Sumner, Lynx beat Kernels 41-6BRANDON — Brandon Valley all-state quarterback Austin Sumner got off to a slow start during Friday’s high school football game in Brandon, but heated up quickly as the Lynx cruised past Mitchell for a 41-6 Eastern South Dakota Conference win. Sumner completed only one of his first five passes as rain fell early in the game — that one pass happened to be an 85-yard touchdown strike on the second play from scrimmage — and Sumner eventually finished 11-for-19 for 266 yards and six touchdowns. Five of those touchdowns and 260 of those yards came in the first half.
By: Matt Bunke, The Daily Republic
BRANDON — Brandon Valley all-state quarterback Austin Sumner got off to a slow start during Friday’s high school football game in Brandon, but heated up quickly as the Lynx cruised past Mitchell for a 41-6 Eastern South Dakota Conference win.
Sumner completed only one of his first five passes as rain fell early in the game — that one pass happened to be an 85-yard touchdown strike on the second play from scrimmage — and Sumner eventually finished 11-for-19 for 266 yards and six touchdowns. Five of those touchdowns and 260 of those yards came in the first half.
“He’s just solid, and his team plays with great confidence around him,” Mitchell coach Kent VanOverschelde said of Sumner, who has drawn interest from Wisconsin, Iowa State, South Dakota State and North Dakota State. “In their system, he knows exactly where he needs to be, and he’s the tops. He’s invested a lot of time and he’s a solid football player.”
Brandon Valley didn’t do anything especially fancy in the first half, but still put the game out of reach in the first 24 minutes. The Lynx’s first touchdown pass actually came on a bubble screen to the right, with Chris Paclik catching the ball at the line of scrimmage and scampering 85 yards for the score.
Brandon’s second touchdown came with 9:20 left in the second quarter on a 4-yard pass into the left flat from Sumner to Trevor Crow, and after a Mitchell fumble gave Brandon Valley the ball back at the 46-yard line, Sumnner’s 25-yard touchdown pass to Cody Hausman into the right flat gave Brandon a 20-0 lead with 5:44 left before halftime.
“At first we had some problems with alignment, but after that, they just executed,” VanOverschelde said. “They have some weapons and tools to make plays. Today it looked pretty easy for them.”
The 25-yard touchdown strike from Sumner to Hausman was one of four between the pair, with the Lynx squeezing in another two before halftime. Another Mitchell fumble gave the Lynx the ball at Mitchell’s 14-yard line, and on the first play, Sumner found Hausman in the back right corner of the end zone for a 27-0 lead.
With 1:47 left in the half, Sumner found Hausman deep down the middle of the field for a 48-yard touchdown and a 34-0 halftime lead, and on the first drive of the second half, Sumner found Hausman all alone in the back of the end zone on a fourth-and-one play from the 6-yard line, the only passing attempt on the nine-play drive. Hausman finished with six catches for 117 yards and four touchdowns.
“Hats off to them. They made some good plays,” VanOverschelde said. “It was difficult rushing three, but sometimes we did some blitzes, and we couldn’t get to the quarterback, and just gave him time and opportunities to make some plays.”
Sumner surpassed the 2,000-yard mark on the season in Friday’s win, and the senior also tossed his 27th touchdown pass in the second half.
However, Sumner’s damage Friday could have been much less if the Kernels could have taken advantage of his mistakes. Jason Greenway had a chance at an interception on the first play of the game but just missed, and Summer threw an 85-yard touchdown on the next play. Just one play before Sumner’s 4-yard touchdown in the second quarter, Tannner Sterk had a shot an interception in the end zone, but the ball bounced out of his arms.
“It was an inch here or an inch there,” VanOverschelde said. “We have to be able to get that momentum and make those plays right away to take their momentum away from them, because they know they’re going to make some plays, and they obviously did tonight.”
While the Kernels failed to force a turnover in the game, turnovers of their own once again proved costly. Mitchell had only two turnovers, but they came on back-to-back possessions and led to 14 Brandon Valley points. Mitchell also had a Jason Greenway 85-yard kickoff return for a touchdown negated by a block in the back penalty behind the play.
“The turnovers — that just kind of takes the wind out of our sails,” VanOverschelde said. “It comes to the point where our kids just need to raise their level.”
Mitchell finally got on the board late when Brent Havlik scored on a 34-yard touchdown run. Havlik also had a 25-yard run on the drive and finished with 58 yards on 15 carries.
Sterk added 38 yards on eight carries for the Kernels, and Greenway had 10 carries for 30 yards. Ryan Buck had 28 yards on six carries.
Mitchell, now 1-7, will close out the season Thursday against Huron at Joe Quintal Field. Brandon Valley improved to 7-1 overall and at 5-1, remains one game behind Aberdeen Central in the Eastern South Dakota Conference race.