Big plays hurt Mitchell in 34-6 loss to PierreBig plays continue to take the Kernels out of football games. Mitchell fell 34-6 to Pierre Friday in an Eastern South Dakota Conference high school football matchup at Joe Quintal Field in Mitchell.
By: Kevin Pottebaum, The Daily Republic
Big plays continue to take the Kernels out of football games.
Mitchell fell 34-6 to Pierre Friday in an Eastern South Dakota Conference high school football matchup at Joe Quintal Field in Mitchell.
Of the Governors’ five touchdowns, four came on plays of more than 40 yards and the other was set up by a 51-yard pass.
Pierre quarterback Alexander Gray completed three passes on six attempts but threw for 201 yards and two touchdowns.
“You take away a few big plays and it could have been a different situation at the half,” Mitchell coach Kent VanOverschelde said.
The Governors hit all three pass plays in the first half of the game to take a 21-0 lead into the break before Austin Wagner scored on the next two offensive plays for Pierre on rushing plays of 45 and 44 yards.
“We went to the passing game in the first half and threw some long passes,” Pierre coach Joe Kramer said. “We’re not a knit-and-pick passing team. We like to throw the ball deep to get the safeties off us so we can set up our running game.”
Wagner finished the night with 112 yards rushing and three touchdowns on seven carries for the Governors, who improved to 4-1 overall and 4-1 in the ESD.
“Football is about making plays,” VanOverschelde said. “Obviously, the big plays that they had were huge and we didn’t respond.”
Mitchell, which dropped to 0-5 overall and 0-5 in the ESD, showed early success on offense, but the Kernels were shutout in the first half.
On the team’s second drive of the game, the Kernels drove 45 yards down the field with the help of three Matt Larson completions for 43 yards. But on the sophomore’s fourth pass attempt of the drive, Pierre’s Nathan Blaseg hauled in an interception down the left sideline.
Mitchell continued to show life offensively, but was unable to sustain drives and put points on the board.
“It looked like we were executing,” VanOverschelde said. “We did some good things, but we were kind of our own worst enemy with some penalties and some dropped balls.”
Larson finished the night 15-of-24 passing for 113 yards.
Evan Mastel was Larson’s main target on the night, hauling in seven catches for 44 yards, while Landon Neugebauer led the offense with 47 yards receiving on five catches and had 42 yards rushing on four attempts. Neugebauer recorded a 26-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter for Mitchell’s only scoring play.
Mitch Johnson tallied 27 yards on the ground on nine carries and VanOverschelde said he will continue to take the bulk of the carries out of the Mitchell backfield and Neugebauer will be used more in the passing game.
“Landon had some nice runs in there, but Mitch Johnson is improving,” he said. “We did see an improvement in Johnson keeping his feet up and driving and things are coming, but it’s a slow process.”
NOTES: Mitchell’s offense successfully ran two hook-and-lateral passing plays in the game. In the first quarter, Larson completed a pass to Beau Brown, who tossed the ball to Neugebauer for an 11-yard gain. In the third quarter, Nathan Wahlen hauled in a Larson toss and pitched it to Neugebauer for a gain of 10. … Mitchell’s defense held Pierre to six yards of offense through the first five Governor plays before Austin Christopherson hauled in a deep ball down the right sideline and ran for an 87-yard touchdown to open up the scoring. ... Mitchell recorded 12 first downs in the game compared to Pierre’s 11.
Pierre 34, Mitchell 6
Pierre … .. 7 14 13 0 - 34
Mitchell … 0 0 0 6 - 6
P: Alexander Gray pass to Austin Christopherson 87 (Garrett Pochop kick)
P: Austin Wagner 13 run (Pochop kick)
P: Gray pass to Christopherson 63 (Pochop kick)
P: Wagner 45 run (Kick failed)
P: Wagner 44 run (Pochop kick)
M: Landon Neugebauer 26 run (Kick failed)
Rushing — Mitchell 88 (Neugebauer 42, Mitch Johnson 27, Matt Larson 12, Micah Hettinger 6, Alex Herrick 1) Pierre 192 (Wagner 112, Jace Jerome 51).
Passing —Mitchell, Larson 15-24-113-1; Gray 3-6-201-2.
Receiving — Mitchell (Neugebauer 47, Evan Mastel 44, Tyler Larson 16, Johnson 11, Beau Brown 8); Pierre (Christopherson 150, Wagner 51).
Defensive — Mitchell (Kirby Fuerst 10 tackles, Tyler Larson 8 tackles, Tyler Sipes 8 tackles 1 sack).