Running game leads Mitchell through 1-8 seasonThe young Mitchell High School football team was led by its running game in its 1-8 season.
By: Brooke Cersosimo, The Daily Republic
The young Mitchell High School football team was led by its running game in its 1-8 season.
The Kernels’ lone win was against Huron in its final game of the season, beating the Tigers 12-0 on senior night.
The Kernels totaled 1,055 rushing yards this season and averaged 117 rushing yards per game with Landon Neugebauer, Mitch Johnson and Matt Larson leading the way.
Johnson, a junior, led the Mitchell offense with 110 carries for 320 yards and one touchdown this season.
Neugebauer, a sophomore, had 73 carries for 282 yards and four touchdowns in eight games, before injuring his left knee in the second to last game of the season. Larson, a sophomore, had 72 carries for 246 yards and three touchdowns.
Mitchell’s air attack completed 74 of 134 passes for 705 yards, three touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Neugebauer led the Kernel receivers with 26 receptions for 235 yards on the season.
Mitchell head coach Kent VanOverschelde said his young team gained experience for future seasons.
“We’re able to take a season that didn’t have a lot of success and turn it into something positive,” said VanOverschelde, referring to the players who will return next season. “Not only to build each week but, also to build for the future. We know we have some returning players, especially in important positions next season.”
On the defensive side of the ball, Mitchell was led by seniors Kirby Fuerst and Evan Mastel. The seniors made the all-Eastern South Dakota Conference team. Fuerst had 98 tackles and two interceptions this season and Mastel had 55 tackles and two interceptions.
The Kernels averaged 65 tackles per game.
Mitchell had seven seniors on its roster, including Mastel, Fuerst, Ben Kummer, Tyler Sipes, Ben Morken, Justice Hinker and Brad Muller.
VanOverschelde said the seniors displayed true leadership on and off the field.
“Although they were a small group, they were diverse,” he said. “Half of that seven played with experience from the year before and the other guys brought in excitement and willingness to learn and grow with the team and program. Their impact was felt.”
Despite losing key senior leaders and players, VanOverschelde said the returning members will need to put in the work if they want to build from this season.
“Obviously, it’s going to be about the commitment that goes into the offseason,” he said. “They’ve got to commit to working hard to see the benefit next year.”
Mitchell football season statistics
Passing: Matt Larson 74-134-10-705, 3 TDs; Kanin Nelson 11-32-3-83; Alex Herrick 3-8-1-17; Landon Neugebauer 1-2-1-3; Jacob Cersosimo 0-1-1-0
Rushing: Mitch Johnson 110-320, 1 TD; Landon Neugebauer 73-282, 4 TDs; Matt Larson 72-246, 3 TDs; Chase Harms 18-139, 1 TD; Kanin Nelson 15-(-21); Micah Hettinger 10-20; Logan Long 8-49; Kirby Fuerst 5-8; Evan Mastel 3-5; Alex Herrick 3-3; Jacob Cersosimo 2-9; Mitch Berens 2-6; Nathan Wahlen 1-(-11)
Receiving: Landon Neugebauer 26-235; Mastel 21-156; Ethan Jones 16-142, 1 TD; Beau Brown 13-172, 2 TDs; Mitch Johnson 6-71; Kirby Fuerst 2-9; Nathan Wahlen 2-5; Tyler Larson 1-16; Micah Hettinger 1-3; Keenan Shannon 1-(-1)
Defensive: Kirby Fuerst 98 tackles, 2 interceptions; Evan Mastel 55 tackles, 2 int.; Jon Jamison 50 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 int.; Micah Hettinger 48 tackles, 4 sacks; Alex Herrick 44 tackles, 2 int.; Tyler Sipes 34 tackles, 1 sack; Ethan Jones 30 tackles; Chase Harms 23 tackles; Justice Hinker 22 tackles; Mitch Johnson 20 tackles; Tyler Larson 19 tackles; Ben Kummer 15 tackles; Mitch Morgan 15 tackles, 1 sack; Dylanger Pierson 14 tackles; Brad Muller 13 tackles, 1 int.; Nathan Wahlen 13 tackles; Preston Skinner 10 tackles; Beau Brown 10 tackles, 1 int.; Gramm Johnson 8 tackles, 1 int.; Chandler Nelson 7 tackles; Robert McCardle 7 tackles; Keenan Shannon 6 tackles; Luke Mauer 5 tackles; Luke Bartl 4 tackles; Landon Neugebauer 3 tackles; Kanin Nelson 2 tackles; Skyler Peterson 2 tackles; Logan Long 2 tackles; Alex Murtha 2 tackles; Austin Weber 2 tackles; Chase Klingaman 1 tackle; Andrew Getty 1 tackle; Nick Hartman 1 tackle; Matt Larson 1 tackle