This week's game preview is sponsored by Hofer Physical Therapy of Bridgewater!
The 2nd ranked Seahawks kicked off the season by hosting third ranked Sioux Valley in Bridgewater last Friday. The battle of top 5 ranked teams lived up to it's billing as there were three lead changes in the fourth quarter. BEE was able to score late in the game and intercept a pass near the end zone as time expired to come away with the 20-16 win over the Cossacks.
The Seahawks received the opening kickoff and the early momentum when Koby Kayser returned the kick to inside the Cossacks' 30 yard line. The momentum quickly shifted back as BEE fumbled the ball away a few plays later. The Seahawk defense, however, forced a quick 3-and-out. BEE made quick work, driving 55 yards in 6 plays and scoring on a 33 yard pass from Kaden Klumb to Hunter Bailey to give the Seahawks a 7-0 lead with 6:36 left in the opening quarter. The rest of the first half was slow going for both offenses, as the teams combined to muster a total of 92 yards, and we went into the half with BEE leading 7-0.
Sioux Valley received the ball to start the second half and put together a very solid drive, amassing 78 yards over 17 plays. The 8 minute drive was capped off by a 7 yard TD pass from Parker Puetz to Carson Christopherson with 4:00 left in the third to give the Cossacks a 8-7 lead. BEE was forced to punt on the ensuing drive and it looked like Sioux Valley was prepared to tack another score on, driving 62 yards inside the BEE 30, however the Seahawk defense held strong and forced a turnover on downs.
On the second play of BEE's next possession Kayser took a handoff up the middle, squirted towards the sideline and outran Cossack defenders to score on a 76 yard run with 8:14 left in the fourth. Sioux Valley answered right back, going 69 yards in 11 plays, capped off by a 31 yard TD run by Boden Schiller to give the Cossacks a 16-13 lead with 3:24 remaining in the game. It took just 2:10 for BEE to answer back and take the lead. Klumb orchestrated a solid drive with mix of passes and scrambling to lead BEE 62 yards in 7 plays. Klumb connected with Sam Hofer from 24 yards out to give the Seahawks a 20-16 lead with just a little over a minute remaining in the contest. The Cossacks weren't about to go down without a fight. After a BEE penalty on the return, Sioux Valley started the next drive near their own 40 and drove just short of the BEE 30. With just seconds remaining Puetz heaved a ball towards the end zone where BEE's Sutton Arend was able to come down with the jump ball, sealing the 20-16 win for BEE.
Klumb completed 4-of-7 passes for 83 yards and 2 TDs, and also rushed for 49 yards to lead BEE. Kayser totaled 104 rushing yards on 11 carries and a score. He also caught 1 pass for 16 yards. Bailey and Hofer each had a TD reception and Jay Storm caught 1 pass for 10 yards.
Defensively, BEE was led by Kayser's 14 tackles and 1 tackle for loss. Arend tallied 10 tackles, 1 tackle for loss and an interception. Klumb and Aguer VanSickle had 10 tackles each.
Puetz led Sioux Valley with 18 carries for 147 yards and completed 9-of-22 passes for 68 yards and a TD.
BEE had 251 total yards of offense (168 rushing, 83 passing) to Sioux Valley's 329 yards (261 rushing, 68 passing). The Cossacks also ran 65 offensive plays compared to only 37 for BEE.
The number 1 ranked team in 11B dominated from the start, scoring 45 first quarter points on the way to a 57-6 blowout win over Tripp-Delmont/Armour/Andes Central/Dakota Christian.
The Warriors Kaden Keiser totaled 2 TDs and 45 rushing yards. Riley Orel had 38 rushing yards on 2 carries. Jack Peters and Joey Cole each had a rushing TD for Winner. QB Blake Volmer completed 1-of-3 passes for 13 yards and a TD.
The Thunderhawks were led by Rizon Clark who completed 2-of-3 passes for 21 yards and rushed for 33 yards on 6 carries.
Winner improved to 1-0 on the season while T-D/A/AC/DC fell to 0-1. This was the Thunderhawks' first game as an 11-man program.
The Warriors return 5 starters on offense and 4 starters on defense from last years championship squad. JR Riley Orel, who rushed for 101 yards in last years title game against BEE, returns at FB. Orel rushed for 700 yards and 10 TDs last season. Other offensive starters returning include SR TE Jackson Vesley, JR TE Ethan Bartels and SR offensive lineman Charley Pravacek and Achilles Willuweit.
Defensively Winner welcomes back Vesely at DE and Pravacek who had 26 tackles, including 7 tackles for loss, at defensive tackle. Orel and Kaiden Keiser return in the secondary. Orel totaled 33 tackles and 2 interceptions last season. Keiser had 29 tackles and 4 interceptions.
Everything was set up exactly the same as in 2019 when BEE and Winner clashed in the 11B State Championship game in Brookings. Both teams were undefeated, both teams returned a plethora of starters and both were hungry for another championship to add to their storied programs trophy cases. Except this time, the outcome would be different. Winner's power run offense proved to be too much for BEE as the Warriors grinded out a 18-14 win.
The game definitely could have gotten off to a better start for the Seahawks. BEE fumbled away the ball on their opening possession, giving Winner the ball inside the Seahawk 30 yard line. However, BEE's defense was able to muster up a goal line stand and give the ball back to their offense inside their own 5 yard line. Any momentum gained by the goal line stand was quickly wiped away, as Winner intercepted a Kaden Klumb pass 3 plays later and once again started in great field position inside BEE's 40 yard line. The Warrior offense would not be denied this time, driving 33 yards in 5 plays to score on a 4 yard run by Preston Norrid to give Winner a 6-0 lead with 10:47 left in the half. The Seahawks answered right back, putting together their first real drive of the game, going 70 yards in 17 plays, capped off by a 1 yard scoring run by Klumb to give BEE a 7-6 lead with 3:22 left in the half. Unfazed by the sudden sway in momentum, Winner drove 80 yards in 10 plays, scoring on a 4 yard run by Riley Orel to give the Warriors a 12-7 lead heading into the half.
Things began looking bleak for BEE to start the second half. Winner received the kickoff and did what the Warriors do, grinding over 5 minutes off the clock and capping off an 11 play, 64 yard drive with a Brady Fitz 1 yard TD run to take an 18-7 lead with 7:32 left in the third. As quickly as all the momentum shifted to Winner, it started teetering right back towards the Seahawks as Bodie Burnham took the ensuing kickoff 70 yards to set BEE up inside the Winner 20 yard line. Three plays later Burnham plunged in from a yard out, cutting the Winner lead to 18-14. Both teams traded punts on the following drives. It looked like Winner would tack on a score in the fourth to likely put the game out of reach, however the BEE defense held on for yet another goal line stand to give themselves a chance. But pinned deep inside their own 5 yard line, the Seahawk offense wasn't able to do much and punted without a first down. The BEE defense held strong once again, forcing a 3 and out on the following Winner possession, giving the ball back to their offense with just over a minute and a half remaining. The Seahawks were able to drive inside Winner's 30 yard line, but a Klumb pass intended for Koby Kayser was swatted away near the goal line as time expired.
Burnham led BEE with 61 rushing yards and a TD. Klumb connected on 6-of-19 passes for 55 yards. Kayser rushed for 37 yards on 9 carries.
Riley Orel led Winner with 101 yards and a TD on 20 carries. Sam Kruger carried 10 times for 48 yards. Brady Fritz completed 2-of-5 passes for 57 yards and added 35 rushing yards and a score for Winner.
BEE had 157 total yards of offense (102 rushing, 55 passing) to Winner's 255 yards (198 rushing, 57 passing).
BEE is 2-2 all time against Winner. In the four meetings the Warriors have outscored the Seahawks 78-66, or an average score of 20-17.
BEE has never hosted Winner at home. Two of the four games were the state championship games the last two seasons held in Brookings in 2019 and Vermillion in 2020. The other two were playoff games held in Winner. BEE fell to Winner in 2016 in the semi-finals, 38-13, and beat the Warriors 18-8 in the quarterfinals in 2017.
In the four match-ups, BEE has averaged 250 yards per game (166 rushing, 85 passing) and Winner has averaged 244 yards per game (218 rushing, 26 passing).
Proving how key each possession is, the team with fewer turnovers is 3-0 in match-ups between the Seahawks and Warriors. In the 2019 title game both teams turned the ball over one time.
In the first South Dakota Football Coaches Association poll of the season Winner is ranked #1, receiving 9 of 13 first place votes. BEE is second, receiving the other 4 first place votes. Sioux Valley is third, followed by Woonsocket/Wessington Springs/Sanborn Central at 4 and Elk Point-Jefferson at 5. Sioux Valley and W/WS/SC play each other tonight in Wessington Springs.
In the second SD Prep Media poll of the season, Winner continues to be ranked #1, receiving all 18 first place votes. BEE is second, followed by Sioux Valley at 3, Woonsocket/Wessington Springs/Sanborn Central at 4 and Elk Point-Jefferson at 5.
Tonight's game will be broadcast live on Winner Warriors Live. A link for the live broadcast is available on the HOME page.
The forecast at kickoff tonight in Winner calls for mostly sunny skies with a temperature of 81 degrees with winds out of the southeast around 10 mph.
The Seahawks Junior High and Junior Varsity teams will be in action on Monday against Woonsocket/Wessington Springs/Sanborn Central. The games will be held in Wessington Springs with the JH game to start at 4:30 PM followed by the JV game.