Platte-Geddes ousts defending 9AA champ Viborg-Hurley for first trip to DakotaDome

Platte-Geddes' Jackson Neuman (right) and Joey Foxley (5) combine to tackle Viborg-Hurley's Angel Johnson during the first quarter of a Class 9AA semifinal football game on Friday in Viborg. (Nick Sabato / Republic)

VIBORG -- Viborg was the end of the road for Platte-Geddes last season.

This year, it was another stop on a historic road to the DakotaDome.

The Black Panthers fell victim to a 66-20 thumping in the Class 9AA quarterfinals, as Viborg-Hurley went on to win a state championship. On Friday, No. 4-seeded Platte-Geddes got a bit of payback with a 28-22 win to advance to the state finals since the two towns became a consolidated school in 2007.

Players and coaches hugged in jubilation after the final whistle, but none of them were surprised. Platte-Geddes head coach Bruce Hanson could be heard screaming, “We’re winning this game,” even while facing a 10-point deficit in the first quarter. Hanson says he knew his team was going to knock off the top-ranked Cougars long before that.

“We’ve been talking about it since June,” Hanson said. “We talked about it here a little bit last year, we talked about it in the weight room and we talked about it when fall camp came around. We’ve been running Viborg-Hurley plays since the middle of the year. … We’ve been ready for this game for a long time.”


The Black Panthers may have had the confidence to beat undefeated Viborg-Hurley, but it took a few gutsy fourth-down calls to get there.

After falling behind 16-6, P-G clawed back to score the final two touchdowns of the first half, with the final one needing to fourth-down conversions. Joey Foxley made a 35-yard grab on fourth-and-9 to reach the Cougar 1-yard line, but Viborg-Hurley held firm on the ensuing three plays.

Jackson Neuman finally put Platte-Geddes (11-0) in front with a 3-yard run -- his third score of the first half -- to grab a 20-16 lead with 8 seconds left before halftime.

“It was amazing,” Neuman said. “It put us up on top and we got the lead.”

Viborg-Hurley (9-1) quickly motored down the field on the opening drive of the third quarter, punctuated by a 5-yard touchdown run by Angel Johnson to regain a 22-20 advantage. But Platte-Geddes would have another answer.

On fourth-and-3, Kelby Vanderwerff rolled to his right and heaved a pass off his back foot to the sideline and Caden Foxley leaped over a defender to make the grab at the first down marker. When Foxley realized the defender had fallen, he raced into the end zone for a 23-yard score with four minutes left in the third quarter.

“We trust Foxley,” Vanderwerff said. “I said give us a couple seconds here, I know Caden’s going to catch the ball and I just let it go. … Caden’s always open.”

After the offense grabbed the lead on fourth-down heroics, the Black Panther defense decided to follow suit. The Cougars blocked a field goal midway through the fourth quarter and opted to put all of their chips into one drive.


A fourth-down pass from Blake Schroedermeier to Hayden Gilbert extended a drive that eventually reached fourth and 3 from the Platte-Geddes 9-yard line, although it took two timeouts along the way. Viborg-Hurley went to Johnson on a direct snap, but the Black Panthers were there to greet him before he could pick up the first down.

Johnson scored four touchdowns against Platte-Geddes last season, ran for 94 yards on 13 attempts, but 68 came on his first touch of the game.

“They didn’t want us to have too much time on the clock if they did score,” Hanson said. “Our defense rose to the occasion. We’ve been great all year. We expect to play great defense.”

Vanderwerff finished 11 of 18 passing for 222 yards and two touchdowns, while Neuman had 140 yards from scrimmage. Grayson Hanson ran for 70 yards and made 12 tackles on defense.

Platte-Geddes will face No. 2 Hamlin -- which beat Lemmon/McIntosh 28-6 -- in the Class 9AA title game at 11 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 12 at the DakotaDome in Vermillion.

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