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High school notebook: After edging Gregory, Bon Homme prepares for Wolsey-Wessington

Bon Homme's Joey Slama (7) falls forward as he's tackled by Gregory's Luke Murray (12) during the second round of the 9AA football playoffs on Thursday night in Tyndall. Also involved in the play are Bon Homme's Joshua Crownover (20) and Gregory's Rhoss Oliver (74). (Matt Gade / Republic)

Moments after winning one rematch, the Bon Homme football team immediately shifted its attention to another one.

After defeating Gregory 7-6 earlier in the season, the Cavaliers outlasted the Gorillas 14-12 in last Thursday's Class 9AA quarterfinals. It now sets up a rematch with No. 1 seed Wolsey-Wessington, which edged Bon Homme 38-36 in double overtime on Aug. 24. The rematch is at 7 p.m. Friday in Wolsey.

"I have been looking forward to it ever since we lost to them," Bon Homme senior quarterback/defensive back Joey Slama said. "I have been keeping my eye out and we want them."

In the first matchup, Bon Homme jumped out to a 22-8 halftime lead. The Warbirds rallied for a 22-22 tie and pulled it out in double overtime, but Bon Homme coach Byron Pudwill envisioned a rematch down the road.

"We told them when we played them up there that you might be the two best teams in 9AA ranks," Pudwill said. "I told them we are going to see them again."

Wolsey-Wessington's 38 points in the first meeting were the most points Bon Homme has given up this season. The Cavaliers are giving up an average of 9.7 points per game, which is a big reason why Pudwill calls them the best defensive unit he's had in his 36 years with the program.

"Defensively, they are probably as good as anybody we've had here," Pudwill said. "We had some shutouts. We had some seven, six-point games, 12-point games and that's hard to do against the Wolseys and the Gregorys of the world. So I am really proud of these guys."

Gregory's bid for three-peat falls short

The road to the DakotaDome in Vermillion has gone through Gregory in Class 9AA for three of the past four seasons.

The Gorillas, who won titles in 2014, 2016 and 2017, couldn't make it a three-peat this season. But Pudwill still praised Gregory after Bon Homme edged out the quarterfinal victory.

"Those kids play hard," Pudwill said. "I tip my cap to those guys. It's too bad somebody had to lose."

Gregory finished the season 7-3, with two losses against Bon Home and the other against Wolsey-Wessington. The Gorillas went 31-3 the past three seasons and will graduate 11 seniors.

"It's hard to not be emotional because they have done a lot for the program," Gregory coach Brian Allmendinger said. "You are not going to be able to coach them again and they are special kids. They've kind of become like your kids."