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Kernel football duo honored

Mitchell’s Matt Larson runs for a touchdown following a hook and ladder in front of his teammates late in the fourth quarter against Brookings on Oct. 11 at Joe Quintal Field in Mitchell. (Sean Ryan/Republic)

Mitchell’s Matt Larson and Ethan Jones were selected for Class 11AA all-state honors for their performances for the Kernel football team this year.

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Larson was named to the Class 11AA first team all-state. The safety led Mitchell on defense after playing quarterback for the Kernels in 2012.

“He was invaluable for us and showed an ability to make plays in many ways on defense,” Mitchell coach Kent VanOverschelde said.

“Moving from the quarterback position meant that he was hardly ever coming off the field.”

Larson finished with 92 total tackles with 42 being solo, while also intercepting two passes and recovering a fumble.

According to VanOverschelde, Larson’s best performance came in the Kernels’ win over Harrisburg in the team’s second game of the season. The junior made 18 tackles, 12 solo, and recovered a fumble.

“That game was when we knew we had someone we could rely on to be a leader on the defensive side of the ball,” VanOverschelde said of Larson’s performance against Harrisburg.

On offense, Larson added a threat in the Kernel passing game. He caught 16 passes for a team-high 256 yards and a score, which came on a thrilling hook and ladder play late in a loss to Brookings.

Jones, a tight end and linebacker for Mitchell, was named a Class 11AA all-state honorable mention.

The senior racked up a team-high 23 catches for 235 yards and two touchdowns. He became a favorite target for sophomore quarterback Kanin Nelson after an early season injury to wide receiver Beau Brown.

“He was a consistent performer and playmaker on the offense,” VanOverschelde said. “It’s a great honor for him to be recognized for the versatility he showed blocking and in the passing game from his tight end position.”

Jones added 32 tackles and a sack on defense.