The Mitchell High School football team hits the road for the first time in three weeks with a trip to Brookings to face the third-ranked Bobcats. Here’s what to know ahead of the contest:
7 p.m. Friday
Dykhouse Stadium, at South Dakota State University.
Mitchell 1-3; Brookings, 3-1.
Brookings defeated Mitchell 44-25 at Joe Quintal Field on Sept. 25, 2020. Mitchell led the game 19-14 at halftime but Brookings outscored the Kernels 30-6 in the second half.
Both teams were in action on Sept. 17, 2021, with Brookings knocking off previously undefeated Aberdeen Central, 30-7, while Mitchell was downed by No. 1-ranked Tea Area, 47-14.
Brookings has won the last three meetings with the Kernels, with Mitchell winning last on Aug. 31, 2018 by a 28-14 score. The Bobcats then won a 2018 playoff rematch and both meetings in 2019 and 2020.
The Bobcats are ranked No. 3 in this week’s South Dakota Prep Media football poll.
Could this game be a potential playoff preview? As of today, it would be. Brookings holds the No. 2 spot in Class 11AA seed points entering this week, with Mitchell in the No. 7 slot.
About the Kernels:
Mitchell is averaging 322 yards per game, the same yardage total as its opponents through four games. But the Kernels will try to even out their turnover margin, which stands at minus-7 entering Game No. 5 of the season.
On offense, Mitchell will look to improve its third-down efficiency, converting just 23.8% of its third-down situations. Opponents are converting at a rate of nearly 38% against Mitchell.
The Kernels’ rushing attack was slowed down for the first time all season in the contest with Tea Area — logging just 78 yards — but Mitchell is still averaging 208 yards per game on the ground. MHS has rushed at least 32 times in each game this season.
Flying to the ball, a lot of Mitchell’s tackles have come from the Kernels’ linebacking corps. Joe VanOverschelde has a team-high 26 tackles, including seven for a loss and two sacks, while Jake Helleloid has made 16 tackles in the first four games. Defensive back Jagger Tyler has 18 sacks for the Kernels, with 16 of them being solo in nature.
Defensive lineman Beau Foote has been among the Kernels hanging out in opponents’ backfields, with a Kernel-best six tackles for a loss early in the season. Adam Fahey has two sacks from his defensive line position, as well.
About the Bobcats:
The Bobcats have played a pair of quarterbacks early in the season, with Justin Cofell filling in for an injured Jaxon Bowes over the last two games. Bowes has 212 passing yards, while Cofell has been 15 for 29 passing for 152 yards.
Brookings, which played for the Class 11AA championship in 2020 and lost 38-6 to Pierre, rushed for 7.5 yards per carry and 278.1 yards per game last season. This year, the Bobcats have been nearly as robust on the ground, averaging 195.5 yards per game.
The Bobcats’ Tyson Brandt has received the most carries, rushing 36 times for 273 yards and a touchdown. Hunter Gray has 29 carries for 274 yards and four touchdowns, and Gray is the leading receiver with 10 catches for 219 yards and a touchdown.
The Bobcats have been difficult to solve on defense, with a total of seven points allowed over the last three games, including shutouts at Douglas and Watertown. After allowing a touchdown on the opening drive against Aberdeen Central, Brookings scored the next 30 points and clamped down on a high-flying Golden Eagle offense that Mitchell saw post nearly 350 yards first-hand two weeks ago.
Next: Brookings will head to Howard Wood Field on Thursday, Sept. 30, for a game against Sioux Falls Washington, with Mitchell hosting Yankton for homecoming on Friday, Oct. 1.