Howard rolls Herreid/Selby Area for Class 9A championship
Tigers claim state championship behind dominant first half
VERMILLION — Howard left little doubt as to which program was tops in Class 9A in 2021, trouncing No. 1 Herreid/Selby Area, 55-18, to complete a perfect 12-0 season Thursday afternoon in the DakotaDome.
The Tigers scored 42 points on the first six drives of the game -- including a 35 straight points -- and racked up 267 rushing yards before the break, to pull away from the previously unbeaten Wolverines (12-1) and win the program's first football title since 2014.
“I’m really proud of our assistant coaches for what they’ve done, taking the kids that we had, especially with what’ve lost and really getting them good at their positions, their jobs and just giving them their jobs to do and sticking with it,” Howard head coach Pat Ruml said. “I’m so proud of our guys for staying with the game plan week in and week out.”
The Tigers were on top from the start. Ty Beyer had a 65-yard touchdown run on the second play of the game and after HSA scored to get within 7-6, Griffin Clubb had a 28-yard touchdown run to put Howard up 14-6 with 7 minutes gone in the first quarter.
After the first of John Callies' three touchdowns put Howard up 21-6, Taiden Hoyer completed his only touchdown pass of the day to Jace Sifore on a 58-yard beauty of a pass to go up 28-6. Callies and Clubb each had touchdown runs to close the half and put Howard ahead 42-6 at intermission.
“These guys have a tenacity about them and they're just gritty and really physical,” Ruml said. “I just thought if we could take them out of that early and let them understand it's going to be a four-quarter game of that hitting, that maybe we could dominate but Herreid/Selby Area is a really good football team with a lot of big boys so I was concerned if we could blow them off the ball like we did, but Jace (Sifore) and the guys up front did a great job.”
On offense, Howard tallied 467 total yards in the contest — 409 rushing — as John Callies led the ground attack with three touchdowns on 12 carries for 127 yards, earning Most Valuable Player and Most Outstanding Back honors for his efforts. Griffin Clubb had five carries for 115 yards and two touchdowns, while Ty Beyer had four carries for two touchdowns and 107 yards. Quarterback Taiden Hoyer completed one pass, a 58-yard touchdown to tight end Jace Sifore.
Howard's second-half scores were on one-play drives: a 54-yard touchdown run by Callies and a 49-yard touchdown scamper from Beyer.
The Tigers lost in the semifinals last season to Canistota/Freeman 12-7 and after losing 11 seniors due to graduation, Howard was looked at skeptically about winning a championship. Ruml said they used that narrative to fuel and motivate this team all season long.
“We lost 11 seniors so if you would have picked us early, I don’t think anybody would have agreed,” Ruml said. “I think a lot of those guys take that to heart a little bit and as coaches, we sprinkle that in a little bit and remind them that maybe people don’t think we’re really good.”
The motivated Tigers defense held Herreid/Selby Area to 70 yards rushing and 238 yards passing. The Wolverines ended the game with 18 points, their second-lowest output all season.
Herreid/Selby Area’s running back Brenden Begeman amassed 212 total yards (78 rushing and 134 receiving) and two touchdowns. Tray Hettick went 17-of-25 passing for 238 yards and three touchdowns, as the Wolverines had 308 total yards.
H: Ty Beyer 65 run (John Callies kick), 11:09
HSA: Trevor Gill 11 pass from Tray Hettick (run failed), 7:42
H: Griffin Clubb 28 run (Callies kick), 5:05
H: Callies 11 run (Callies kick), 11:56
H: Jace Sifore 58 pass from Taiden Hoyer (Callies kick), 7:55
H: Callies 1 run (Callies kick), 4:27
H: Clubb 24 run (Callies kick), 2:22
HSA: Brenden Begeman 3 pass from Hettick (pass failed), 2:38
H: Callies 54 run (Callies kick), 1:49
H: Beyer 35 run (kick failed), 9:45
HSA: Begeman 63 pass from Hettick (pass failed), 7:38.
RUSHING (Att/Yds): Howard: John Callies 13/138, Griffin Clubb 5/115, Ty Beyer 4/107, Tate Miller 7/35, Lucas Feldhaus 1/12, Taiden Hoyer 1/9, Karsyn Feldhaus 2/2, Team 2/-4, Carson Hinker 1/-5. Herreid/Selby Area: Brenden Begeman 22/78, Trey Sayler 6/11, Tray Hettick 4/-19. PASSING (C-A-Int-Yds): Howard: Taiden Hoyer 1/2/0/58, Herreid/Selby Area: Tray Hettick 17/25/0/238. RECEIVING (No/Yards): Howard: Jace Sifore 1/58; Herreid/Selby Area: Brenden Begeman 8/134, Trevor Sayler 5/69, Trey Sayler 2/20, Trevor Gill 2/15. SACKS (No/Yds): Howard: Jace Sifore 2/10, Ryder Erickson 1 / 8, Atticus Darnell 1/3