broadcast live on South Dakota Public Broadcasting. The 9AA game will follow the 9A Championship between Canistota and Sully Buttes at 10:30 a.m.

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