Platte-Geddes believes Class 9AA title win won't be a one-time deal

Platte-Geddes' Jackson Olsen scores a touchdown as Hamlin's Jacob MacDonnell (left) and Joel Opdahl (right) bring him down during the Class 9AA state championship game on Thursday in Vermillion at the DakotaDome. (Matt Gade / Republic)

VERMILLION -- Platte-Geddes loudly announced its arrival to the upper echelon of Class 9AA football with a 42-12 win over Hamlin for its first state championship Thursday.

Now the goal is to maintain that status, not just next year, but for several years to come.

The Black Panthers lose six seniors from this year’s 12-0 squad, but return their top two leading rushers in Jackson Neuman and Grayson Hanson, who won the Class 9AA Joe Robbie MVP for his four total touchdowns against Hamlin. Platte-Geddes head coach Bruce Hanson also likes to point out that the school’s junior varsity team also went undefeated this year.

“We’re trying to build a program,” Bruce Hanson said. “We’re not a one-year wonder. We want to be one of the best teams in the state.”

Hanson sought the advice of coaches from Missouri Valley Conference foes Bon Homme and Gregory during his championship game preparations, given the conference’s dominating presence in the state title picture for the past decade.


MVC teams have captured six of the last seven Class 9AA state championships and eight total state titles since 2014, including Wolsey-Wessington, which won the Class 9B championship with a 32-14 win over Dell Rapids St. Mary on Thursday.

Leading into the game, Hanson said success trends in cycles at the high school level, but it could Platte-Geddes’ turn in the cycle. Gregory won three titles in four years from 2014-2017, while Bon Homme made back-to-back championship games in 2018 and 2019.

The Black Panthers will graduate quarterback Kelby Vanderwerff, who went 5 of 9 for 139 yards and two touchdowns against the Chargers, but Grayson Hanson 2-for-2 on his passing attempts in the game.

Underclassmen accounted for 88 percent of Platte-Geddes’ 326 yards from scrimmage and 75 percent of its tackles on defense.

“We have quite a bit of juniors,” said Grayson Hanson, who has two rushing scores, one passing touchdown and one receiving. “I think we will be able to keep it going next year.”

Not only do the Black Panthers believe they can make a return trip to the DakotaDome, there is a desire to once again go undefeated next year.

“Our goal is to go 24-0,” said junior Jackson Olsen, who caught a 31-yard touchdown and kicked a third-quarter field goal.

After three years of making one of his top priorities to instill confidence in his program, Hanson’s players now share their coach’s bravado. Now Hanson wants them to enjoy the win because he does not believe they will have a problem shifting from underdog to favorite next year.


“I’m a wrestling coach, too, and we’re going to try to do some great things there,” Hanson said. “A lot of these guys have big goals for the basketball season. We’re not a one-sport team. We’re going to celebrate the heck out of this. I don’t think I have to worry about these guys putting in extra time on their own.”

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