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Avon’s Logan Mudder (3) carries the ball while getting tackled by Gregory’s Brandon Warnke (44) during a high school football game earlier this season at Bob Young Field in Sioux Falls. The Pirates are undefeated so far this season. (Brooke Cersosimo/Republic)

Six area teams unbeaten after four weeks

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AVON — Four weeks into the high school football season, the Avon Pirates are right where they want to be — undefeated.

The Pirates (4-0) are working to get back to the state championship game. The Pirates finished runner-up to Waverly-South Shore in the Class 9B title game in 2011.

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“Our captains have been pretty good about keeping kids focused in practice and having everybody do their best because that’s the ultimate goal is to get back there,” Avon head coach Tom Culver said, adding his captains are Brandon Kocmich, Logan Mudder, Devin Tolsma and Jacob Reeves.“We tell the kids from the beginning of the year to focus on getting 1 percent better each day and if you do that, you’re 50 percent better by the end of the season.

“We have a ways to go to where we want to be but we’ve been progressing.”

In the second week of the regular season, the Pirates had a surge in confidence after beating Class 9AA’s then-No. 1 ranked Gregory on Sept. 6 at Bob Young Stadium in Sioux Falls.

After defeating the Gorillas, Culver said the win boosted his team but wanted to move forward without a letdown in the following weeks. His team hasn’t given a glimpse of letting down so far.

Avon has outscored its opponents 94-14 in the last two weeks.

The Pirates have rushed for more than 1,200 yards in four games and are led by senior running back Kocmich. Kocmich is averaging 18.1 yards per carry and has 11 touchdowns so far this season. Last year, he finished with 912 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns as a junior.

“He’s got a lot of speed but has put some muscle on, so he’s able to do some things he didn’t do in the past,” Culver said.

Avon looks to keep its win-streak going Friday as it plays at Canistota. Although the Hawks have suffered two losses this season, Culver says it’s nothing to look past. The contest begins at 7 p.m.

Parkston vs. Winner

The showdown of the week could possibly be in Parkston as the No. 2 Winner Warriors (3-0) face No. 3 Parkston (4-0) at 7 p.m. Friday in a battle of undefeated Class 11B teams.

“We have to stop Winner’s running game,” said Parkston coach Eric Norden, whose team lost to the Warriors last season.

Winner, which won the Class 11B state championship last season, has posted equally as strong offensive stats as the Trojans.

The Warriors have racked up just over 950 yards of total offense in three victories over Chamberlain, Bon Homme and Valentine, Neb.

Winner’s Trace Meyer leads the team with 331 yards and four touchdowns on 36 attempts. Quarterback Nathan Galbraith has thrown for 103 yards and one touchdown this season.

The Trojans — who have victories over Groton Area, Canton, Elk Point-Jefferson and Wagner — have more than 1,050 yards of total offense this season. Miles Semmler leads the way offensively with 296 yards and seven touchdowns on 39 carries in four games, while Wes Dvorak has 226 yards and three touchdowns on 24 carries in three games.

Dvorak, Parkston’s quarterback, missed last week’s game against school-rival Wagner because of an injury and Norden said Dvorak’s injury is taken day by day. He added no decision has been made about Dvorak playing in Friday’s game.

Last week, Zach Scott filled in at the position and has played in all four games this season. Scott is 3-for-11 in passing for 40 yards on the season.

Howard vs. Menno/Marion

Menno/Marion broke into the Class 9AA polls for the first time this season after upsetting Canistota last week in overtime.

No. 5 Menno/Marion, which in the first year of a football co-op, is 3-0 on the season and faces another undefeated team in Howard Friday. Howard (3-0) is the second-ranked team in Class 9A and made the state championship game last season.

“(Menno/Marion) is probably the most talented team in the conference,” Howard coach Pat Ruml said. “Our preparation this week is crucial for us to beat them.”

The Razorbacks have rushed for more than 300 yards in all three of their games and tallied 481 rushing yards in their season opener against Irene/Wakonda. Senior quarterback Nick Gortmaker leads the offense, going 10-for-25 passing for 222 yards and three touchdowns and has 66 carries for 641 yards and seven touchdowns.

Senior Dylan Lehr is Gortmaker’s main target, hauling in seven receptions for 193 yards and three touchdowns.

For Howard, junior Luke Loudenburg leads the way with 14 touchdowns — 12 rushing, one kickoff return and one punt return.

The game begins at 7 p.m. in Marion.

Corsica/Stickney offense putting up big numbers

Corsica/Stickney has racked up 1,436 yards of total offense in three games this season.

The Jaguars (3-0) have three players with more than 200 rushing yards. Mason Van Vuuren leads the team with 333 yards and four touchdowns on 35 carries. Austin Titlon has 19 attempts for 270 yards and four touchdowns, while Eli Van Roekel has 17 carries for 213 yards and three touchdowns.

Corsica/Stickney, which is receiving votes in the Class 9A poll, has outscored its opponents 142-24, beating Gayville-Volin, Miller and Freeman.

The Jaguars look to keep their undefeated season going Friday when they play Class 9AA’s fifth-ranked Parker at 7 p.m. in Parker.

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Brooke Cersosimo
Brooke Cersosimo is The Daily Republic's sports editor.
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