Mitchell's upset win over Sioux Falls Lincoln gets reaction across stateFormer Dakota Wesleyan University football coach Joe Kramer made sure he knew about Mitchell’s upset victory over Sioux Falls Lincoln before he went to bed Friday night.
By: Travis Mester, The Daily Republic
Former Dakota Wesleyan University football coach Joe Kramer made sure he knew about Mitchell’s upset victory over Sioux Falls Lincoln before he went to bed Friday night.
Kramer, who now coaches Pierre’s high school team, said he called one of his former players to get the scoop.
“I’d heard that the score was tied at 29 when it was suspended and then I called (Mitchell linebackers coach) Travis Carpenter that night and got the whole story,” said Kramer, who still lives part-time in Mitchell. “I talked to (Mitchell head coach) Kent (VanOverschelde) Saturday morning to congratulate him, too.”
Kramer, who coached DWU from 1984 to 1998, coached Carpenter during his time with the Tigers in the '90s.
Prior to Mitchell’s 50-49 victory, Sioux Falls schools had had their way with the rest of the state this season.
Top-ranked Sioux Falls Roosevelt is unbeaten in three games against Eastern South Dakota Conference opponents this season with wins over Aberdeen Central, Watertown and Yankton. The Rough Riders have outscored ESD teams 122-17 in three matchups.
Second-ranked Sioux Falls O’Gorman has outscored Brandon Valley and Brookings 84-21 in its two ESD contests this season.
Fourth-ranked Sioux Falls Washington, which beat Yankton 29-14 on Friday, also is 3-0 against ESD teams this fall. It has outscored Watertown, Pierre and Yankton 108-29.
Lincoln beat Brandon Valley 60-28 in its only game against an ESD team prior to its trip to Joe Quintal Field on Friday.
Sioux Falls-based schools have played 10 games against ESD teams this season. In the nine games not including Mitchell’s one-point victory, Sioux Falls schools have outscored ESD teams 374-95 and have won each game by an average of 31 points per contest.
“It was good for the ESD to have one of our schools knock off a Sioux Falls school because it hasn’t happened in a while,” Kramer said. “I don’t think any ESD coach would hide it, we were glad to see it happen.”
Some coaches across the state were not overly surprised at the Kernels victory.
Take longtime Brookings coach Gary Maffett, for example.
“I thought (Mitchell) always had the capability to do something like this with their speed,” said Maffett, who last led his team to a win over a Sioux Falls school in 2007, when the Bobcats beat top-ranked O’Gorman in a quarterfinal of the playoffs.
Maffett said he heard about Mitchell’s latest Sioux Falls upset from other ESD coaches through a social media outlet.
“ESD coaches, we’re all friends,” Maffett said. “We want to beat each other on the field, but we hear about things like this when they happen, without a doubt.”
Others, like Rapid City Central’s Trent Pikula, were shocked at the result.
“I didn’t think Mitchell had a chance when it came to defending Lincoln’s receivers,” said Pikula, whose team lost to Lincoln 41-6 on Sept. 16 and fell to Mitchell 34-23 on Oct. 7. “The Lincoln team we saw was much better than the Mitchell team we saw, but that doesn’t mean much until you get on the field.”
Pikula said Central last beat a Sioux Falls school in 2006, a year that saw the Cobblers top Washington and Lincoln.
Aberdeen Central’s Mike Flakus did not hear about Mitchell’s surprise victory until Saturday morning. Flakus also needed a rundown of how the game ended before answering questions about what the game meant for the ESD.
“Wow,” Flakus said after being told of the Kernels’ dramatic final two minutes. “What a fantastic game.
“Sometimes, you pull for the little guy a little bit and Mitchell’s a great story this year. What a great group of seniors they have and I’m happy for Kent (VanOverschelde) and his coaching staff to have this kind of team.”
Aberdeen’s most-recent victory over a Sioux Falls school came in 2009, a year that star quarterback Jared Hannigan led the Eagles to two victories over O’Gorman and a second-place finish in the state. Aberdeen lost to Washington in the title game that season.
Yankton coach Arlin Likness listened to part of the second half on his team’s bus ride home from a 29-14 loss at Washington.
“I had to sit around at the school when we got back just to hear the end of it,” said Likness, whose team last beat a Sioux Falls school in 2007 when the Bucks downed Roosevelt. “As a coach in the ESD, we like when our conference wins. It was great to listen to Mitchell beat Lincoln.”
A Sioux Falls-based school has won the state title each season since 2003, when Spearfish beat Aberdeen for the championship.
Since 2003, 12 of the 16 state-title game participants have been teams from Sioux Falls.
But before the 2003 season, the state title game was dominated by ESD teams. Mitchell’s last appearance in the state title game was in 1993, when it lost to O’Gorman 21-6. From 1993 to 2003, O’Gorman’s title in 1993 was the only title won by a Sioux Falls school and only three times did a Sioux Falls-based school make the title game.
But it is not the 1990s anymore. Sioux Falls is the leader when it comes to high school football and when a team from outside its city limits takes down a team from within them, it does not go unnoticed anywhere in the state of South Dakota.
“Anytime a Sioux Falls school gets beat by somebody other than a Sioux Falls school, it’s a headline,” Pikula said. “But when you have the Greenway boys, anything is possible.”
Jason and Justin Greenway certainly had a hand in the upset. But a full team effort has made the Kernels the topic of water-cooler conversations around the state the past five days.