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Chargers run over Seahawks in 11B title game

Bridgewater-Emery/Ethan's Jamin Arend (2) looks for running room as Sioux Falls Christian's Will Garnaas (9) closes in during the class 11B state championship game at the DakotaDome on Friday in Vermillion. (Matt Gade / Republic)

VERMILLION -- In a battle of running games and defense, the Bridgewater-Emery/Ethan football team couldn’t afford to lose the line of scrimmage Friday.

The Seahawks lost that battle early and could never dig all the way out of a two-touchdown hole, as Sioux Falls Christian’s physicality up front paved the road to the Chargers’ first football title in school history in a 27-12 Class 11B championship game victory Friday at the DakotaDome.

SFC (11-1) running back Parker Nelson ran for 253 yards on 40 carries and had a late 29-yard touchdown to seal the victory, while the Chargers at least doubled BEE in every significant offensive statistic in the title game.

“They won that line of scrimmage early in the game on us and we just could not win it back,” Bridgewater-Emery/Ethan coach Jeff VanLeur said. “We dug ourselves a hole and we fought and fought like crazy.”

The Seahawks (9-3) made a couple of stops in the second half and used the second of Brady Hawkins’ two interceptions in the middle of the third quarter to get back into the game. Jamin Arend scored on a 2-yard touchdown run with more than 3 minutes left in the third quarter. But Dawson Mulder converted a 4th-and-goal for a 1-yard touchdown run with less than 7 minutes left to put Sioux Falls Christian back up 20-6.

BEE countered late for one last chance, ripping off three pass plays from Hawkins to Jamin Arend twice for 39 and 6 yards, respectively, followed by a 36-yard connection to Derek Storm. Two plays later, Arend scored from 2 yards out trimming the Charger edge to 20-12 with 2:59 left.

The Seahawks thought they recovered the ensuing onside kick but the officials ruled BEE illegally touched the ball, giving the ball to SFC. The Chargers handed the ball to the workhorse Nelson five times before the decisive touchdown, emblematic of the huge the rushing day for the Chargers.

SFC ran for 358 of the team’s 372 total yards and held a BEE offense that averaged 262 rushing yards per game in the regular season to only 68 yards. SFC had a 20-6 advantage in first downs, ran 68 plays to the Seahawks’ 31 and had possession for about two-thirds of the game.

“We just didn’t come out ready to play,” Hawkins said. “They were more physical and they came out and punched us in the mouth. We just didn’t respond until it was too late.”

Sioux Falls Christian bullied the Seahawks on the opening drive of the game, driving 17 plays and 79 yards over 8 minutes before Tyler Van Horssen punched in a 15-yard touchdown run. The Chargers were 3-of-4 on third downs on the drive and converted 5-of-6 third downs in the first half. After forcing a BEE punt, SFC drove 11 plays in 5 minutes, with Van Horssen providing the capping score again, a 12-yard touchdown run for a 12-0 lead with less than 7 minutes left until halftime.

“They wanted it, and they wanted that first title,” Arend said. “We wanted it pretty bad but they just showed they wanted it more.”

The fifth-seeded Seahawks finished with 166 yards of total offense, rushing for 58 yards and passing for 108. Arend led the way with 43 rushing yards and two touchdowns, while adding two catches for 45 yards. Hawkins went 4-of-5 passing with 108 yards and one interception. Carter Dye had a game-high 16 tackles, while Bradlee Schultz had 15 tackles and Dustin Weber had 10 stops.

“I’m proud of our kids and we had a great effort and we just couldn’t get back in it,” VanLeur said.

BEE 0  0  6  6 -- 12

SFC 6  6  0  15 -- 27

Scoring summary

First quarter

SFC: Tyler Van Horssen 15 run (run failed)

Second quarter

SFC: Van Horssen 12 run (pass failed)

Third quarter

BEE: Jamin Arend 5 run (kick failed)

Fourth quarter

SFC: Dawson Mulder 1 run (Mitchell Goodbary pass from Mulder)

BEE: Arend 2 run (kick failed)

SFC: Parker Nelson 29 run (Elijah Bird kick)

RUSHING: B-E-E, Jamin Arend 11-43, Dustin Weber 5-18, Rylee Schultz 2-3, Grant Andrews 1-3, Bodie Burnham 1-1, Brady Hawkins 5-minus-2; SFC, Parker Nelson 40-253, Tyler Van Horssen 9-75, Dawson Mulder 10-22, Mitchell Goodbary 3-5, Jacob Just 3-3.

PASSING (C/A/Int/Yds): B-E-E, Brady Hawkins 4/5/1/108; SFC, Jacob Just 1/3/2/14.

RECEIVING: B-E-E, Arend 2-45, Derek Storm 1-36, Dustin Weber 1-27; SFC, Goodbary 1-14.

INTERCEPTIONS: B-E-E, Brady Hawkins 2-35; SFC, Tyler Van Horssen 1-0.

TACKLES: B-E-E, Carter Dye 16 tackles, Bradlee Schultz 15, Weber 10; SFC, Ryan Sjaarda 7, Goodbary 6, Just 6