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Kernels clinch Class 11AA state title trip with 52-14 win over Pierre

For the first time since 1993, the Mitchell High School football team will play for a state football championship. In front of a crowd of 2,300 at Joe Quintal Field Friday, the Kernels scored the first 17 points and put away Pierre 52-14 in the C...

Mitchell's Sam Michels (14) races past Pierre's Jack Maher (12) for a long carry during a Class 11AA state semifinal game on Friday night at Joe Quintal Field. (Matt Gade/Republic)
Mitchell's Sam Michels (14) races past Pierre's Jack Maher (12) for a long carry during a Class 11AA state semifinal game on Friday night at Joe Quintal Field. (Matt Gade/Republic)

For the first time since 1993, the Mitchell High School football team will play for a state football championship.

In front of a crowd of 2,300 at Joe Quintal Field Friday, the Kernels scored the first 17 points and put away Pierre 52-14 in the Class 11AA semifinals, securing their first trip to the state championship game in 23 years.

The top-seeded Kernels (10-1) will take on second-seeded Harrisburg (9-2) in Class 11AA state championship game at 7 p.m. Nov. 11 at the DakotaDome in Vermillion. The Kernels are seeking to avenge their only loss of the season, which came at the hands of the Tigers in the season opener Aug. 27 in a 27-10 contest.

Running back Spencer Neugebauer had four rushing touchdowns in the win, setting a school single-game record for rushing yards with 325 yards. He also claimed the all-time touchdown record for a single season for an 11-man South Dakota football player with 39 touchdowns (35 rushing, four receiving).

Three of those touchdowns came in the first half, including a 15-yard touchdown run on the opening drive. After a 30-yard field goal from Seth Paulson made it 10-0, Neugebauer broke off a 46-yard touchdown run to make it a three-score game early in the second quarter.

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The Governors answered with a 28-yard touchdown pass from Peyton Zabel to Brad Dean to make it 17-7 with 9:33 remaining in the first half. Mitchell answered with a 12-play drive, in which Neugebauer capped the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run for a 24-7 lead at halftime.

After a Jed Schmidt interception, the Kernels scored two plays later to open the second half on a 5-yard touchdown run from Sam Michels. Later in the quarter, Neugebauer scored 47 yards out to make it 38-7 with 4:20 left in the quarter.

After a Pierre touchdown pass trimmed the Kernel lead to 24 points, Kiel Nelson added a short touchdown run on a quarterback sneak with 6 minutes remaining to put Mitchell up 45-14

Schmidt added his interception of the game on the next Pierre drive, with Drew Kitchens scoring on the next play from with 4:22 remaining to make it 52-14.

Reserved Mitchell section tickets for the state championship will be sold from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the MHS cafeteria. Tickets are $13 for adults and each person in line can purchase a maximum of four tickets.

Student section tickets will be sold during high school lunch only on Tuesday and Wednesday.

A fan bus is being organized by the Mitchell Athletic Booster Club and signup will be Monday from 7:30 a.m. to 8:15 a.m. and 3:15 p.m. to 5 p.m. Cost is $10 per person and does not include the cost of entering the game.

State championship game t-shirts are now on sale and orders must be submitted to the high school by noon Tuesday. Cost is $15 per shirt.

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For more on the game, check back with mitchellrepublic.com

Related Topics: KERNELSFOOTBALLPIERRE
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