The Seahawks advanced to the 11B State Title game for the third consecutive year in 2020. After falling just short the previous two seasons, capturing runner-up in 2017 & 2018, the third time was the charm as the Seahawks won their first ever 11-man championship in 2020.
The Seahawks rolled through the regular season, outscoring their opponents by an average score of 46.5-11.5. The first close call came against Mt. Vernon/Plankinton on September 13th in Mitchell. The Seahawks trailed 8-0 early in the third quarter before reeling off 21 straight points and held off MVP to win 21-16. Another highlight during the regular season came against Beresford on October 18th. With All-State QB Brady Hawkins out due to illness, Senior WR Chase Arend took over at QB. Arend accounted for 3 total TDs and RB Jonah Hofer rushed for 210 yards and 5 TDs in a team-record setting 64 points in a 64-20 win over the Watchdogs. The Seahawks finished the regular season undefeated at 8-0 for the first time since 2007. BEE also claimed the Big East Conference Championship for the second consecutive year. The last time the Seahawks won back-to-back conference titles was in 2002-2003.
The Seahawks earned home-field advantage throughout the playoffs and they made the most of it, shutting out their first 3 post-season opponents, Hot Springs 36-0, Sioux Valley 33-0 and McCook Central/Montrose 42-0. After falling to Sioux Falls Christian in the 11B title game the previous two years in 2017 & 2018, this time the Seahawks were not to be denied as they defeated Winner 21-14 in the championship game.
Despite returning 7 starters, the Seahawks have some big holes to fill from graduation. JR Kaden Klumb will be taking over at QB for Brady Hawkins. The Seahawks will be looking to SR Bodie Burnham and JR Koby Kayser to fill the backfield voids left by the graduation of Jonah Hofer and Grant Andrews. Burnham makes the transition back to RB after playing primarily WR last season when he caught 7 passes for 152 yards and a TD. Burnham has rushed for 179 yards and 4 TDs in his career. Kayser has 377 career rushing yards & 3 TDs.
Rylee Schultz, Eric Gustafson & Jay Storm look to be the top receiving targets for the Seahawks. Schultz caught 5 passes for 129 yards and 3 TDs last season. Gustafson caught 4 passes for 80 yards and 2 TDs in 2019.
The Seahawks will return 4 of 5 interior lineman from 2019, a group that helped pave the way for over 4,000 total yards of offense. Returnees include All-State SR Josh Bartscher (6'4 220 lbs), SR Brandon Jansen (6'4 230 lbs), SR Brooks Jansen (6'3 235 lbs) and SR Tyler Kjetland (6'4 265 lbs). Seniors Connor Kerkhove (6' 240 lbs) & Hunter Uptagrafft (6'3 225 lbs) will look to fill the other interior line spot left by Colby Weber.
Defensively, the Seahawks return 2 of their top 4 tacklers from 2019. Rylee Schultz tallied 102 tackles, 6 tackles for loss, 3 sacks and 2 fumble recoveries last season. Brandon Jansen had 81 tackles and 4 tackles for loss. Other top returning defensive starters include Eric Gustafson (67 tackles, 2 sacks), Bodie Burnham (64 tackles, 3 interceptions, 6 pass break-ups), Tyler Kjetland (62 tackles) and Josh Bartscher (56 tackles, 2 sacks).
After a winless season in 2018, Wagner showed strides of improvement under first year coach Jeff Podzimek and went 2-6 last season. The 2019 season included losses to Bridgewater-Emery/Ethan 0-49, Beresford 14-38, Mt. Vernon 0-16, Winner 0-52, Stanley County 7-35 and Chamberlain 21-36. The Red Raiders two wins came against Woonsocket/Wessington Springs/Sanborn Central 20-0 and Miller/Highmore/Harrold 51-0.
Wagner has not posted their roster on the SDHSAA website, therefore no further information was available.
The Seahawks opened the 2019 season against Wagner in Bridgewater and BEE rolled to a 49-0 win. Grant Andrews scored a pair of rushing TDs in the 1st quarter to take a 13-0 lead. Brady Hawkins scored on a 3 yard run and a 26 yard interception return in the 2nd quarter. Koby Kayser tacked on a 12 yard TD run late in the 1st half to give the Seahawks a 34-0 lead at the half. Jonah Hofer scored on a 15 yard run in the 3rd and Kaden Klumb scored on a 2 yard run in the 4th to cap off the scoring.
Hofer rushed for 80 yards and a TD for BEE. Andrews added 71 yards on 11 carries and 2 TDs. Hawkins rushed for 68 yards and a TD and Kayser had 10 carries for 50 yards and a TD.
Defensively the Seahawks were led by Hawkins with 7 tackles, 3 tackles for loss and an interception. Brandon Jansen added 7 tackles. Rylee Schultz had 3 tackles, 2 sacks and a tackle for loss.
As a team, BEE had 313 total yards of offense, all of which came by way of the rushing attack. Defensively, the Seahawks held Wagner to a team record -3 total yards of offense (-39 rushing, 36 passing).
The SDHSAA and the Bridgewater-Emery and Ethan School Districts encourage you to do your part to ensure we can complete our season by screening yourself for symptoms and staying home if you are sick or have been exposed to someone who is sick, social distancing when possible, wearing facemasks, and practicing proper hygiene. To promote safety and reduce chances of transmission to players and team personnel from both teams, Wagner High School has issued a statement that spectators are not allowed on the field following the contest. Thank you for doing your part to make the full season a reality.
Tonight's game will be broadcast on Facebook Live on the WCS Red Raider Nation Facebook page.
The Seahawks are entering their 6th season as an 11-man team and have accumulated a record of 44-13 in the last 5 seasons.
The Seahawks enter the 2020 season ranked #2 in the preseason South Dakota Prep Media football poll. BEE received 4 of 18 first place votes. Winner is ranked #1 with 14 first place votes. McCook Central/Montrose is #3, Sioux Valley is #4 and St Thomas More is #5. Webster Area, Elk Point-Jefferson and Mobridge-Pollack are all receiving votes.
The forecast tonight at kickoff in Wagner calls for mostly sunny skies, a temperature of 90 degrees and winds out of the south around 10 mph.