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Shootout gets away from Kernels

Mitchell's Parker Roden (10) tackles Yankton's Caid Koletzky for a loss during a game on Friday night at Joe Quintal Field. (Matt Gade / Republic)

For the third straight week, the Mitchell High School football team had a lead of 14 points or more. They were 1-1 in those first two games.

And despite a 14-0 first-quarter lead for Mitchell, the Yankton Bucks made sure they were on the winning end of their Eastern South Dakota Conference battle with the Kernels Friday. The second half was all Yankton, as quarterback Ethan Wishon dissected the Kernel defense to the tune of 374 yards and six touchdowns in a 42-21 upset of No. 2 Mitchell.

"Tonight was a night we needed the offense to play better and we put it on the shoulders of the defense," MHS head coach Kent VanOverschelde said. "That was not part of the plan. Our guys battled and it's something we can learn from, but we need to find that thing from the inside to maintain and try to win football games."

Mitchell couldn't have scripted the start of the game any better, taking the opening kickoff 70 yards 11 plays, sparked by a 32-yard scamper by Kiel Nelson and punctuated with a one-yard plunge by Carson Max.

Yankton had the ball just three plays before Wishon dropped back to pass on third down and his throw was late over the middle, allowing Kernel safety Jackson Sadler to step in front of it, returning it 25 yards for a touchdown.

As it turned out, Wishon wouldn't make many mistakes after that, especially on third down. Four of his six touchdown passes came on third down, going 18 of 30 passing in the game.

"When you start like that, it's kind of hard to finish strong," Wishon said. "But we drove down the field that first time and it was like, 'Wow, we can get back into this.' We got back into the swing of things."

When Yankton tied the game at 14-all early in the second quarter, Mitchell responded with an emphatic drive that went 70 yards, with all nine plays going to Drew Kitchens or Max. Eventually Kitchens broke free for a four-yard score to regain the lead.

That was the last time the Kernels could sustain any momentum on offense, as they crossed the 50-yard line just twice the remainder of the game, with one drive ending on fourth down and another on a fumble.

It didn't help when Kitchens—who ran for 100 yards on 17 attempts—left the game in the third quarter with an ankle injury and didn't return, while the Nelson went just 1 of 12 for two yards.

"It's just finding that consistency," VanOverschelde said. "I think in that third quarter we had a little letdown offensively and you can't let your foot off the pedal. ... We needed a little more offense to keep their offense off the field."

Max ended the night with 72 yards on 14 attempts, while Austin Kerr had 57 yards for Mitchell (1-2), which plays at Sioux Falls Washington Friday at Howard Wood FIeld.

Michael Drotzmann had a huge night for Yankton (1-2), catching seven passes for 152 yards and two touchdowns, each in the second half. The Bucks play Sioux Falls Roosevelt directly following Mitchell's game on Friday.

Scoring Summary

First Quarter

M: Carson Max 1 run (Trevor Lambert kick)

M: Jackson Sadler 25 interception return (Lambert kick)

Y: Caid Koletzky 24 pass from Ethan Wishon (Cole Sawatzke kick)

Second Quarter

Y: Michael Drotzmann 47 pass from Wishon (Sawatzke kick)

M: Drew Kitchens 4 run (Lambert kick)

Y: Rex Ryken 10 pass from Wishon (Sawatzke kick)

Third Quarter

Y: Drotzmann 14 pass from Wishon (Sawatzke kick)

Fourth Quarter

Y: Collin Zahrbock 66 pass from Wishon (Sawatzke kick)

Y: Drotzmann 28 pass from Wishon (Sawatzke kick)

RUSHING (ATT-YDS): Y: Caid Koletzky 19-55, Ethan Wishon 12-42, Hunter Antrobus 4-4; M: Drew Kitchens 17-100, Carson Max 14-72, Austin Kerr 8-57, Kiel Nelson 7-42, Parker Phillips 3-14, Carter Jacobsen 1-5, Nick Lord 2-3.

PASSING (C-A-INT-YDS): Y: Wishon 18-30-1-374; M: Nelson 1-12-0-2.

RECEIVING: Y: Michael Drotzmann 7-152, Rex Ryken 6-81, Koletzky 3-37, Collin Zahrbrock 1-66, Miles Carda 1-38.