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This week's game preview is sponsored by Rivers Edge Bank of Bridgewater!


Last Week

After a rough first half, BEE scored on their first three possessions in the second half to blow out McCook Central/Montrose 50-6. The Seahawks led 10-6 at the half, despite muffing three punt returns that were all recovered by the Fighting Cougars.

BEE forced an MCM punt on the game's opening drive, however the punt bounced off a Seahawk and was recovered by MCM on BEE's 34 yard line. MCM scored 5 plays later on a 22 yard TD pass from Lane Deutsch to Mason Sabers to make the score 6-0 with 7:42 left in the opening quarter. BEE was forced to punt on the following drive and Drake Gustafson pinned MCM on their own 1 yard line. Wyatt Anderson tackled Deutsch in the endzone for a safety to make the score 6-2 with just under 4 minutes left in the 1st quarter. Both teams went 3 and out on their ensuing drives, however the Seahawks fumbled the punt return again, giving MCM the ball at midfield. BEE's defense was able to force a turnover on downs and the teams traded punts until the Seahawks were finally able to score their first TD of the night. Gustafson capped off a 6 play, 53 yard drive with a TD run from 24 yards out to give BEE their first lead of the night at 10-6, with 4:38 left in the half. It looked like the Seahawks were gaining momentum, as MCM lost 13 yards on their next 3 plays and had to punt the ball away. But, yet another fumbled punt return gave the Fighting Cougars the ball at midfield with minutes remaining. MCM drove down to the Seahawk 12 yard line, but threw an incomplete pass to turn the ball over on downs and BEE led 10-6 at the half.

BEE came out firing in the second half, Gustafson scored from 4 yards out to cap off a 6 play, 47 yard drive to extend the Seahawk lead to 18-6. Carson Johnson intercepted a Deutsch pass to end MCM's following drive and on the very next play Johnson ran the ball 50 yards all the way down to the 1 yard line. Gustafson plunged in for the TD on the next play to make the score 26-6 with 6:54 left in the 3rd. The Seahawks forced a fumble on the ensuing kickoff and recovered it on the MCM 19 yard line. After a penalty, Gustafson found a wide open Taite Klumb in the endzone for a 24 yard TD pass to make the score 34-6 with 6:31 left in the 3rd. That score held until midway through the 4th quarter when Gustafson completed a 39 yard TD pass to Klumb once again to stretch the lead to 42-6. BEE's defense capped off the scoring as Kean Stevenson intercepted a Deutsch pass on the following drive and returned it 33 yards to make the score 50-6.

Gustafson had a big day for BEE, rushing for 82 yards & 3 TDs and throwing for 82 yards and 2 TDs. Freshman Carson Johnson, filling in for Macklen Weber for the second straight game, carried the ball 13 times for 76 yards. Taite Klumb had 2 receptions for 63 yards & 2 TDs and Holden Wollman caught 2 passes for 19 yards. Klumb's 2 receiving TDs is tied with 10 other Seahawks for the most receiving TDs in a game.

Defensively, Wyatt Anderson led with 8 tackles, a tackle for loss, a fumble recovery, a forced fumble and a safety for BEE. Jason Zeeb tallied 6 tackles, 2 sacks, a tackle for loss and a forced fumble. Gustafson had 6 tackles and 2 pass break-ups. Jaxon Koch had 6 tackles as well with a sack and a tackle for loss. Camdyn Stoterau and Korbyn Kayser also added 6 tackles. Kean Stevenson, Johnson and KJ Ripley all had interceptions.

For MCM, Deutsch completed 5-of-25 passes for 125 yards and 1 TD with 2 interceptions. Carter Randall was the leading rusher with 8 carries for 16 yards. Mason Sabers caught 4 passes for 89 yards and a score.

BEE outgained MCM 266-186 in total yardage. The Seahawks had 184 rushing and 82 passing yards. The Fighting Cougars had 181 passing yards and only 5 rushing yards. MCM falls to 1-6 and is now eliminated from the playoffs.

This Season

Through seven games, BEE has outscored it's opponents 187-97, or an average of 26.7-13.9 points per game. The Seahawks have 1,713 yards of total offense (244.7 per game), 1,171 rushing (167.3 per game) & 542 passing (77.4 per game). The defense has allowed 1,283 yards of total offense (183.3 per game), 843 rushing (120.4 per game) & 440 passing (62.9 per game).

Macklen Weber, despite having missed the last two games due to an injury, continues to lead BEE in rushing with 485 yards and 8 TDs. Gustfson is closing in with 81 carries for 319 yards and 9 TDs. Kean Stevenson has 182 yards and a TD on 44 carries. And Carson Johnson has 36 carries for 143 yards and 2 TDs. Gustafson has completed 36-of-67 passes for 483 yards and 4 TDs. Camdyn Stoterau is the leading receiver with 12 receptions for 106 yards. Holden Wollman has 9 receptions for 135 yards and Taite Klumb has 8 catches for 141 yards and 3 TDs.

Defensively, Jason Zeeb leads the way with 50 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks and a forced fumble. Second is Kean Stevenson with 47 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 2 interceptions and a sack. Coming in 3rd is Camdyn Stoterau with 43 tackles and 2 tackles for loss. Fourth is Drake Gustafson with 41 tackles, 2 interceptions and 5 pass break-ups. And rounding out the top 5 is Taite Klumb with 40 tackles, 1 tackle for loss and 5 pass break-ups.

Elk Point-Jefferson

Last Week

The Huskies scored 24 unanswered points in the second half to rally past Tri-Valley 24-14 last Friday. EPJ trailed 14-0 at the half.

Garrett Merkley was the leading rusher for the Huskies, carrying the ball just 4 times for 105 yards and a TD. Merkley had a 75 yard scoring run for EPJ's first TD of the game in the 3rd quarter. Keaton Gale completed 6-of-10 passes for 67 yards and added 67 rushing yards as well. Jake Gale carried the ball 9 times for 58 yards and a TD. Gunner Ewing had the other score for EPJ and rushed for 25 yards on 6 carries.

Tri-Valley had 263 yards rushing and -5 yards passing in the loss. The Mustangs two TDs came on 51 and 67 yard runs, accounting for 118 of their 263 rushing yards. EPJ had 322 yards of total offense, 67 passing and 255 rushing. Both teams had 2 turnovers.

Tri-Valley falls to 4-3 on the year, with their 3 losses coming to Winner, EPJ and West Central. The Mustangs travel to Wagner tonight, hoping to improve their playoff seed.

This Season

EPJ comes into the regular season finale with a perfect 6-1 record, with the lone blemish being a 20-11 loss to Sioux Valley back on September 1st. Otherwise, they have cruised through the regular season with wins over Parker (48-6), Baltic (41-6), MCM (36-8), Flandreau (55-6), Miller/Highmore-Harrold (55-3). Last week was their closest win of the year, a 10 point victory of Tri-Valley. EPJ is averaging 38.6 points per game, 3rd best in 11B, trailing only Sioux Valley and Hot Springs. The Huskies give up an average of 9 points per game, which is 6th best in the class.

The Huskies have a balanced rushing attack this season, with four players having 20 carries or more. Jake Gale is the leading rusher with 62 carries for 409 yards & 7 TDs. Keaton Gale has 52 carries for 311 yards & 3 TDs. Garrett Merkley is the big play guy with 316 yards on just 24 carries & 7 TDs. And Gunner Ewing has carried the ball 40 times for 177 yards and 3 TDs. Keaton Gale is also the QB, and has completed 63-of-101 passes for 932 yards and 11 TDs with 4 interceptions. His top target is Carson Timmins with 16 receptions for 224 yards and 3 TDs. Ashton Fairbanks has 12 receptions for 279 yards and 5 TDs.

The Huskies have 2,303 total yards of offense or 329 yards per game (194 rushing YPG, 135 passing YPG). Defensively they have give up 1,133 total yards or 162 yards per game (92 rushing YPG, 70 passing YPG).

Last Match-Up

The Seahawks stuck right with the second ranked Huskies of Elk Point-Jefferson in the 2022 regular season finale, but ultimately fell, 28-14. After being shutout the previous two weeks by Winner and McCook Central/Montrose, BEE put 14 points up on an EPJ defense that had allowed just 14 points all season.

Things didn't look that good from the start though. The Huskies took the opening kickoff and marched 57 yards in just 3 plays to score on a 2 yard run by Lucas Hueser less than a minute into the game. The Seahawks went 3-and-out and Hueser tacked on another rushing TD, this one from 6 yards out, to take a 14-0 lead with 5:28 left in the opening quarter. That score would hold until a few minutes into the second quarter. On 3rd and 2 from their own 38 yard line, BEE's Aguer VanSickle forced a fumble on a sack and the Seahawks recovered on the 32 yard line. Seven plays later BEE was facing a 3rd and goal from the 3 yard line and Macklen Weber found Sutton Arend to cut the lead to 14-6 with 8:10 left in the half. EPJ answered back quickly, with a 6 play drive that covered 67 yards, to extend the lead to 21-6 on a 23 yard run by Noah McDermott.

That would stay the score until the very last play of the third quarter when EPJ's Benjamin Swatek plunged in from 1 yard out to take a 28-6 lead. Weber connected with Arend midway through the 4th quarter on a 40 yard TD pass to cut the lead to 28-14. The Seahawks forced an EPJ punt on the following drive, but being backed up inside their own 20, were unable to get a first down and forced to punt. The Huskies then ran the remainder of the clock out to get the win and finish their first undefeated season in school history.

Sutton Arend led BEE offensively, rushing for 82 yards on 21 carries and catching 3 passes for 51 yards. Macklen Weber completed 5-of-16 passes for 86 yards.

For the Huskies, Hueser rushed 15 times for 116 yards and Swatek added 88 rushing yards on 16 carries. McDermott completed 5-of-12 passes for 92 yards.

Weber led the way defensively for the Seahawks with a season high 9 tackles. Korbyn Kayser added 9 tackles and a tackle for loss. VanSickle tallied 8 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 tackles for loss and a forced fumble. Taite Klumb added 8 tackles as well.

The Seahawks had 180 total yards of offense (94 rushing, 86 passing). That was the most yards the Huskies had given up in the regular season. EPJ had a total of 356 yards of offense (264 rushing, 92 passing).

Projected Playoff Pairings

Here are the projected playoff pairings with simulated results of tonight's games IF BEE wins:

Top Bracket

#1 Winner vs #16 Webster

#8 Woonsocket/Wessington Springs/Sanborn Central vs #9 Rapid City Christian

#4 Tri-Valley vs #13 Groton

#5 BEE vs #12 St. Thomas More

Bottom Bracket

#2 Deuel vs #15 Mount Vernon/Plankinton

#7 Elk Point-Jefferson vs #10 Wagner


#3 Sioux Valley vs #14 Parker

#6 Hot Springs vs #11 Aberdeen Roncalli

Here are the projected playoff pairings with simulated results of tonight's games IF BEE loses:

Top Bracket

#1 Winner vs #16 Parker

#8 Rapid City Christian vs #9 Wagner

#4 Elk Point-Jefferson vs #13 Groton

#5 Tri-Valley #12 St. Thomas More

Bottom Bracket

#2 Deuel vs #15 Webster

#7 Woonsocket/Wessington Springs/Sanborn Central vs #10 Aberdeen Roncalli


#3 Sioux Valley vs #14 Mount Vernon Plankinton

#6 Hot Springs vs #11 BEE

* Additional
-IF BEE loses and Clark/Willow Lake wins, #10 BEE would go to #7 Woonsocket/Wessington Springs/Sanborn Central.

-IF BEE wins and Clark/Willow Lake wins, #4 BEE would host either St. Thomas More or Clark/Willow Lake

-Clark/Willow Lake plays Aberdeen Roncalli tonight.

Game Bits

  • BEE is 6-2 all time against Elk Point-Jefferson having lost the last two match-ups after starting 6-0 against the Huskies. The Seahawks have outscored the Huskies 277-98, or an average of 35-10 points per game.

  • Winner continues to be ranked #1 in the latest SD Prep Media Poll, receiving 19 of 20 first place votes. Sioux Valley is 2nd receiving the other 1st place vote. Third is Hot Springs, followed by Elk Point-Jefferson and Deuel. W/WS/SC, BEE and Tri-Valley are all receiving votes.

  • Winner is also #1 in the latest SDFBCA poll, receiving 17 of 27 first place votes. Sioux Valley is 2nd and received the other 10 first place votes. EPJ is 3rd followed by Hot Springs and Deuel. W/WS/SC, Tri-Valley and BEE received votes.

  • With last week's win over McCook Central/Montrose, Coach VanLeur hit 300 in career coaching wins. VanLeur is only the second coach in South Dakota High School Football history to achieve 300 career wins. VanLeur trails only Kim Nelson of Sioux Falls Roosevelt who currently has 313 career wins.

  • Tonight's game will be broadcast on Elk Point-Jefferson's YouTube Channel. A link for livestreaming can be found on our home page.

  • The forecast at kickoff tonight in Elk Point calls for cloudy skies with a 75 percent chance of rain, a temperature of 48 degrees and winds out of the northwest around 20, gusting up to 40 mph.

  • The Seahawk JV team had their season come to an end with a 6-0 loss in OT to McCook Central/Montrose on Monday. They ended their season with a record of 3-3 with wins over Flandreau, Menno/Scotland and Parker, with losses to Sioux Valley, Wagner and MCM.

  • The Junior High team wrapped up their season this week with a 52-6 win over McCook Central/Montrose on Tuesday. The JH team finished undefeated at 6-0 and outscored their opponents 272-40.

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