Kernel Film Room: MHS falters in positioning, pursuit on Brookings' go-ahead score


It took one play to take Mitchell High School from excitement to desperation.

The Class 11AA No. 4 Kernels capitalized on a Brookings fumble with a 3-yard touchdown run by Josh Grosdidier on the first play of the fourth quarter to grab a one-point lead. But the excitement was short-lived.

Two plays later, Josh Buri took a toss from quarterback Jaxon Bowes and scampered up the right sideline for a 46-yard touchdown, giving the Class 11AA No. 2 Bobcats a six-point advantage with 10 minutes, 47 seconds to play and evaporating all of Mitchell’s momentum.

Buri’s run proved to be the turning point in the game, as the Kernels would never regain the lead and it was the first of three unanswered touchdowns by Brookings in the fourth quarter of a 44-25 win on Friday at Joe Quintal Field.


“It was definitely a pivotal play in the fourth quarter,” MHS head coach Kent Van Overschelde said. “I think it was the awareness of where we were at in the football game. That’s where we have to know what’s coming. Coming out of a huddle, we said, ‘What else could they throw at us that we haven’t seen?’ It takes everybody to do their jobs to defend an offense.”

Buri was the main offensive weapon for the Bobcats throughout the game, rushing for 266 yards and two touchdowns, making his whereabouts prior to the snap crucial. He lined up on the left side of the formation, so if he were to take a handoff, it would be on a run toward twin receivers on the right.

Grosdidier lined up at his outside linebacker position on the opposite side of the formation, inside slot receiver Keegan Fields. This allowed Fields to come inside at the snap and easily seal off Grosdidier. Had he lined up further outside, he could have maneuvered around the block.

Meanwhile, left defensive end Ryley Johansen had a quick jump on the snap, but it put him in the backfield too early.

If his first decision was to stop moving upfield and shade to his left upon seeing Buri’s pre-snap motion, Johansen could have created contain to force Buri to cut back toward the rest of the defense. Instead, he moved directly into the path of pulling right guard Parker Theobold and Buri scooted around the block.

In the defensive backfield, safety Tucker Vilhauer takes his customary read steps at the snap, but never begins to come downhill when he sees Buri take the pitch. Linebacker Joe Van Overschelde is lined up on the opposite side of the formation, making it impossible to run down Buri.

But if Vilhauer would have filled the hole, it could have forced Buri to cut back inside to Van Overschelde for a minimal gain.


“We didn’t do our No. 1 job of getting off blocks,” Kent Van Overschelde said. “We got blocked and stayed blocked. That play is as vanilla as (Brookings) is going to run. Our defensive end got blocked, our linebacker got blocked, our cornerback got blocked and we didn’t have pursuit to the ball.”

While the play was costly in Mitchell’s chances to win against Brookings, the coaching staff was optimistic it was a play with correctable errors. In fact, the Kernels stopped a similar play earlier in the game.

Grosdidier lined up outside of Fields on the play to string out the run and prevent Buri from turning up field before cornerback Carson Fahey could make the tackle for no gain.

“It’s just being in position,” Van Overschelde said. “It’s all fixable in what they are attempting to do. It’s all fixable.”

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