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Kernels fall to Roosevelt 38-7

Mitchell quarterback Kanin Nelson is tackled by Sioux Falls Roosevelt’s Kory Lindquist during the second quarter of a high school football game Friday at Howard Wood Field in Sioux Falls. (Aaron Saunders/Republic)

SIOUX FALLS — Keeping the Rough Rider offense off the field proved easier said than done Friday as Sioux Falls Roosevelt beat the Kernels 38-7 at Howard Wood Field in Sioux Falls.

“Sioux Falls Roosevelt is a really good football team and a great program,” VanOverschelde said. “We were prepared, but we just missed some tackles and made some fundamental mistakes. We needed to play physical and tough, but they outplayed us.”

Mitchell’s offense never got rolling in the first half and Roosevelt took a 31-0 lead into halftime. The Kernels crossed the 50-yard line twice in the opening half with the first coming in the first quarter when Nate Wahlen was drilled as he booted the ball away on a punt, resulting in a penalty. The Kernel offense didn’t take advantage of the momentum and lost the ball on a turnover on downs.

The second came in the second quarter when Matt Larson completed a 25-yard pass on fourth down to Ethan Jones, taking the Kernels to the Rough Rider 29-yard line. Close to the red zone, the drive looked promising, but on the next play Kanin Nelson threw a fade that was intercepted by Roosevelt’s Taylor Bren.

The Kernels eventually got on the board in the fourth quarter on a 2-yard rushing touchdown from Nelson. The sophomore quarterback finished the night with 28 yards passing and 25 yards on the ground. Junior running back Mitch Johnson had a team-leading 55 rushing yards. The scoring drive was set up by an interception from defensive back Nick Hartman.

“We played hard, but we missed some blocks,” Johnson said. “They are so big and fast up front, and they just had guys getting in the backfield and blitzing on every play. We have to pick up on our blitzes better and keep working hard at practice and pick up the tempo.”

With the Mitchell offense stuck in neutral most of the game, Roosevelt took advantage, coming out in a spread formation looking to pass. Junior quarterback Taryn Christion finished with 58 passing yards and 39 rushing yards.

The Rough Riders offense got its jolt of energy from running back Seth Bjordal, who carried the bulk of the load. The senior rushed for 214 yards in the first half and two touchdowns. Bjordal’s biggest run of the night was a 47-yarder, which saw him break through a host of Mitchell tacklers then scamper to the end zone. Roosevelt running back Jake Bear added 51 yards, while Bjordal finished the night with 222 yards.

“I was really happy with our offensive line,” Sioux Falls Roosevelt head coach Kim Nelson said. “Our passing game was a little off, but Seth had a good game running the football. We missed some passes and dropped some balls, but if we can run the ball as well as we did tonight then we are in good shape.”

Mitchell also had a chance to score on its first two drives of the third quarter. Kernel linebacker Jon Jamison recovered an onside kick to start the third quarter. Mitchell advanced the ball to 17-yard line on a pass connection from Nelson to Jones. After an incomplete pass and two sacks, the Kernels attempted a field goal, but missed.

The Kernels looked poised to score again on their next drive, but a field-goal attempt was blocked by Roosevelt and returned 88 yards by Ben Whempner for a touchdown.

“In the third quarter we did a good job of continuing to play,” VanOverschelde said. “We saw what we wanted to see and that was 11 guys getting to the football. I was proud of the overall effort of the kids tonight.”

Friday was Mitchell’s first and only contest against a Class 11AAA school. Roosevelt has won both of its games against Class 11AA schools this season.

NOTE: The Kernels’ leading wide receiver, junior Beau Brown, did not play and is out with concussion-like symptoms.

MITCHELL (3-2) 0 0 0 7-7

SF ROOSEVELT (5-1) 10 21 7 0-38

First Quarter

R: Chase Vinatieri 32 field goal, 7:39

R: Taryn Christion 15 run (Vinatieri kick) 0:33

Second Quarter

R: Seth Bjordal 47-yard run (Vinatieri kick),10:53

R: Bjordal 3 run (Vinatieri kick), 7:52

R: Jake Bear 6 run (Vinatieri kick), 0:27

Third Quarter

R: Ben Whempner 88 return (Vinatieri kick), 2:48

Fourth Quarter

M: Kanin Nelson 1 run (Giaever kick), 4:39

Individual stats

RUSHING: Mitchell:Mitch Johnson 17-55, Kanin Nelson 14-25; Roosevelt: Seth Bjordal 13-222, Jett Thune 6-60, Jake Bear 6-51, Christion 7-49.

PASSING: Mitchell: Kanin Nelson 5-19 18-0-28, Matt Larson 1-2-1-25, Justin Syring 0-1; Roosevelt: Taryn Christion 5-16-0-58, Jett Thune, 4-8-1-20.

RECEIVING: Mitchell: Ethan Jones 3-47 yards, Matt Larson 1-5, Nate Wahlen 1-2; Roosevelt: David Mulbah 3-34, Seth Bjordal 1-22, Jamal Albousafi 1-7.

DEFENSIVE: Mitchell: Tyler Larson seven tackles, Alex Herrick four tackles, Jon Jamison two tackles, one sack, Nick Hartman one interception. Roosevelt: Kory Lindquist seven tackles one sack, Kyle Olinger six tackles, Cody Barse four tackles.