Gregory hosts Leola/Frederick in 9AA quarterfinal gameGREGORY — After upsetting the two-time defending state champion Bridgewater-Emery/Ethan football team 36-34 Tuesday in Gregory, the Gregory Gorillas are set to host another Class 9AA playoff game Monday against Leola/Frederick.
By: Kevin Pottebaum, The Daily Republic
GREGORY — After upsetting the two-time defending state champion Bridgewater-Emery/Ethan football team 36-34 Tuesday in Gregory, the Gregory Gorillas are set to host another Class 9AA playoff game Monday against Leola/Frederick.
The contest marks the first quarterfinals appearance for Gregory since 2008, a year after the team finished runner-up in the state tournament.
“After (Tuesday’s) game a lot of people talked about bringing the Gregory Gorilla tradition back to town,” head coach Brian Allmendinger said. “People have been waiting for it and it’s great to see people so excited about it.”
Although the Gorillas hosted the Seahawks in the first round, Bridgewater-Emery/Ethan entered the contest as the favorite, claiming the second spot in the final South Dakota Sportswriters Association football polls. Gregory was ranked No. 5.
Now, the Gorillas will look to build off that come-from-behind win to keep their championship hopes alive.
“We were so excited for the first-round game,” Allmendinger said. “It’s going to be hard to keep that same intensity and focus for this second-round game. The key is to play as physical as we did the other night and play hard.”
This time around, the Gorillas look to be the favorite, sitting as the No. 3 seed in the playoff bracket and taking on the No. 6-seeded Titans.
Both teams enter the contest with 8-1 records. Leola/Frederick received votes in the final SDSA poll but did not earn enough votes to be in the top five.
Each team enters with a high-powered offense and the game may come down to which team can stop the other’s attack.
Leola/Frederick averaged 47.75 points per game during the regular season, while Gregory put up 51 points a game behind an offense led by senior quarterback Jaden Bartling.
Bartling led the Gorillas over the Seahawks with 194 yards rushing with one touchdown and 200 yards passing with four touchdowns.
“We just need to execute our offense the way we have been all year,” Allmendinger said.
“And on defense, we have to gang tackle. Even if they don’t have a kid as tough as Anthony Huber (BEE’s standout running back), we still need to get four guys to the football and try to force some turnovers.”