PIERRE -- Mitchell High School landed the first blow on Friday, but Pierre finished with the knockout.
The Class 11AA No. 5 Kernels scored on the game’s opening possession with a 37-yard touchdown run by Tucker Vilhauer and came up with an interception on the Governors’ first drive, but third-ranked Pierre rebounded to score 41 consecutive points.
Mitchell gained 122 of its 130 first-half yards on the first three drives of the game, but when the third drive stalled at the Governor 10, the game flipped firmly in Pierre’s possession. The Governors averaged 10.3 yards per play in the first half and gashed the Kernels for 551 total yards in their fifth consecutive loss, 48-20, dashing any chances for a home playoff game.
"I was really happy with the start that we made," MHS head coach Kent Van Overschelde said. "We stopped the run, made some adjustments and then we got into some situations where we lost a couple receivers. They made plays in reaction to our start. They're a good football team."
Third downs proved costly for Mitchell (3-5) throughout the game, converting 4 of 13 on offense, while Pierre was 4 of 8, but 3 of 4 in the first half. The Governors picked up two crucial conversions to take the lead.
Quarterback Lincoln Kienholz scrambled out of a sack for 38 yards on third and long to extend the drive. Three plays later, he converted another third down by throwing a pin-point pass to Maguire Raske for a 36-yard touchdown. Kienholz intercepted Vilhauer on the ensuing drive and then found Regan Bollweg for a 6-yard touchdown on another third to take a 21-7 lead.
Meanwhile, Mitchell struggled to move the ball for most of the second and third quarters. The Kernels found success running up the middle with Vilhauer -- who finished with 91 yards rushing -- but it was closed off quickly and runs to the outside were swarmed. Parker Phillips was held to 17 yards on 11 attempts and the team finished with a season-low 202 yards on 44 attempts.
"We just needed to do a better job of containing on the edge and getting some pressure inside," Van Overschelde said. "They were pretty successful making plays when they needed to and controlling the line of scrimmage was a benefit as well."
In the second half, Raske took control of the game for Pierre (5-2), bulldozing through would-be tacklers for 213 rushing yards and 58 receiving yards to go along with five total touchdowns. Mitchell was rarely able to bring down Raske with the first tackler, which often resulted in a first down.
Raske was a big reason the Kernels only managed three tackles for a loss in the game, but it also helped Kienholz find time to scan the defense for open receivers. The sophomore finished 10 of 20 passing for 188 yards and three touchdowns, while rushing for another 115 yards.
"We were a step away and players of that caliber, you can't give them second and third opportunities," Van Overschelde said. "I think it was very noticeable in the first half."
Phillips had 162 receiving yards and two touchdowns on four catches. Vilhauer hit Phillips for an 82-yard score and Treyson Schulz connected with him for a 74-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.
Mitchell hosts Huron at 7 p.m. on Thursday at Joe Quintal Field in the regular-season finale.
Pierre 48, Mitchell 20
M: Tucker Vilhauer 37 run (Trenton Regan kick)
P: Maguire Raske 15 run (Carston Miller kick)
P: Raske 36 pass from Lincoln Kienholz (Miller kick)
P: Regan Bollweg 6 pass from Kienholz (Miller kick)
P: Raske 9 run (Kick failed)
P: Raske 9 run (Aaron Booth pass from Kienholz)
P: Raske 9 pass from Kienholz (Miller kick)
P: Bollweg 49 interception (Kick failed)
M: Parker Phillips 82 pass from Vilhauer (Kick failed)
P: Raske 8 run (Miller kick)
M: Phillips 74 pass from Schulz (Regan kick)
RUSHING (ATT-YDS): M: Tucker Vilhauer 14-91, Joe Van Overschelde 6-48, Josh Grosdidier 8-30, Parker Phillips 11-17, Jake Helleloid 1-13, Treyson Schulz 4-3, Total 44-202. P: Maguire Raske 25-213, Lincoln Kienholz 13-115, Cade Kaiser 3-18, Mac Kruger 1-1, Brock Moser 1-0, Total 43-347.
PASSING (A-C-INT-YDS-TD): M: Vilhauer 11-4-2-86-1, Schulz 1-1-0-74-1. P: Kienholz 20-10-1-188-3, Kaiser 1-1-0-16-0.
RECEIVING (ATT-YDS): M: Phillips 4-162, Carson Fahey 1-(-2). P: Jack Merkwan 3-66, Raske 3-58, Regan Bollweg 2-36, Matthew Hanson 1-19, Trey Lewis 1-16, Aaron Booth 1-9.