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Seahawks, Chargers set for rematch

Bridgewater-Emery/Ethan's Brady Hawkins (5) dives towards the pylon while being tackled by Mount Vernon/Plankinton's Tre Jones (10) during a Class 11B semifinal game on Nov. 2 in Bridgewater. (Matt Gade / Republic)

Bridgewater-Emery/Ethan vs. Sioux Falls Christian Part II is today.

The Seahawks and Chargers will lock horns for the second straight season in the Class 11B state football championship game. The rematch is at 1 p.m. today at the DakotaDome in Vermillion.

Sioux Falls Christian won last year's title 27-12, but BEE coach Jeff Van Leur is focusing on this season.

"This is a new season and we have to take care of business," Van Leur said. "What happened last year, happened and there is nothing we can do about that and we are going down there to play our style of football and leave it on the field."

Van Leur added there might be a certain level of motivation facing the Chargers again, but they're also just determined to win their first 11-man title, no matter the opponent.

"We like to get that taste out of our mouth, if possible, of getting that second place trophy and so I don't think it matters who we play," Van Leur said. "We like to go back there and have an opportunity to bring home the gold."

The Seahawks (10-1) and Chargers (9-2) both feature dynamic rushing attacks as the offenses will look to sustain long drives.

"They haven't changed very much," Van Leur said. "They still like that ball control offense. They like to cut down on the possessions of the game and power the football right at you."

Sioux Falls Christian all-state running back Parker Nelson gashed the Seahawks last season to the tune of 253 yards on 40 carries.

"We just can't give up big plays and Parker Nelson is one of those kids that has a lot of speed," Van Leur said. "If he gets opens field, he can run like crazy. So we need to keep him contained."

The Seahawks have a pretty good running back, too. Senior Jamin Arend has rushed for 1,206 yards and 22 touchdowns. He's added 261 receiving yards and three more scores. He's also scored on two punt returns, one kickoff return and an interception return.

Quarterback Brady Hawkins has thrown for 1,261 yards and 14 touchdowns, while adding 595 rushing yards and eight more scores. Wide receiver Sawyer Schultz has hauled in 25 catches for 457 yards and six touchdowns, while Jonah Hofer has 16 catches for 318 yards and four touchdowns.

Van Leur expects BEE passing threat to keep the Charger defense honest.

"I think the passing game is going to play big," Van Leur said. "We are going to need to back them off a little bit and get them out of the box a little bit more than we did last year and we feel very comfortable throwing the football. I think we at least spread their defense out a little bit and force them to cover more of the field than we did last year and that's going to be advantage, I think."

The Seahawks are coming off a 41-6 win over Mount Vernon/Plankinton in the semifinal round. BEE has rattled off five straight convincing wins since its lone defeat against Canton on Sept. 28.

"I think we are peaking at the right time," Van Leur said. "We've worked hard all season long and each game we've improved. ... We just need to keep rolling the way we are and improve as the game goes on and make some adjustments and be a better football team by the time it's done."

Defensively, Hawkins has 114 total tackles and one interception. Carter Dye has 111 tackles, nine sacks and four fumble recoveries. Grant Andrews has recorded 88 tackles and four sacks. Schultz has six interceptions, while Arend has five interceptions.

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