Yankton tops Mitchell in ESD Conference matchupYANKTON — Mitchell, winless on the season, watched as Yankton played with rhythm and confidence Friday night in an Eastern South Dakota Conference high school football game.
By: Chris Riley, Yankton Press and Dakotan
YANKTON — Mitchell, winless on the season, watched as Yankton played with rhythm and confidence Friday night in an Eastern South Dakota Conference high school football game.
A swarming defense led the Bucks (6-2, 6-0 ESD) to a 40-0 victory over the Kernels at Crane-Youngworth Field in a solid performance.
“There are still a lot of things we want to work on and need to improve at but after the last two weeks the best thing is we stayed healthy tonight,” Bucks head coach Arlin Likness said.
Yankton’s defense held Mitchell (0-8, 0-6 ESD) to only 170 yards. If you take away a first-quarter 53-yard run by Kernel quarterback Matt Larson, Mitchell averaged only 2.5 yards per offensive play.
“It’s just a continuation of lack of execution,” Mitchell head coach Kent VanOverschelde said referring to his team’s offensive effort. “We knew they were going to be physical up front and were unable to match that. Besides our second drive, we really didn’t really get anything going.”
The Bucks defensive front completely shut down the Kernel running game, allowing only 94 yards on 36 carries with that 53-yard gain included while the Bucks rushed for 209 yards themselves on the same number of touches.
Along with stopping the Kernel rushing attack, Yankton’s secondary only allowed Larson to pass for 76 yards on 5 for 12 passing while intercepting the Mitchell sophomore two times, one of those resulting in a 55-yard touchdown return by J.J. Hejna.
“When you get turnovers it gets everyone pumped up,” the junior said of his third-quarter interception and score.”
Yankton got off to a quick start when sophomore Jordan Lightner found the endzone on a six-yard dive less than four minutes into the game after the Bucks defense forced a quick three and out.
The offense stalled for over a quarter of play at that point however, as Yankton would not get on the board again until Levi Davis hit the endzone from five yards out with 3:52 left to play in the first half.
Lightner added his second score of the game three minutes later with another short run, this time from five yards away, as the Bucks took a 21-0 halftime lead.
“We didn’t play the way we thought we should have the last two games,” Hejna added. “This was a big game for us with the ESD title still out there.”
Despite being surprised by a successful Mitchell onside kick to open the second half, the Bucks settled down with Hejna’s interception and Evan Schroeder followed that with a 57-yard touchdown run where he simply sprinted past the entire Mitchell defense.
Lightner added his third score of the game with a 19-yard fourth-quarter run as the Bucks found the end zone at least once in each period of play.
“We’re playing hard on every snap of the football, but the big thing is we’re giving up big plays,” VanOverschelde said. “They were given a short field twice, and it really put the defense in tough situations.”
The Kernels dropped to 0-8 on the season and have a short week to prepare for its final regular season game against Huron.
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. Thursday at Joe Quintal Field in Mitchell.
YANKTON 40, MITCHELL 0
Mitchell (0-8) 0 0 0 0 — 0
Yankton (6-2) 7 14 12 7 — 40
Y: Jordan Lightner, 6-yard run (Brady Hale kick)
Y: Levi Davis, 5-yard run (Hale kick)
Y: Lightner, 5-yard run (Hale kick)
Y: J.J. Hejna, 55-yard interception return (2-point conversion failed)
Y: Evan Schroeder, 57-yard run (PAT failed)
Y: Lightner, 19-yard run (Hale kick)
RUSHING: Yankton: Evan Schroeder 10-122, Jordan Lightner 7-42, Levi Davis 7-42, James Hisek 2-11, Tim Cross 2-4, George Hite 1-1, Brady Hale 1-0, Parker Kuchta 2-(-1), Rucker 4-(-12); Mitchell: Matt Larson 12-54, Landon Neugebauer 7-16, Joe Medicine Horn 1-11, Mitch Johnson 9-6, Mitch Berens 2-6, Logan Long 2-5, Chase Harms 1-0, Micah Hettinger 1-(-2), Jacob Cersosimo 1-(-2).
PASSING: Yankton: Michael Rucker 6-9-0-69, Brady Hale 2-4-0-11; Mitchell: Matt Larson 5-12-2-76.
RECEIVING: Yankton: J.J. Hejna 3-64, Troy Hunhoff 1-6, Tim Cross 1-6, Charlie Stephenson 1-5, Kolby LaCroix 1-1, Evan Schroeder 1-(-2); Mitchell: Ethan Jones 2-50, Landon Neugebauer 1-13, Beau Brown 1-9, Evan Mastel 1-4.