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No. 2 Kernels set for No. 5 Spartans

Riding a three-game winning streak, the Mitchell High School football team is set for another stern test. The Kernels have found a winning formula and head coach Kent VanOverschelde credited the team's daily focus and hard work to the string of wins.

Riding a three-game winning streak, the Mitchell High School football team is set for another stern test.

The Kernels have found a winning formula and head coach Kent VanOverschelde credited the team's daily focus and hard work to the string of wins.

"It's been our approach and our approach has been as consistent as possible," VanOverschelde said. "We understand that we need to take a step forward each and every week. That's been our approach."

The No. 2 Kernels will look to take another step forward against No. 5 Spearfish at 7 p.m. today at Joe Quintal Field in the school's annual homecoming game.

Like Mitchell (3-1), Spearfish has a 3-1 record on the season and the Spartans have recorded shutout wins over Class 11A opponents Pine Ridge and Belle Fourche as well as Class 11AA Douglas.

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Finding a way to establish its strong rushing attack will be the Mitchell's first priority against the Spartans. The Kernels are averaging 251 rushing yards per game along with 52 yards passing per game. In four games, Mitchell is averaging 32.5 points per game and only allowing 12 points per game.

"The secret is their defensive line," VanOverschelde said about Spearfish's defense. "We will have to understand how physical that we're going to have to play up front. They have put together some pretty solid defensive efforts."

Spencer Neugebauer has been the focal point of the Kernel offense this season. The senior speedster is averaging 137.5 yards per game this season and has scored 11 total touchdowns (nine rushing and two receiving). Sam Michels has two rushing touchdowns on the season and Drew Kitchens is second on the team with 162 rushing yards.

"Hopefully, we can get out to a good start, eliminate mistakes and execute on the offensive side," VanOverschelde said. "Running the football is what we hang our hat on. We want to be able to run that football and control the line of scrimmage. We'll need to meet their intensity and make adjustments as the game progresses."

Defensively, the Kernels will have to deal with Spearfish's option rushing attack. The Spartans are averaging 178 rushing yards per game and have three players-Jaxon Bogue (283), Boyce Harr (150) and Jordon Brinson (115)-with more than 100 yards rushing.

After holding its last three opponents to under 10 points, linebacker Briggs Havlik said the Kernel defense has been playing strong and helped spark the offense in some situations.

"When we get a defensive stop, the offense has been able to capitalize," Havlik said. "That's always a big point in the game to get the momentum going our way."

In the past two games, Mitchell has created eight turnovers, while the offense hasn't had a turnover.

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"We want to play forward and attack defensively," VanOverschelde said. "We want to be a prepared defense and make good things happen."

Searching for its fourth win of the season, Mitchell wants to see progress in practice translate on the playing field against the Spartans.

"We want to see the improvements not only on the football field, but in the locker room and in the classroom," VanOverschelde said. "I think overall, we're going in the right direction."

Spearfish head coach Chad McCarty was unable to be reached for comment, despite attempts by The Daily Republic.

No. 2 Mitchell Kernels (3-1) vs. No. 5 Spearfish Spartans (3-1)

When/Where: 7 p.m. today at Joe Quintal Field

Last meeting: Mitchell defeated Spearfish 49-42 on Sept. 25, 2015 in Spearfish.

Coaches: Mitchell's Kent VanOverschelde, 10th year; Spearfish's Chad McCarty, fourth year.

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Forecast: 82 degrees and sunny at kickoff with southeast winds at 16 mph.

Notes: Mitchell enters today's game on a three-game winning streak. ... The Kernels are ranked No. 2 in Class 11AA in the South Dakota Sportswriters Association poll, while Spearfish is tied for No. 5 with Yankton. ... The Kernels are averaging more than 250 yards on the ground per game and 52 yards per game through the air. Mitchell's offense is averaging 32.5 points per game and the defense is allowing 12 points per game. ... Spearfish has recorded three shutouts in the team's three wins. The Spartans have beaten two Class 11A teams (Pine Ridge and Belle Fourche) and only one Class 11AA team (Douglas).

Mitchell projected starters

(Position, name, year, height, weight)

Offense

QB: Kiel Nelson, 10, 6-2, 180
RB: Spencer Neugebauer, 12, 6-1, 185
RB: Sam Michels, 12, 6-0, 175

RB: Carson Max, 10, 6-0, 190

WR: Reed Overweg, 12, 6-2, 180

TE: Cody Reichelt, 12, 6-2, 205

RT: Spencer Mohr, 12, 6-4, 245

RG: Zeb Parsons, 12, 5-11, 230

C: Alex Klingaman, 12, 6-1, 210

LG: Bryce Geraets, 12, 6-2, 240

LT: Chris Corbett, 12, 6-3, 299

Defense

DT: Spencer Morgan, 12, 6-2, 290

DT: Michael Horton, 12, 6-0, 235

DE: Kyle Foote, 11, 5-9, 170

DE: Damian Krogman, 11, 5-10, 170

LB: Carson Max, 10, 6-0, 190

LB: Cody Reichelt, 12, 6-2, 205

LB: Spencer Neugebauer, 12, 6-1, 185

LB: Briggs Havlik, 11, 5-9, 165

DB: Sam Michels, 12, 6-0, 175

DB: Reed Overweg, 12, 6-2, 180

S: Jed Schmidt, 12, 5-11 175

Special teams:

P/K: Seth Paulson, 12, 6-0, 160

LS: Bryce Geraets, 12, 6-2, 240

Spearfish projected starters

(Position, name, year, height, weight)

Offense

QB: Cory Hoffman, 12, 6-1, 175
RB: Jaxon Bogue, 12, 5-7, 155
FB: Boyce Harr, 12, 5-8, 200

WR: Jaxon Rosencranz, 12, 6-0, 175

WR: Devan Fox, 12, 6-1, 165

TE: Carson Sleep, 12, 6-0, 180

RT: Michael Chaffin, 12, 6-1, 200

RG: Donovan Balsley, 12, 6-0, 202

C: Mark Williams, 11, 6-0, 210

LG: Brendan Rotert, 12, 6-2, 285

LT: Reece Walno, 12, 6-2, 225

Defense

DT: Brendan Rotert, 12, 6-2, 285

DT: Hunter Seyer, 11, 6-0, 230

DE: Reece Walno, 12, 6-2, 225

DE: Michael Chaffin, 12, 6-1, 200

LB: Boyce Harr, 12, 5-8, 200

LB: Jaxon Bogue, 12, 5-7, 155

LB: Donovan Balsley, 12, 6-0, 202

LB: Jace Engesser, 11, 5-5, 115

DB: Devan Fox, 12, 6-1, 165

S: Jaxon Bogue, 12, 5-7, 155

S: Jaxon Rosencranz, 12, 6-0, 175

Special teams:

P/K: Logan Lucas, 11, 5-11, 155

Related Topics: KERNELSFOOTBALL
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