Beavers boast four all-state selections to 9A teamYANKTON — The high-powered teams that comprised the Class 9A championship game claimed nine spots on the South Dakota Football Coaches Association’s All-State Team, announced today.
By: By JAMES D. CIMBUREK , Yankton Press & Dakotan
YANKTON — The high-powered teams that comprised the Class 9A championship game claimed nine spots on the South Dakota Football Coaches Association’s All-State Team, announced today.
State champion Hanson claimed four spots on the elite list, including three on offense. State runner-up Harding County claimed five spots, two each on offense and defense.
Avon and Sully Buttes each had three representatives on the elite list. Wall boasts two honorees. Andes Central, Arlington, Corsica-Stickney, Castlewood, Mount Vernon, Tri-State and Northwestern each had one honoree.
The Hanson offense put up more than 4,000 yards of rushing on the season, with guard Jacob Bender and fullback Tyson Tuttle leading the way for running back Pierce Smith. Smith finished the season with 1,829 yards and 31 touchdowns, including 865 yards and 14 touchdowns in the Beavers’ final three playoff games. He rushed for 281 yards and three scores in the championship win over Harding County.
“Pierce Smith had three monster games down the stretch,” said Hanson head coach Jim Haskamp. “He’s a hard-nosed runner. Very rarely did he not get positive yardage when he carried the ball.”
Tuttle, besides his blocking duties, picked up 608 yards rushing and three catches for 42 yards this season.
“We maybe don’t give him the ball as much, but he does a tremendous job of lead blocking for both our running backs, both Pierce and Reid (Smith),” Haskamp said. “He just typifies the type of athlete we have. Their only goal, their only motivation is to see us have success and do well and win.”
Bender is a repeat selection at guard. The 5-10, 165-pounder has proven you don’t have to be a giant to be a good blocker.
“If you look at his size, especially in the title game down at the Dome, he was paired up against a guy that was almost a hundred pounds heavier than he was,” Haskamp said. “We preach to those guys all year long that it’s not always the size, but the technique.”
Hanson punter Andrew Gross was also honored. He averaged 33.7 per attempt, including a 38.5 average on two punts in the championship. The biggest stat for Haskamp, though, was that no team returned a punt for a touchdown on Hanson this season.
“That’s a couple different things, the good coverage we had down field, and the job Andrew did punting, with his hang time on the ball,” he said.
Avon running back Derek Cihak, linebacker Josh Cihak and defensive back Chance Roth were selected.
Derek Cihak averaged a blistering 16.7 yards per carry, amassing 1,770 yards and 26 touchdowns in just 106 carries. He finished his career with 2,563 yards and 39 touchdowns.
“He’s one of the hardest workers we’ve ever had here,” said Avon head coach Tom Culver. “The kid had a torn ACL as a sophomore, played with a torn ACL. He had surgery in February of his sophomore year and, six months later, he’s playing in his junior year. You’ve got to have a little bit of toughness to do that.”
Josh Cihak posted 96 tackles, including 11 for loss and three sacks. He also had three interceptions and three fumble recoveries, returning one for a score.
“He was very aggressive, whether we asked him to run blitz or pass blitz,” Culver said. “When coach (assistant coach Mel Fathke) called on him to do that, he was very effective at it.”
Roth picked off five passes, returning three for touchdowns, including a 102-yard interception return in the Pirates’ playoff win over Wilmot.
“Chance is just an excellent athlete,” Culver noted. “He was a very good cover kid. We tried to put him on their best receiver.”
A big target at 6-4 and 170, Andes Central wide receiver Colter Florey caught touchdowns in eight of his 10 games this season, finishing with 37 catches for 790 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Myles Van Vuuren, defensive tackle, Corsica-Stickney: Corsica/Stickney defensive tackle Myles Van Vuuren (6-0, 200) recorded 96 tackles, including 13 for loss and five sacks. He also recovered a fumble.
Standing just 5-7 and 165, Mount Vernon senior linebacker Kyle Gerlach made his presence felt with 126 tackles (74 solo), three sacks and four fumble recoveries. He was a three-year starter for the Mustangs.
Here is a look at the other players selected to the Class 9A All-State team:
Austin Brown, quarterback, Harding County: The four-year starter finished his career with 5,377 yards and 72 touchdowns, including 1,863 yards and 32 scores this year. He threw just three interceptions.
Jace Jensen, wide receiver, Harding County: Catching 46 passes for 882 yards and 16 touchdowns this season, Jensen finished his career with 2,147 yards receiving and 27 scores.
Chek Giannanatti, defensive end, Harding County: He made 77 stops (48 solo), had 12 sacks and caused two turnovers.
Taz Olsen, linebacker, Harding County: Olsen had 158 stops (67 solo), nine sacks, four interceptions, two fumble recoveries and three defensive scores.
Ryne Baier, kicker, Harding County: Baier posted 26 touchbacks and hitting 25 of 38 PAT kicks.
Tate Senftner, tight end, Sully Buttes: A repeat all-state selection, he caught 37 passes for 546 yards and seven touchdowns.
Tate Rinehart, guard, Sully Buttes: Rinehart led a Chargers’ offensive line that helped Sully Buttes put up over 2,000 yards on the ground and 1,110 yards through the air.
Herman Kleinsasser, special teams, Sully Buttes: Kleinsasser had three returns for touchdowns, including two on kickoffs. He averaged 33 yards per kickoff return and 21.5 per punt return
Jeremy Quam, center, Arlington: The 5-11, 250-pound senior was a three-year starter on the Cardinals’ offensive line, including two at center. He earned all-Dakota Valley Conference honors this past season.
Rowdy Curr, defensive tackle, Wall: The 5-10, 205-pound senior recorded 119 tackles.
Tyrel Eisenbraun, defensive end, Wall: The 6-2, 185-pound senior recorded 121 tackles, nine sacks and two fumble recoveries.
Trevor Sikkink, linebacker, Castlewood: The 6-3, 195-pound senior earned Dakota Valley Conference MVP honors, recording 95 tackles, three interceptions and six sacks. He was an all-state selection at tight end in 2009.
Clay Anderson, defensive back, Tri-State: The 6-1, 160-pound senior picked off 10 passes, recovered two fumbles and blocked three punts for Tri-State. He also had 60 solo tackles and 54 assists.
Jeramiah Serfling, long snapper, Northwestern: The 5-11, 170-pound senior handed his duties perfectly for the Raiders. In 36 punts, Northwestern did not have a blocked punt or a mishandled snap.