Kernels looking to slow down Brandon Valley's high-powered pass gameIf the Kernels hope to keep up with Brandon Valley’s high-powered passing game Friday, they’ll need a strong game from their secondary.
By: Luke Hagen, The Daily Republic
If the Kernels hope to keep up with Brandon Valley’s high-powered passing game Friday, they’ll need a strong game from their secondary.
“No doubt our secondary has to play with confidence and, at times, play with a short memory,” said Mitchell coach Kent VanOverschelde, whose team takes the field for an Eastern South Dakota Conference high school football game against the Lynx at 7 p.m. in Brandon.
The Kernels (0-3) will be facing one of the state’s top passing attacks. Brandon Valley quarterback Chase Marso, who’s in his second year of starting, is completing 63 percent of his passes and has thrown for 616 yards and six touchdowns in three games.
Marso has had plenty of weapons that have propelled Brandon Valley (3-0) to the No. 2 ranking in Class AA. The Lynx have three wideouts who’ve surpassed the 100-yard mark this season, including Matt Vandeberg, a 2011 first-team all-ESD and Class 11AA all-state selection. The 6-foot-1, 170-pound senior has reeled in 17 passes for 199 yards and three touchdowns for the Lynx.
Also in Marso’s arsenal is A.J. Garrow, who has 12 catches for 128 yards and one touchdown and Nate Winter, who has nine catches for 186 yards and a touchdown.
Brandon Valley coach Chad Garrow also had current SDSU starting quarterback Austin Sumner on his team, but said this year’s passing attack is as impressive as any he’s ever coached. Through three games, Brandon Valley is averaging 37 points per game and runs a multiple-wide receiver base offense.
“It’s hard to compare years,” said Garrow, who led his team to the ESD championship last year, sharing the title with Yankton. “I think this is right up there with any of the passing teams we’ve had in the past, and a lot of that depends on your front line and how much you can protect your quarterback. For the most part, we’ve been able to do that with Chase for the last year and a half.”
Mitchell’s starting secondary of three juniors and one senior hopes to slow down the Lynx. Corners Gramm Johnson and Nathan Wahlen and safeties Alex Herrick and Evan Mastel — a senior who had an interception in last week’s loss to Aberdeen — will be mixing up coverage schemes, hoping to make Marso and the Lynx’s throwing attack go to second and third options.
Besides a strong passing attack, Brandon Valley senior running back Tony Tripp is averaging 5.8 yards per rush with 29 carries for 176 yards and four touchdowns this year. The 5-foot-11, 185-pounder has also caught two touchdowns passes.
“At times, they do what they want to do,” VanOverschelde said. “It seems like everything is designed and they’ve very good at executing their overall plan.”
Linebacker Kirby Fuerst is leading Mitchell’s defense at 9.7 tackles per game. He’s one of five players on the roster averaging at least 5 tackles per game. Linebacker Micah Hettinger is at 6.3 tackles per game and he also leads the team with two sacks on the season. Herrick is at 6 tackles per game, Mastel averages 5.3 tackles per game and linebacker Jon Jamison is at 5 tackles per game.
Offensively for the Kernels, Landon Neugebauer has become one of the team’s primary ball-handlers. He’s leading the team with 13 catches out of the backfield for 159 yards and has 27 carries for 119 yards, averaging 3.2 yards per rush. Mitch Johnson, another sophomore running back, also has 37 carries on the year for 127 yards, averaging 3.4 yards per rush.
Mitchell’s offense showed flashes of promise in the fourth quarter last week, scoring on its final two drives led by sophomore quarterback Matt Larson. The Kernels are averaging about 14 points per game this season.
In three starts, Larson has 21 rushes for 30 yards and is 32-of-59 passing for 296 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions. After Neugebauer, Ethan Jones has caught seven passes for 44 yards and Mastel pulled in six catches for 45 yards.
“I expect Mitchell’s offense to get better each game,” Garrow said. “With how young they are, getting experience for them is key.”
When/Where: 7 p.m. today in Brandon.
Last meeting: Brandon Valley beat Mitchell 14-8 on Sept. 16, 2011 on the Kernels’ homecoming at Joe Quintal Field.
Coaches: Mitchell’s Kent VanOver-schelde, sixth year; Brandon Valley’s Chad Garrow, seventh year
Forecast: 74 degree temperature at kickoff with 6 mph winds from the south-south east. No chance of precipitation.
Mitchell projected starters
Position: Name, year, height, weight
QB: Matt Larson, So., 5-10, 165
HB: Mitch Johnson, So., 5-7, 155
FB: Landon Neugebauer, So., 5-11, 150
WR: Beau Brown, So., 5-11, 145
TE: Ethan Jones, Jr., 6-0, 180
TE: Evan Mastel, Sr., 5-10, 180
C: Andrew Getty, Jr., 6-10, 220
LT: Chandler Nelson, So., 6-1, 220
LG: Ben Morken, Sr., 5-10, 230
RG: Justice Hinker, Sr., 6-1, 235
RT: Dylanger Pierson, Jr., 6-4, 235
DL: Jon Jamison, Jr., 6-2, 165
DL: Dylanger Pierson, Jr., 6-4, 235
DL: Tyler Sipes, Sr., 6-1, 250
LB: Mitch Morgan, Jr., 6-4, 215
LB: Micah Hettinger, Jr., 5-9, 175
LB: Kirby Fuerst, Sr., 5-11, 175
LB: Ethan Jones, Jr., 6-0, 180
CB: Gramm Johnson, Jr., 5-6, 125
CB: Nathan Wahlen, Jr., 6-0, 140
S: Evan Mastel, Sr., 5-10, 180
S: Alex Herrick, Jr., 5-10, 150
K: Kanin Nelson, Fr., 6-3, 175
P: Nathan Wahlen, Jr., 6-0, 140
Brandon Valley projected starters
Position: Name, year, height, weight
QB: Chase Marso, Sr., 6-3, 190
HB: Tony Tripp, Sr., 5-11, 185
WR: A.J. Garrow, Jr., 5-10, 165
WR: Matt Vandeberg, Sr., 6-1, 170
WR: Adam Bauer, Sr., 5-11, 165
TE: Nate Winter, Sr., 6-2, 200
C: Mason Mitzel, Jr., 5-11, 240
LT: Joe Sandoval, Sr., 6-2, 250
LG: Mason Bender, Sr., 6-0, 185
RG: Tanner Ploen, Sr., 5-9, 195
RT: Erik Ode, Jr., 6-3, 305
DL: Josiah McGee, Sr., 6-3, 300
DL: Erik Ode, Jr., 6-3, 305
DL: Joe Sandoval, Sr., 6-2, 250
LB: Lucas Lunstra, Jr., 5-8, 180
LB: Jake Adams, Jr., 6-1, 200
LB: Adam Guthmiller, Sr., 5-11, 185
LB: Luke Hyronimus, Sr., 6-0, 185
CB: Trevor Arrowsmith, Sr., 5-11, 165
CB: Adam Bauer, Sr., 5-11, 165
S: Tony Tripp, Sr., 5-11, 185
S: Matt Vandeberg, Sr., 6-1, 170
K: Chase Marso, Sr., 6-3, 190
P: Matt Vandeberg, Sr., 6-1, 170