Kernels stomp Eagles 42-14, advance to 11AA quarterfinal round with winAs the final minute ticked off the clock, Mitchell High School football coach Kent VanOverschelde was shaking hands and pounding fists with members of the Kernels’ senior class Tuesday night.
By: Travis Mester, The Daily Republic
As the final minute ticked off the clock, Mitchell High School football coach Kent VanOverschelde was shaking hands and pounding fists with members of the Kernels’ senior class Tuesday night.
The act of gratitude by the fifth-year head coach came as a sort of a thank-you to a group of players who provided yet another stamp on their legacy at MHS.
The fifth-seeded Kernels beat 12th-seeded Aberdeen Central 42-14 in a Class 11AA first-round playoff game in front of an estimated 1,300 fans at Joe Quintal Field. It was the first time the Kernels have won a playoff game since 2006.
Mitchell will play fourth-seeded Sioux Falls Washington in a quarterfinal scheduled for 8 p.m. Monday at Howard Wood Stadium in Sioux Falls.
“That legacy that these seniors have left has just been significant,” VanOverschelde said. “The commitment they’ve made to our program is so rewarding. I can’t say enough about their legacy that they’ve left on this high school.”
The Kernels (8-2) led by only seven points midway through the third quarter before one of their heralded seniors — third-year quarterback Brent Havlik — took over.
Havlik found Jade Miller on a 32-yard touchdown pass and rushed in a 2-yard score within a 3-minute span toward the end of the third quarter. He also put the final touches on the victory with a 37-yard run on an option keeper with a little less than nine minutes to play.
“We realized it was coming toward the end and we wanted to step on their throats a little bit,” senior center and defensive end Taylor Herrick said of the momentum change in Mitchell’s favor midway through the third quarter. “This wasn’t just like any other game, the intensity was up and everyone was excited.”
Mitchell’s defense began bringing pressure following Aberdeen’s second score, which came with 9 minutes, 47 seconds left in the third quarter to make the score 21-14. Jarib Johnson caught a 67-yard pass from quarterback Roman Orr to make things interesting.
Dylan Hart and Dalton Wangerin made sure it was the last success the Aberdeen offense had all night.
Hart, a senior middle linebacker, blitzed up the middle continuously in the second half and Wangerin, a senior defensive tackle, made a living in the Golden Eagles’ backfield.
“We knew we were going to struggle running the ball against them and we thought we could get some receivers loose against their man-to-man defense on the outside,” Aberdeen coach Mike Flakus said. “Defensively, I thought we did some good things. They just have so many weapons that it’s hard to stop them all.”
Added VanOverschelde: “Dylan was coming hard. We wanted to bring that pressure to (Orr), and that obviously made a significant difference in the game.”
Hart finished with a team-high nine tackles and three sacks and Wangerin had two sacks in the second half.
In the first half, Mitchell got a 40-yard touchdown from Jason Greenway for the first score of the game. Havlik found Greenway with a 16-yard pass at the start of the second quarter for a 14-0 Mitchell lead.
Aberdeen answered that score with a seven-play drive culminating in a Reid Fust 15-yard touchdown catch from Orr. Justin Greenway added an 8-yard run — on a reverse handoff from Jason Greenway — in the final minute of the first half to give the Kernels a 21-7 lead.
“I never felt like we didn’t have control of the football game,” VanOverschelde said. “Aberdeen just kept throwing the ball and making plays. Hats off to them.”
NOTES: Mitchell got an interception from four difference players in the game. Jason Greenway, Justin Greenway, Kirby Fuerst and Austin Loes all picked off Orr in the contest. … Mitchell was hosting its first playoff game since the 2007 season, when the Kernels were the No. 8 seed and lost to ninth-seeded Brookings at Joe Quintal Field. … Mitchell coach Kent VanOverschelde’s mother, Donna VanOverschelde, was the winner of the 50/50 raffle, which was announced between the third and fourth quarter. The announcement by public address announcer Craig Mock prompted a roar from the crowd and a “Way to go, Grandma,” exclamation from Kernels ball-boy Joe VanOverschelde, Kent’s son. … Mitchell senior Justin Greenway had two long touchdowns called back because of penalties within a four-play span in the third quarter. Justin Greenway returned a punt for a touchdown that was called back because of an illegal block in the back on the Kernels, who scored two plays later on Havlik’s 32-yard pass to Miller. On Aberdeen Central’s first play following Miller’s touchdown catch, Greenway intercepted Orr and returned it 35 yards for a touchdown, which was called back because holding on Mitchell following the interception, which Havlik followed with a 2-yard score five plays later.
Mitchell 42, Aberdeen Central 14
M: Jason Greenway 40 run (Jade Miller kick), 5:44
M: Jason Greenway 16 pass from Brent Havlik (Miller kick), 11:47
A: Reid Fust 15 pass from Roman Orr (Chris Bobzien kick), 10:00
M: Justin Greenway 8 run (Miller kick), 43:4
A: Jarib Johnson 67 pass from Orr (Bobzien kick), 9:47
M: Jade Miller 32 pass from HAvlik (Miller kick), 5:34
M: Havlik 2 run (Miller kick), 3:07
M: Havlik 37 run (Miller kick), 8:45
Team and individual statistics
Mitchell: Brent Havlik 7-10-0-85
Aberdeen: Orr 16-40-4-299
Mitchell: Team — 47-308. Jason Greenway 16-94; Justin Greenway 10-84; Brent Havlik 16-90; Eric Bortnem 1-24
Mitchell: Jade Miller 2-39; Jason Greenway 3-30
Aberdeen: Reid Fust 8-142
Total yards: Mitchell 393; Aberdeen 338
Mitchell: Dylan Hart 9 tackles, 3 sacks; Dalton Wangerin 3 tackles, 2 sacks; Austin Loes 7 tackles, INT; Jason Greenway INT; Justin Greenway INT; Kirby Fuerst INT