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Kernels look to bounce back at Brookings

Mitchell's Carson Max (33) attempts to power through a tackle by Watertown's Sam Stroup (50) on Saturday night at Joe Quintal Field. (Matt Gade / Republic)

After unraveling in late in last Saturday's season opener against Watertown, No. 2 Mitchell High School is set to get back in the saddle today at No. 4 Brookings for its first Class 11AA game of the season.

The Kernels have taken the last three installments in the series with the Bobcats, but Brookings may be on the upswing after edging Yankton in the first game of the season, 24-23.

Short memories

At times the Kernels looked like the team favored to win Class 11AA, with Kiel Nelson throwing two touchdown passes and Carson Max pounding his way through the defense on a third-quarter scoring drive, but it didn't last the whole game.

Not only did Mitchell surrender a 19-point lead late in the third quarter against Watertown, but the Kernels also allowed 40 points in a little more than 14 minutes of game time.

"We have to overcome any doubts that we have," MHS head coach Kent VanOverschelde said. "... We have to just get on the football field and play. The team has to understand that and I think the kids have had a pretty short memory."

Not so special teams

The play of the special teams was dismal in the collapse, as Mitchell allowed touchdowns on a kick return and punt return, while also botching the snap on an extra point and failing to convert a fake punt in the fourth quarter.

Not only did the Kernels surrender two touchdown returns, but the first was the spark that lit the fuse for the Arrows. Mitchell's defense had been stout to that point and Watertown was able to gain momentum without having to move the ball on offense.

Special teams directly led to Watertown taking the lead in a matter of moments. The punt return cut into the lead and the fake punt set up the go-ahead touchdown.

"We try to shore those things up, make some personnel changes because we understand the significance those plays, especially in any kind of sudden change or critical situation," VanOverschelde said. "They definitely have had our attention this week."

Stopping the run

While Mitchell faced a potent aerial attack last week, Brookings is the antithesis of that. The Bobcats threw just 14 passes in Week 1, completing as many to Yankton as their own receivers—three. What did work, however, was the ground game.

Brookings ran for 294 yards and two touchdowns, gaining nearly nine yards per attempt. That attack was led by swift running back Parker Beers, who ran for 164 yards on 18 carries, including a 73-yard jaunt.

The Kernels were stellar defending the run last week, holding Watertown to negative yardage for the entire game. This time they will have to hold up against a Brookings offensive line that averages 245 pounds.

"We have to stop the run, especially in some of their unique formations, like when they go unbalanced," VanOverschelde said. "We have to be ready for them to run their series of plays out of that and we have to able to read the keys and make plays."

When/Where: 7 p.m. tonight at Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium in Brookings

Coaches: Mitchell's Kent VanOverschelde (12th season); Brookings' Lee Schmidt (7th season)

Forecast: 75 degrees and partly sunny at kickoff, with a 40 percent chance of rain and southwest winds at nine mph

Records: Mitchell 0-1; Brookings 1-0

Notes: Mitchell has won the last three meetings with Brookings, including a 21-7 win last season. Drew Kitchens ran for 139 yards and two touchdowns against the Bobcats last year, but is a gametime decision with a sprained ankle.

Mitchell's projected starters:

Offense

QB: Kiel Nelson, Sr., 6-3, 200

RB: Carson Max, Sr., 5-11, 195

RB: Austin Kerr, Jr., 5-9, 175

WR: Koby Larson, Sr., 5-10, 175

WR: Kaden Soukup, Sr., 6-1, 175

LT: Tegan Alm, Sr., 6-7, 200

LG: Zach Mohr, Sr., 6-0, 200

C: Carter Max, Sr., 6-0, 210

RG: Reese Sievert, Sr., 6-2, 225

RT: Mitch Schladweiler, Sr., 6-4, 270

Defense

DE: Dylan Krogman, Sr., 6-1, 195

DT: Wyatt Winter, So., 5-9, 240

DT: Levi Winne, Sr., 5-10, 210

DE: Lalo Reyes, Sr., 5-7, 180

LB: Carson Max, Sr., 5-11, 195

LB: Parker Roden, Sr., 5-7, 160

LB: Max Schoenfelder, Sr., 5-11, 190

LB: Logan Sparks, Sr., 5-8, 150

DB: Peyton Nash, Jr., 5-10, 155

DB: Austin Kerr, Jr., 5-9, 175

DB: Jackson Sadler, Sr., 6-0, 180

Special Teams

K: Trevor Lambert, Jr., 5-11, 180

P: Kiel Nelson, Sr., 6-3, 200 or Carson Max, Sr., 5-11, 195

LS: Reese Sievert, Sr., 6-2, 225

Brookings projected starters

Offense

QB: Jacob Schoon, Sr., 6-2, 180

RB: Parker Beers, Sr., 5-8, 166

RB: Carter Eidem, Jr., 6-0 175

WR: Jay Wilber, Sr., 5-11, 166

WR: Isaac Oetken, Sr., 5-10, 140

TE: Cole Mahlum, So., 6-0, 150

LT: Joe Prusa, Jr., 6-4, 266

LG: Nathan Ramsey, Jr., 5-10, 250

C: Cayden Jacobsma, Jr., 5-8, 205

RG: Tucker Christie, Sr., 6-1, 262

RT: Gus Miller, Jr., 6-2, 245

Defense

DE: Theo Burns, Jr., 6-3, 200

NG: Wes Gehring, Sr., 6-0, 245

DT: Gus Miller, Jr., 6-2, 245

OLB: Carter Eidem, Jr., 5-11, 166

ILB: Logan Bowes, Sr., 5-10, 179

OLB: Brady Ammann, Jr., 5-9, 170

LB: Jay Szafryk, Sr., 6-2, 190

CB: Sam Lehman, Sr., 5-8, 160

CB: Justin Devine, Sr., 5-10, 172

SS: Jay Wilber, Sr., 5-11, 166

FS: Isaac Oetken, Sr., 5-10, 140

Special Teams

K: Justin Devine, Sr., 5-10, 172

P: Tyler Kreutner, Sr., 6-1, 163

LS: Cadin Wright, Jr., 5-9, 165 or Tanner Shepardson, Jr., 6-0, 170

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