State finalists Platte-Geddes and Canistota/Freeman jointly led the Class 9AA high school football all-state team, as selected by the South Dakota Football Coaches Association.
Platte-Geddes and Canistota/Freeman each had five all-state honorees, as Chester Area and Garretson had three apiece and four programs — Florence/Henry, Ipswich, Lyman and Timber Lake — put a pair on the all-state roster.
Claiming their second-straight Class 9AA title, Platte-Geddes landed five seniors on the all-state team in linebacker Grayson Hanson — also Class 9AA’s All-American and the championship contest’s most outstanding player — alongside offensive lineman Royce Finney, tight end Caden Foxley, special teamer Jackson Olsen and defensive back Jackson Neuman. Hanson, Finney, Foxley and Olsen earned honors at the same positions as in 2020, with Neuman being selected as a running back last season.
On the defensive side of the ball, Hanson recorded 143 tackles (78 solo), 13 tackles for loss, 2 fumble recoveries, 11 forced fumbles and one interception. Offensively, he accounted for more than 1,600 total yards and 23 touchdowns.
“Grayson is our best and smartest player on the field,” said Platte-Geddes coach Bruce Hanson. “He is like a coach on the field and we let him make most of the calls based on scouting reports, so we put a lot on him in-game.”
Caden Foxley was limited this season due to injury, but his efforts still earned him another all-state honor as coach Bruce Hanson deems the 6-foot-4, 235-pound Foxley, “the real deal when healthy and a major part in what we do on both sides of the ball.”
In the trenches, Royce Finney helped coordinate an offensive line that paved the way for more than 2,200 yards rushing.
“Royce was an all-state lineman last year and has been better this year,” Hanson said. “He’s our leader there and makes a lot of the line calls.”
Jackson Olsen, who plays tight end, defensive line and handles kicking duties for the Black Panthers, made a school-record 46-yard field goal as one of his three makes on the season, connected on 13 of 15 extra point attempts and knocked 17 kickoffs for touchbacks.
“[Jackson] has been our nose tackle for the past three seasons and we trust him to hold his own in our three-man line, but honestly his best position is at kicker for us,” Hanson said.
Rounding out Platte-Geddes’ all-state selections, Jackson Neuman, who also battled injuries throughout the season, notched 68 tackles (38 solo), 17 pass breakups, three interceptions, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery, adding more than 500 total yards and six touchdowns on offense.
“We have tried to limit the hits on [Jackson] this year to keep him for defense,” Hanson said. “He has been our kick returner and punt returner for the past four years and a three-year starter on both sides. He’s good everywhere on the field.”
Platte-Geddes was the only program to return players to the Class 9AA all-state team, however several honorees were named to the Class 9A team in 2020 prior to moving up one classification. Isiah Robertson (Canistota/Freeman), Ryan Benson (Chester Area), Jovi Wolf (Chester Area), Zach Geditz (Ipswich), Luke Peterson (Ipswich), Colton Collins (Lyman) and Hank Kraft (Timber Lake) all earned places on the Class 9A all-state team last season before repeating the feat in Class 9AA this season.
Robertson, a senior, was a leader on the Canistota/Freeman team that advanced all the way to the DakotaDome in its first season in Class 9AA, racking up 1,627 all-purpose yards and 15 touchdowns.
“Isiah is tough,” said Canistota/Freeman coach James Strang. “He has great leg drive and the ability to run inside and out. He gets great separation from defenders and was the primary focus of our offense. He doesn't drop passes thrown his way and gets great yards after catch.”
Joining Robertson on the offensive side of the ball were a pair of junior Ortmans: Will and Trace.
As the Pride’s leading receiver, Will Ortman hauled in 33 receptions for 538 yards and 12 TDs on 55 targets.
“Will is a tremendous athlete with a great ability to go get the football,” Strang said. “He high points the ball and adjusts tremendously to be successful.”
The Class 9AA title game’s most outstanding lineman, Trace Ortman took snaps at both guard and center as Canistota/Freeman churned out 3,364 yards of total offense, including 1,783 yards rushing and 32 points per game.
“Trace is a great communicator, has quick feet and hands, pulls, pins and makes great second-level blocks,” Strang said. “He is our best offensive lineman.”
On the other side of the ball, Riley Heiberger, a 6-foot-3, 225-pound end, anchored the Pride defensive line with 53 Tackles (44 solo), including 3 1/2 sacks, 16 Tackles for loss and three pass breakups.
“Riley is a big man that can move,” Strang said. “He can run side to side, has quick hands and good feet, trails well when the ball goes away and blows up front side doubles.”
Junior Noah Kleinsasser led the second-level defenders for the Pride, posting 69 Tackles (60 solo), a pair of sacks, 13 1/2 tackles for loss, five pass breakups, one interception, one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries.
“Noah is our leading tackler, a film junkie and ball hawk,” Strang said. “Noah does an excellent job reading from the will linebacker spot, getting a drop and making tackles in space. He never misses practice, plays banged up and we wouldn't have made it in the playoffs without him.”
For Lyman, seniors TJ Moran and Colton Collins represented the Class 9AA quarterfinalists.
Moran is “one of the best linemen I've coached,” according to Lyman coach Mike Kieffer. “He’s strong, athletic and smart, pulled a ton and is great out in space.”
Moran led the way for over 3,000 rushing yards and an offense that averaged 43 points a game. Of those 3,000-plus ground yards, Collins rolled to 1,874 of them to go with 24 touchdowns on 213 carries.
“[Colton is the] toughest kid I've ever coached,” Kieffer said. “He’s never missed a snap due to injury and is very deserving of being an all-state running back again.”
Hanson’s Brock Tuttle was one of just two sophomores honored on the all-state team, slotting in as a fullback after a season in which he had 90 carries for 409 yards and eight touchdowns.
“Brock is an outstanding lead blocker,” said Hanson coach Jim Haskamp. “As a runner he has excellent vision and patience. He is a go-to person when in short yardage situations as he is very difficult to bring down with just one defender.”
Completing the list of area athletes, Bon Homme’s Isaac Crownover was selected as a defensive back after being an honorable mention pick last season. Crownover had 73 total tackles and three fumble recoveries.
“Isaac is a very good team leader both on the field and off the field,” said Bon Homme coach Byron Pudwill. “He was a workhorse for our team and never came off the field. He is a very unselfish player and is willing to take on any role. He is a tremendous defensive player and makes things on our team tick.”
Area honorable mention players in Class 9AA included Parkston seniors Cole Prunty, Max Scott and Chayse Weber and Hanson juniors Jackson Jarding and Hadley Wallace.