Connor, Seahawks soar in 9AA title tiltVERMILLION — Both offenses were dominant for the majority of Friday’s Class 9AA state championship football game.
By: Travis Mester, The Daily Republic
VERMILLION — Both offenses were dominant for the majority of Friday’s Class 9AA state championship football game.
But it was a pair of defensive plays and a kick return — all courtesy of Bridgewater-Emery/Ethan senior Tyson Kayser — that proved to be the difference.
Kayser knocked down a pair of passes to force a fourth-quarter turnover on downs and later returned an onside kick 51 yards for a touchdown to help the Seahawks beat Viborg/Hurley 48-34 at the DakotaDome.
“It just feels amazing because last year we didn’t end it the way we wanted to,” said Kayser, whose team lost to Howard in last season’s state championship game. “Over the summer, we just wanted this so bad. It showed, I guess.”
With B-E/E leading 26-21 at the start of the fourth quarter, Viborg/Hurley senior quarterback Cory Jacobsen looked poised to lead the Cougars to a score. But Kayser, a 6-foot-5 defensive end, got his hands on a pair of passes on third and fourth down to preserve the lead.
“Our coaches said to get our hands up,” Kayser said. “We knew they were going to come out passing.”
Following an Anthony Huber 26-yard touchdown run and Jacobsen’s third TD pass of the game, V/H was back to within five. That is when Kayser recovered an onside kick and took it back for a touchdown with less than five minutes to play.
“Those three plays were so big,” said B-E/E coach Jeff VanLeur, who led Emery/Ethan to a state titles in 2001, 2003 and 2007. “We had to give ourselves a break and there were a couple plays we had a shot at some interceptions where it didn’t happen, but we made the plays when we had to make them.”
Huber and Jordon Connor were the two making most of the plays for the Seahawks, who finished their first season with Bridgewater attached to the team’s co-op with a 10-2 record.
Connor rushed 31 times for 295 yards — both Class 9AA championship game records — and four touchdowns. Connor was named Joe Robbie Most Valuable Player after the game. Huber had 16 carries for 181 yards and two scores for B-E/E, which finished the game with 474 rushing yards and zero yards passing.
“That was probably one of the most fun games I’ve ever played,” Huber said. “After last year, we all had a bad taste in our mouths and we just wanted to get back here. This is one of the best feelings I’ve ever had.”
The Cougars, who led 13-6 at halftime before both teams’ offenses exploded, were no slouches, either.
Jacobsen finished 21-of-39 passing for 400 yards and the three TDs. He set 9AA championship game records for completions, attempts, passing yards and total yards of offense (413). Mount Vernon native and current Minnesota Vikings’ linebacker Chad Greenway had previously held the record for total yards of offense with 315, which he posted in 2000 for the Stickney/Mount Vernon co-op. Stephen Lee also set a 9AA championship game record with eight catches for V/H. He finished with 121 yards and a touchdown.
The two teams also combined for the most points scored in a 9AA championship game with 82.
“Obviously, I knew we had a lot of yards of offense, and they had a lot of yards of offense,” said Viborg/Hurley coach John Nyhaug, whose team finished its first season as a co-op 10-2. “But I had no idea what all the records were.”
The Cougars finished with 524 total yards of offense. V/H finished with 22 first downs, while B-E/E had 21. The teams combined for just eight penalties for 44 yards in the offensive shootout.
And it was the Seahawks who fired last.
“I feel so good for these kids,” VanLeur said. “They’ve worked so hard in the summer with weight lifting and things; I remember last year they told me we were coming back here to finish things, and that’s what they did.”
NOTES: Brian Weber, of Bridgewater, was awarded the 2010 South Dakota Football National Federation Interscholastic Officials Association Award at halftime of the Class 9AA championship game. Weber, a graduate of Bridgewater High School who attended Northern State University, has been officiating both football and basketball since 1987. … B-E/H’s Darin Bartscher was named offensive lineman of the game.
Viborg-Hurley 7 6 8 13—34
Bridgewater-E/E 6 0 20 22—48
BEE—Conner 4 run (run failed), 8:09.
VH—Lee 24 pass from Jacobsen (Hart kick), 7:06.
VH—DeNeui 6 run (kick failed), 10:27.
BEE—Connor 17 run (Connor run), 7:24.
BEE—Connor 57 run (run failed), 4:19.
VH—DeNeui 7 pass from Jacobsen (DeVries pass from Jacobsen), :39
BEE—Huber 68 run (pass failed), :22.
BEE—Huber 26 run (run failed), 8:22.
VH—DeNeui 15 pass from Jacobsen (pass failed), 4:51.
BEE—Kayser 40 kickoff return (Connor pass from Grosdidier), 4:42.
VH—Jacobsen 2 run (Hart kick), 2:38.
BEE—Connor 11 run (Barscher pass from Grosdidier), 1:40.
First downs 22 21
Rushes-yards 36-124 50-474
Passing yards 400 0
Return yards 112 133
Passes 21-39-0 0-3-0
Punts 2-32 1-32
Fumbles-lost 1-1 0-0
Penalties-yards 5-29 3-15
Time of Possession 27:57 19:56
RUSHING — VH, Jensen 17-75, Gerdes 8-38, Jacobsen 9-20, DeNeui 2-6 BEE, Connor 31-298, Huber 16-181.
PASSING — VH, Jacobsen 21-39-0-400 BEE, Grosdidier 0-3-0-0.
RECEIVING — VH, Lee 8-121, Gerdes 5-104, DeNeui 4-70, Jensen 3-39, Tirrel 1-12.