Cossacks earn tough road win at Blackhawks

Puetz scores three times

Woonsocket/Wessington Springs/Sanborn Central's Tryce Slykhuis (11) attempts to pull away from Sioux Valley defensive backs David Knutson (12) and Justin Blackledge (23) on Friday, Aug. 27, at Spartan Field in Wessington Springs. (Landon Dierks / Republic)

WESSINGTON SPRINGS — Third-ranked Sioux Valley scored twice late to hold off No. 4 Woonsocket/Wessington Springs/Sanborn Central, 30-14, in a battle of top-five Class 11B teams at Spartan Field on Friday. The game was the Mitchell Republic’s Gridiron Spotlight contest on Friday.

After WWSSC matched the Cossacks’ opening touchdown with a long pass of its own midway through the second quarter, Sioux Valley responded with a 10-play, 73-yard drive to take a 16-8 lead just before halftime. Sioux Valley quarterback Parker Puetz punctuated the drive, carrying the ball in from two yards out before using his legs again on the two-point conversion.

It would be early in the fourth quarter before the game would see its next big break.

After a Blackhawk drive stalled, Sioux Valley mishandled the punt and WWSSC jumped on it inside the Cossacks’ 15-yard line. Four plays later, Larson found Schelske for their second scoring connection of the game, the 6-foot-6 tight end making a one-handed grab for a 2-yard score. After confusion on the point-after attempt, WWSSC still trailed 16-14.

Just as they had in the second quarter, the Cossacks responded with a scoring drive of their own, pushing the lead to two possessions at 24-14 with under five to play.


The Blackhawks were unable to respond, and Puetz added a 29-yard rushing touchdown in the final moments.

Larson threw for 61 yards on 6-for-15 passing and two scores, both to Schelske, who finished with three receptions for 58 yards. Clay Olinger led the Blackhawks in rushing with 44 yards on 10 attempts.

Puetz had his second consecutive game of 100-plus yards passing and rushing, racking up 139 yards on 9-of-14 passing and a touchdown to go with 125 yards and two more touchdowns on 18 rushing attempts for the Cossacks. Damien Danzeisen’s only reception came on a 58-yard touchdown and David Knutson added three catches for 37 yards. Sioux Valley outgained WWSSC 326-208 in the contest.

The game was the Blackhawks’ season opener, with WWSSC heading to Miller on Sept. 3. Sioux Valley (1-1) hosts Baltic on Sept. 3.

Dierks covers prep and collegiate athletics across the Mitchell Republic's coverage region area, focusing on Mitchell High School football and boys basketball and area high school football, volleyball and basketball, as well as Dakota Wesleyan women's basketball. He was also the lead on the Mitchell Republic Gridiron Spotlight, producing video and providing live play-by-play for the traveling weekly prep football broadcast during its first season in the fall of 2021. Dierks is a Mitchell native who graduated from South Dakota State University with his bachelor's degree in journalism in May 2020. He joined the Mitchell Republic sports staff in August 2021. He can be reached at and found on Twitter at @LDierksy.
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