The Mitchell High School football team continues its home schedule Friday night against top-ranked Tea Area. Here’s what to know ahead of the contest:
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Where: Joe Quintal Field
Records: Tea Area, 3-0; Mitchell, 1-2.
All-time series: First meeting.
Last week: Both teams were in action on Saturday, Sept. 11, with Tea Area winning at Huron, 36-0, while No. 3-ranked Aberdeen Central spoiled the Kernel Bowl with a 33-14 victory over Mitchell.
Tea Area, the Class 11A champion from 2020, carries a 14-game win streak into Friday’s game in Mitchell, which is the second-longest active win streak in South Dakota high school football (Winner has won 16 games in a row.)
The Titans are ranked No. 1 in this week’s South Dakota Prep Media football poll.
With one-third of the season completed, Tea Area and Aberdeen Central are tied for the No. 1 slot in Class 11AA seed points for the postseason, while Mitchell is currently tied for sixth with Huron. The top-eight teams in the 11-school class will qualify for the postseason.
About the Kernels:
Mitchell’s run game has been impressive early in the season, rushing for 755 yards over the first three games and gaining at least 226 yards in each game so far. MHS is averaging 380 yards per game on offense to date in 2021.
Three backs have handled most of the carries, with quarterback Treyson Schulz logging 35 carries for 258 yards and three touchdowns, and Josh Grosdidier posting 47 carries, 231 yards and a touchdown and Tucker Vilhauer recording 162 yards on 28 carries and a touchdown.
Defensively, Mitchell will look to be more opportunistic with regards to forcing turnovers, coming up with two in the first three games (a Vilhauer interception and a Jagger Tyler fumble recovery). The Kernels are currently minus-6 in turnover margin.
MHS will also look to shore up the pass defense against Tea Area. Of the 10 offensive touchdowns allowed so far this season, eight have been in the opponent’s pass game.
Mitchell has had a solid start to the season in the kicking game, with Joe Haddon converting 8-of-9 extra-point tries, with Marquis Reyelts averaging nearly 35 yards a punt on 10 kicks this season.
Mitchell’s Scout Team Player of the Week is Connor Singrey, a 6-foot-2, 155-pound sophomore for the Kernels.
About the Titans:
The Titans have asserted themselves quickly in Class 11AA, moving up after winning two of the last three Class 11A championships, including an 11-0 season in 2020.
Tea Area has done much of its offensive damage on the ground so far this season, posting 315.7 rushing yards per game and 12 touchdowns in the run game in the first three contests of the season.
In total, Tea Area has gained 431.7 yards per game to start the year and outscored opponents 135-21, including shutouts in the Titans’ last two games (52-0 hosting Sturgis on Sept. 3 and 36-0 at Huron on Sept. 11).
Jaxon Weber had led the way with 322 rushing yards on 26 carries and five touchdowns to start the year, with Chase Van Tol and quarterback Cael Lundin each posing run threats with two touchdowns apiece.
Lundin has completed nearly 65 percent of his passes, throwing about 12 times a game. He has 330 passing yards and six touchdowns early in the season. Lundin's top passing target has been Klayton Sattler, who has 10 catches for 150 yards and two touchdowns, while he’s found Gabe Grant twice for scores this season, as well.
On defense, Tea Area has allowed 190 yards per game, caused 11 turnovers, including seven interceptions, and has blocked three kicks on special teams. Jackson Smythe is the team leader in tackles with 23, while Reis Kirschenman has a team-best four sacks in the first three games.
Next: Both teams will remain focused on Class 11AA competition, with Mitchell heading to South Dakota State's Dykhouse Stadium on Sept. 24 to take on No. 5 Brookings, and Tea Area returning home to face Watertown.