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If it's not broke, don't fix it. That's the easy way to look at the Mitchell High School football team's offense, which has averaged 25 points per game and helped the team start the season 3-0. The No. 2 Kernels have rushed for 801 yards, an average of 267 per game, and scored eight touchdowns on the ground.
In South Dakota prep sports, turning the tide of tradition can be hard. The high school football rivalry between Mitchell and Yankton is evidence of that. While the No. 2 Kernels' 33-21 victory over their winless Eastern South Dakota Conference rival went mostly as expected, it was still a hard-earned and historically significant victory.
FREEMAN -- After allowing three big plays in the first half, the Mitchell High School football team’s defense delivered when it needed to the most. The No. 2 Kernels blanked Yankton's offense in the second half to propel Mitchell to a 33-21 Eastern South Dakota Conference victory on Friday in Freeman. Mitchell improved to 3-0 for the first time since 2011, while Yankton fell to 0-3.
Arlin Likness remembers gathering his team to watch game film on old VHS tapes. Kent VanOverschelde recalled all the road trips he had to make, meeting opposing coaches halfway just to exchange tapes. In some cases, VanOverschelde would come away with a tape that hadn't been properly "dubbed" and had to redo the tape-copying process and meet again. In 2017, those stories are now the lore of longtime coaches, who can look back and laugh at how the logistics of gaining a video recording of any team's football game has drastically changed.
The Eastern South Dakota Conference football matchup between the Mitchell Kernels and the Yankton Bucks appears to feature two teams heading in different directions. Mitchell is 2-0 and ranked No. 2 in the latest South Dakota Prep Media poll, while Yankton has started the season 0-2 for the first time in more than 10 years. But don't expect the Kernels to look past the Bucks when the teams meet at 7 p.m. today in Freeman. The game was moved because of construction delays at Yankton's Crane-Youngworth Field.
One of the Mitchell High School football team's bigger question marks entering the season is steadily becoming one of the Kernels' biggest strengths.
It only took the Mitchell High School football team three offensive plays to put its stamp on the second annual Kernel Bowl. After Brookings was stuffed by the Kernel defense near the goal line, Drew Kitchens busted loose for an 85-yard touchdown run to give Mitchell an early 6-0 lead. From there, it was all Mitchell as the No. 2 Kernels powered past No. 4 Brookings 21-7 on Saturday night at Joe Quintal Field. Mitchell (2-0) kept Brookings out of the end zone for the first three quarters and won the battle in the trenches, using a strong rushing attack on offense.
In the second annual Kernel Bowl, the ground game figures to loom large. Both the No. 2 Mitchell Kernels and No. 4 Brookings Bobcats featured run-heavy offenses in season-opening victories and both teams will be looking for more of the same success in the Eastern South Dakota football matchup at 7 p.m. on Saturday at Joe Quintal Field. The Kernels (1-0) rushed for 265 yards in their 21-7 win over Watertown, while Brookings (1-0) totalled 314 rushing yards in a 27-21 win over Yankton.
Despite some early serving woes, the Mitchell High School volleyball team kept rolling on Thursday. The No. 2 Kernels spotted the Yankton Gazelles plenty of points via failed serves, both long and short, in the first two sets. Those miscues turned out to be minor setbacks for Mitchell in the Eastern South Dakota Conference matchup as the Kernels quickly dispatched Yankton in straight sets 25-17, 25-17 and 25-10 at the MHS gym.
It's safe to say all eyes were on the offensive unit in the Mitchell High School football team's first game. With only two returning starters—Kiel Nelson and Carson Max—there were plenty of question marks about how the Kernels would move the ball. On Saturday against the Watertown Arrows, it didn't take the unit long to answer some of those questions. The offense put together three impressive scoring drives and didn't turn the ball over, which proved to be more than enough as Mitchell earned a 21-7 win.