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Kernels look to continue momentum

Mitchell's Drew Kitchens (22) runs through a hole created by a block from Carter Max (72) on Watertown's Nick Geffre (68) during an Aug. 27 game at Joe Quintal Field. (Matt Gade / Republic)

After dropping the first game of the season, the Mitchell High School football team bounced back last Friday against Brookings and showed why it was projected as the top dog in Class 11AA heading into the season. Tonight, the No. 2 Kernels look to continue that momentum with a matchup against Yankton.

A balanced attack

Mitchell ran for 430 yards at Brookings and it was a well-balanced attack, as Drew Kitchens finished with 163 yards and a touchdown, Carson Max produced 124 yards and two scores, while Kiel Nelson had 91 yards and a touchdown.

If the Kernels can continue to balance the offense evenly between Kitchens, Max and Nelson, it should keep the Yankton defense guessing.

"It's going to come down to the offensive line adjusting," MHS head coach Kent VanOverschelde said. "We anticipate a pretty aggressive Yankton blitz from their linebackers, which always causes trouble. The key for us in any game moving forward is the ability to run the football."

Winning the turnover battle

Yankton's defense has already shown the capability to force turnovers at a high clip, creating nine through the first two games of the season. Meanwhile, Mitchell has just one this season, coming on a muffed punt return that didn't yield any points.

The Bucks' two losses have come by a total of 12 points so forcing turnovers could allow them to keep the score close.

"Yankton has proven to be opportunistic in turnovers," VanOverschelde said. "We have to avoid those momentum shifts."

Grounding the aerial onslaught

Yankton quarterback Ethan Wishon has gotten off to a solid start, completing 34 of 65 passes for 493 yards and five touchdowns thus far. Meanwhile, Pierre held top rusher Caid Koletzky to just 35 yards on 22 carries last week.

Mitchell has held its opponents to just 2.6 yards per carry this season, but have given up four touchdown passes. All four have been 25 yards or farther and three have been at least 35 yards.

"They'll throw a lot of different things at us," VanOverschelde said. "We just have to communicate and make sure everything is underneath us because if it's underneath us we can make a play."