Platte-Geddes pumped for rematch with Viborg-Hurley
VIBORG -- Platte-Geddes has not been shy about its desire for a rematch with Viborg-Hurley.
The Black Panthers have coveted the opportunity since being throttled by the Cougars 66-20 in the Class 9AA quarterfinals a season ago. This time Platte-Geddes is looking for a more pleasant experience against the defending state champions as the two square off in a semifinal matchup of unbeatens at 7 p.m. Friday.
With more experience and most of their key players returning, the fourth-seeded Black Panthers feel they are on a more even playing field with No. 1 Viborg-Hurley this time around a belief they can reach the state finals for the first time as a co-op. Platte has not reached the DakotaDome since 1992, while Geddes is looking to end a 38-year drought.
“We think we’re the two best teams in the class,” Platte-Geddes head coach Bruce Hanson said. “No disrespect to the other ones, we just think we match up better with Viborg-Hurley than anyone else. We think we’re the only ones that can beat them. We’re going in expecting to win.”
One major difference from last season’s matchup will be the absence of Viborg-Hurley quarterback Chase Mason, whose season came to an end with a torn ACL on Sept. 4.
Mason threw for 2,218 yards and ran for 1,159, while accounting for 45 touchdowns last season. He also set state title game records with 416 yards of total offense and six touchdowns against Bon Homme last year.
The Cougars have dealt with a variety of obstacles this season, shifting players into different positions. At one point, they were down to the third-string quarterback, but Blake Schroedermeier returned from injury last week to throw for 145 yards and four scores in a 58-6 win over Rapid City Christian.
Schroedermeier has plenty of weapons to choose from, as Carter Gust -- who has played four different positions on offense this year -- scored four touchdowns last week and speedster Angel Johnson scored three times a week ago.
“When you’ve got guys like that, who are Swiss Army knives, it definitely helps your team,” Viborg-Hurley head coach Rob Kessler said. “... It gives you an entire understanding of the offense or the defense. They can get a feel of everything that’s going on. … We can scheme things up most people can’t because of the personnel that we have.”
Platte-Geddes is coming off a 17-8 grind-it-out win over Hanson in the quarterfinals, but more offense may be needed to knock off Viborg-Hurley. The Cougars are averaging 51.6 points per game -- scoring 50 in all but one game this year -- and have surrendered eight points per game.
Both coaches believe the key will be in the trenches. The Black Panthers must handle the Viborg-Hurley pass rush. They had success on deep balls last season, but also committed five turnovers and threw three interceptions last week against Hanson.
“We aren’t going to get bullied around, we aren’t going to get pushed around like we did last year,” Hanson said. “... We knew we had to take some chances to stay in the ballgame last year. We knew they were better than us. This year, we don’t think we have to do that. We’re just going to stick to what we do.”