Breaking down the South Dakota Prep Media football poll for the week of Oct. 3: Unanimous No. 1s cement status

A look at the 2022 prep football rankings entering the first action of October

Winner's Riley Orel (30) powers his way through a mass of blockers and defenders with the football during a high school football game against Bridgewater-Emery/Ethan on Friday, Sept. 30, 2022, in Bridgewater.
Adam Thury / Mitchell Republic
We are part of The Trust Project.

MITCHELL — Last week, three programs — Sioux Falls Jefferson, Pierre and Winner — earned every first-place vote in their respective classes ahead of tough tests to close September.

All three notched impressive victories in those contests last week, further establishing themselves as the best their division has to offer.

As the calendar turns to October, this edition of the South Dakota Gridiron Report examines five programs that have exceeded expectations in 2022 and are in line to make some noise in the postseason.

Jefferson and Winner played the No. 2 teams in Class 11AAA and Class 11B, respectively, and both posted lopsided wins that knocked the opposition down to No. 3 this week. The Cavaliers dispatched of O'Gorman, 42-17, improving to 6-0 on the season with wins over the current Nos. 2, 3 and 5 in Class 11AAA — in order, Harrisburg, O'Gorman and Sioux Falls Lincoln.

Winner was on the road for a clash with Bridgewater-Emery/Ethan, and for the second-straight regular-season meeting the Warriors shut out the Seahawks, this time 36-0. The win moved Winner to 6-0 on the season and was the first of three-straight games against undefeated opposition ahead of the postseason for the Warriors. Meanwhile, BEE fell 23 points back of new No. 2 Elk Point-Jefferson and is only two points ahead of No. 4 Mount Vernon/Plankinton.

The final unanimous No. 1 to pass its test on Sept. 30 was Class 11AA's Pierre, which visited Class 11AAA No. 4 Brandon Valley. Unlike their No. 1 peers, the Governors were on the ropes early, trailing 21-0 in the first quarter, but steadily chipped away from there on the way to a 43-34 win. Behind Pierre, votes shifted slightly, but the order from last week remained, led by unanimous No. 2 Tea Area.


No new teams

Across all seven classifications, not one team went from outside the top five or receiving votes to a ranked position. Additionally, only one team received votes outside the top five in each of the five classes, with two doing so in the other two.

In Class 9AA, Parkston was the most popular non-ranked pick again after taking down former Class 9A No. 1 Gregory, getting 12 votes behind Elkton-Lake Benton at No. 5.

Parkston's Brayden Jervik (2) carries the football as Hanson's Jackson Jarding (4) closes in for the tackle during a Class 9AA prep football game on Friday, Sept. 9, 2022, in Alexandria.
Landon Dierks / Mitchell Republic

With Gregory's loss, Warner overtook the Gorillas for the No. 1 spot in Class 9A with 16 of 18 first-place votes. Gregory held on to one such vote and is ranked No. 2 this week, while Castlewood got the final top vote.

Along with Class 11AA, Class 9B was one of only two classes to have all top five teams remain in the same positions as last week, though due to unique circumstances. No. 1 Herreid/Selby Area was the only one of the five to play a game last week, running through Northwestern, 66-26. Nos. 2-4 — Hitchcock-Tulare, Corsica-Stickney and Sully Buttes — were all idle this week, while No. 5 De Smet won via forfeit.

After being tied with Sioux Falls Christian for No. 5 in Class 11A last week, Canton dropped behind the Chargers and is now the lone vote-receiver outside the top five in that class. Elsewhere in the division, Dakota Valley swapped places with Beresford at No.3 and No. 4, respectively.

A look at the high school football slate from Friday night

The South Dakota Prep Media football polls for the week of Oct. 3 are listed below, ranking the top-five teams in each class. First-place votes received are indicated in parentheses.

Class 11AAA
1. Sioux Falls Jefferson (18), 6-0, 90; 2. Harrisburg, 5-1, 68; 3. O’Gorman, 4-2, 58; 4. Brandon Valley, 3-3, 30; 5. Sioux Falls Lincoln, 3-3, 23.
Also receiving votes: Sioux Falls Washington 1.

Class 11AA
1. Pierre (18), 6-0, 90; 2. Tea Area, 6-0, 72; 3. Yankton, 4-2, 53; 4. Brookings, 4-2, 34; 5. Aberdeen Central, 3-3, 19.
Also receiving votes: Sturgis 1, Spearfish 1.


Class 11A
1. West Central (14), 6-0, 86; 2. Dell Rapids (4), 6-0, 76; 3. Dakota Valley, 5-1, 46; 4. Beresford, 4-2, 38; 5. Sioux Falls Christian, 4-2, 18.
Also receiving votes: Canton 6.

Class 11B
1. Winner (18), 6-0, 90; 2. Elk Point-Jefferson, 6-0, 68; 3. Bridgewater-Emery/Ethan, 5-1, 45; 4. Mount Vernon/Plankinton, 7-0, 43; 5. Aberdeen Roncalli, 6-0, 23.
Also receiving votes: Hot Springs 1.

Class 9AA
1. Howard (17), 7-0, 87; 2. Wall, 7-0, 72; 3. Hanson, 5-1, 42; 4. Hamlin (1), 6-1, 34; 5. Elkton-Lake Benton, 6-0, 23.
Also receiving votes: Parkston 12.

Class 9A
1. Warner (16), 6-0, 88; 2. Gregory (1), 5-1, 71; 3. Castlewood (1) 5-1 55; 4. Lyman, 5-1, 34; 5. Alcester-Hudson, 6-1, 16.
Also receiving votes: Canistota 5, Philip 1.

Class 9B
1. Herreid/Selby Area (17), 6-0, 89; 2. Hitchcock-Tulare (1), 6-0, 73; 3. Corsica-Stickney, 5-1, 47; 4. Sully Buttes, 5-1, 36; 5. De Smet, 4-2, 22.
Also receiving votes: Faith 2, Avon 1.


[4] Brandon Valley (11AAA)@[5] SF Lincoln (11AAA)
[RV] SF Washington (11AAA) @[3] O'Gorman (11AAA)
[4] Brookings (11AA)@[5] Aberdeen Central (11AA)
[RV] Spearfish (11AA)@[2] Tea Area (11AA)
[4] Beresford (11A)@[5] SF Christian (11A)
[1] West Central (11A)@[1] Winner (11B)
[4] Sully Buttes (9B)@[4] Lyman (9A)
[2] Hitchcock-Tulare (9B)@[5] De Smet (9B)

Dierks covers prep and collegiate athletics across the Mitchell Republic's coverage region area, focusing on Mitchell High School football and boys basketball and area high school football, volleyball and basketball, as well as Dakota Wesleyan women's basketball. He was also the lead on the Mitchell Republic Gridiron Spotlight, producing video and providing live play-by-play for the traveling weekly prep football broadcast during its first season in the fall of 2021. Dierks is a Mitchell native who graduated from South Dakota State University with his bachelor's degree in journalism in May 2020. He joined the Mitchell Republic sports staff in August 2021. He can be reached at and found on Twitter at @LDierksy.
What to read next
Two events, two wins for Mitchell High School gymnastics in the season's first week of competition.
Meets in Kimball, Dell Rapids, Fort Pierre, Flandreau and O'Neill, Neb. had area teams in action on Saturday.
Jagger Tyler, Danny Borja and Frankie Kranz each finished their days undefeated at the Watertown Civic Arena.
No. 1 SDSU will host No. 8 Holy Cross in the quarterfinals in a rematch of a spring 2021 playoff tilt.