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Kernels grind out first win on the ground

Mitchell running back Drew Kitchens (22) turns the corner thanks to a block by Zach Mohr (55) on Brookings' Brady Ammann during the first quarter of a 28-14 win on Friday at Dykhouse Stadium in Brookings. (Nick Sabato / Republic)

BROOKINGS—After giving up 33 points in the fourth quarter in the first game of the season, Mitchell High School was determined to rebound on Friday night against Brookings.

The Kernels opened up a three-touchdown lead late in the third quarter for the second week in a row, but back-to-back touchdowns by the Bobcats in the fourth quarter almost made it feel like Groundhog Day.

This time, however, Mitchell was able to shut the door, coming up with a late turnover and pounding in a touchdown with less than a minute to play to come away with a 28-14 win at Dykhouse Stadium. Mitchell ran for 430 yards in the victory.

"I think some of the things we focused on helped us win the football game," MHS head coach Kent VanOverschelde said. "We just have to find ways to put it together so we can continue to win."

After Kiel Nelson bolted 70 yards on a third-down quarterback keeper to make the score 21-0 late in the third quarter, it seemed as if Mitchell was in firm control.

Brookings would claw back into it, however, on the next possession, as the Kernel defense left wide receiver Cole Mahlum completely uncovered and Jacob Schoon found him for a 44-yard touchdown pass.

"I didn't even ask (about the missed assignment), I was more concerned with how it was going to affect us," VanOverschelde said.

The effect was another Bobcat touchdown, aided by a pass interference penalty to extend the drive, as Schoon powered across the goal line to trim the lead to 21-14 with 5:47 to play.

After a Mitchell drive stalled in Brookings territory, the Brookings was held to just one yard on the first play, but Schoon found running back Parker Beers open on a flare pass that he took 18 yards. At the end of the play, the Kernels were able to knock the ball loose and recover on their 27-yard line.

This time the offense responded, marching 73 yards on six plays as Carson Max bulldozed his way to the end zone on a 24-yard run to clinch the game with 36 seconds left.

"I don't think we've run that play all year," Max said. "It was a simple stretch play and I didn't even get outside. I saw the cutback in the six-hole and got hit a few times."

It was fitting Mitchell closed the game with its rushing attack, which was dominant all night long and accounted for all four scores. Drew Kitchens was the centerpiece of the offense despite an ankle injury that left him questionable until gametime. Kitchens limped on the sidelines, but when he got the ball, he racked up 163 yards—including a 46-yard touchdown—on 28 carries.

"We worked hard all week to get me healthy," Kitchens said. "Adrenaline played a factor, but we came in pretty good, too."

Max finished the game with 124 yards and two touchdowns, while Nelson went just 3 of 8 passing for 55 yards, but ran for 91 yards. Beers led Brookings with 70 yards rushing on 17 attempts, while Schoon was 9 of 29 through the air for 143 yards and a touchdown.

Mitchell (1-1) hosts Yankton on Friday, while Brookings (1-1) is home to Spearfish on the same day.

Scoring Summary

First Quarter

M: Carson Max 13 run (Trevor Lambert kick)

Second Quarter

M: Drew Kitchens 46 run (Lambert kick)

Third Quarter

M: Kiel Nelson 70 run (Lambert kick)

Fourth Quarter

B: Cole Mahlum 44 pass from Jacob Schoon (Justin Devine kick)

B: Schoon 1 run (Devine kick)

M: Max 24 run (Lambert kick)

RUSHING (ATT-YDS): M: Drew Kitchens 28-163, Carson Max 13-124, Kiel Nelson 11-91, Carter Jacobsen 5-27, Austin Kerr 3-25. B: Parker Beers 17-70, Jacob Schoon 8-36, Preston Helmbolt 1-13, Carter Eidem 1-1, Justin Devine 1-(-3).

PASSING (C-A-INT-YDS): M: Nelson 8-3-55-0-0. B: Schoon 29-9-0-1.

RECEIVING (REC-YDS): M: Payton Olson 1-27, Koby Larson 1-19, Kitchens 1-9. B: Jay Wilbur 4-47, Cole Mahlum 2-61, Beers 1-18, Eidem 1-9, Helmbolt 1-8.