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Kayser, BEE cruise back to Class 11B title game

Seahawks’ running back scored five times in semifinal romp over Mobridge-Pollock

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Bridgewater-Emery/Ethan's Koby Kayser breaks through a pile of Mobridge-Pollock defenders during a Class 11B semifinal playoff football game Friday in Bridgewater. Also pictured at right is BEE's Brandon Jansen. (Marcus Traxler / Republic)

BRIDGEWATER -- The Big Blue Machine that is Bridgewater-Emery/Ethan football is rolling on to Vermillion once more.

Behind 250 yards rushing and five touchdowns from running back Koby Kayser, the Seahawks will play for the Class 11B state championship once more after blanking previously unbeaten Mobridge-Pollock, 46-0, in the state semifinal round at Sparky Anderson Field.

BEE (11-0) will play for its second consecutive Class 11B state championship against Winner at 2 p.m. Friday, Nov. 13 at the DakotaDome in Vermillion, a rematch of the 2019 21-14 Seahawks’ triumph. It will be the Seahawks’ fourth straight appearance in the Class 11B championship game.

“We’ve wanted to get back there,” Kayser said of reaching the title game. “We know this is a talented group and we want to get down there and see what we can get done.”

Kayser, who now has 24 rushing touchdowns on the season, provided the big plays for the Seahawks. He had an 80-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter to put BEE up 20-0 and answered it later in the quarter with a 7-yard touchdown run. Kayser also had a 70-plus yard run early in the third quarter to set up a short touchdown and trucked a Mobridge-Pollock defender at the goal line for the game’s final score, an 8-yard run.

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The Seahawks rushed for 371 yards on 47 carries and ran up 19 first downs in the victory, with Kayser, a 5-foot-10, 185-pound junior crediting his offensive line.

“We’re well rounded,” he said. “Our line is so talented and I appreciate that.”

The Seahawks were facing a previously powerful Tigers’ offense that had averaged 45 points and 410 yards of offense per game in its first nine games of the season, mainly through its strong passing game with quarterback Cayden Eisemann, who had 35 passing touchdowns entering Friday. But Mobridge-Pollock never looked the part, being held to 56 total yards.

The Seahawks went to a three-man front on the defensive line to better match up with the Tigers’ passing game. BEE coach Jeff VanLeur said the challenge with that strategy was to stop as much of the M-P offense as possible, and BEE did that.

“We saw other teams run against them when they used a three-man front and we knew we couldn’t let that happen to us,” VanLeur said. “It’s a credit to our defensive line and that entire unit really covering the whole field.

Eisemann was 10-for-30 passing for 66 yards and three interceptions for a pass game that was stunted by dropped passes. The giveaways were out of character for the visiting Tigers, who were plus-18 in turnover margin before Friday. Mobridge-Pollock was 0-for-11 on third downs, as well. Rylee Schultz picked off a pair of passes, and Kayser had a fourth-quarter interception of his own.

For BEE, Bodie Burnham had 65 yards on 14 carries and a rushing touchdown, plus a 15-yard touchdown reception from quarterback Kaden Klumb in the third quarter on a screen play. Klumb also had 51 yards on 10 carries for the Seahawks, who won their 23rd game in a row on Friday.

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“It’s an all-out great effort from them,” Klumb said of the backfield, which VanLeur described as a three-headed attack. “Koby and Bodie show great patience and when they see the opportunity and they take it. And there’s no catching them after that.”

VanLeur directed his team to be diligent in the next week to prepare for the championship and focus on playing in the season’s pinnacle game.

“We’ve got a great group of kids that have really been dedicated all season and we know we’re going to have a good opponent,” VanLeur said. “We’re looking forward to playing.”

110720.S.DR.BEESEAHAWKS.JPG
Bridgewater-Emery/Ethan's Jay Storm closes in on Mobridge-Pollock's Zane Reinert after a reception during a Class 11B semifinal playoff football game Friday in Bridgewater. (Marcus Traxler / Republic)

Traxler is the assistant editor and sports editor for the Mitchell Republic. He's worked for the newspaper since 2014 and has covered a wide variety of topics. He can be reached at mtraxler@mitchellrepublic.com.
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