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Kernel Gameday: Mitchell football clashes with rival Huron to wrap up home slate

The Kernels defeated the Tigers, 21-20, in overtime last season and have won eight of the last 11 meetings.

9-3-22PrepFootballMitchellvsSturgis-55.jpg
Mitchell's Jagger Tyler (8) dives to make a reception during the Kernel Bowl football game against the Sturgis Scoopers on Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022, at Joe Quintal Field.
Adam Thury / Mitchell Republic
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MITCHELL — In its final home game of the season, the Mitchell High School football team renews its rivalry with Huron as both teams are fighting for a place in the Class 11AA playoff field. Here’s what to know ahead of the contest:

When:
7 p.m. Friday

Where:
Joe Quintal Field

Records:
Mitchell 1-6; Huron 2-5.

Last meeting:
Mitchell visited Huron last season and escaped with a 21-20 overtime victory preserved by a two-point conversion goal-line stand on the final play. It was a return to the win column for the Kernels in the series after a pair of losses to the Tigers. In 11 meetings since the start of 2011, Mitchell is 8-3 overall, including five straight wins between 2014 and 2018.

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Last week:
Mitchell stumbled at home against Watertown, falling 24-14 in its fifth-straight loss since a 1-1 start. Huron hosted Class 11AA No. 1 Pierre and was defeated, 59-7.

Notes:

  • Neither team received votes in the most recent South Dakota Prep Media football poll on Oct. 10. The Kernels made their most recent appearance in the receiving votes section on Sept. 19, which coincided with the Tigers' only appearance in the poll this season. Huron received three votes to Mitchell's two that week.
  • As of Oct. 13, Mitchell is on the outside of the Class 11AA postseason picture looking in as the No. 10 seed. Despite losing last week, Huron crept into the playoff picture at No. 8. The Kernels trail No. 9 Watertown by almost three-quarters of a point and is more than 1.1 points behind Huron for the final place in the postseason.

About the Kernels:

  • Mitchell's offense has found a balance in moving the ball through the air and on the ground this season. Though seven games, the Kernels have nearly identical totals of yards gained passing (975) and rushing (969) and have six passing touchdowns compared to nine rushing touchdowns.
  • In last season's meeting, Mitchell pounded the Huron on the ground, finishing the game with 325 rushing yards which was more than 200 yards better than Huron's total. Though the Kernels haven't established a workhorse back this season like Josh Grosdidier was a year ago (Grosdidier carried 39 times for 247 yards and all three Mitchell touchdowns in last season's game), the combination of Parker Denne, Jagger Tyler, Bryce Palmer and Lukas Bennett with quarterback Treyson Schulz mixed in has proven to be effective. Last week, the Kernels had 188 yards rushing and two touchdowns.
  • The Kernels have averaged just over 31 penalty yards per game this season, but were troubled by such mishaps in last season's game. In that contest, Mitchell committed 10 penalties for 71 yards, which both aided the Tigers' efforts to stay in the game and were partially to blame in the Kernels failing to capitalize on two separate red zone opportunities.

About the Tigers:

  • Both of Huron's wins have come against West River opposition. The Tigers clipped Sturgis, 34-32, on the Scoopers' home field on Sept. 16 and defeated Douglas, 32-14, in Huron on Sept. 30. In four of five losses, Huron has not scored more than once, the exception being a 34-19 defeat at Watertown on Sept. 2.
  • The Tigers frequently lean on the talents of running back Quinston Luellman Clark. In perhaps Huron's best performance to date, Luellman Clark needed just 15 carries to rack up 235 yards and two touchdowns, which came on runs of 91 and 88 yards against Sturgis. He'll look to exploit a Kernel defense that surrendered 264 yards on 31 carries to Watertown's Juven Hudson last week and allows just over 187 yards on 6.7 yards per rush for the season.
  • Mason Davis is Huron's regular starter at quarterback and is one half of the quarterback duo that played against Mitchell last season. In that game, Davis and Cade McNeil (since graduated) combined to go 10-of-20 for 131 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

Next:
Mitchell wraps up the regular season with an ESD contest at Brookings on Thursday, Oct. 20. Huron's final game of the regular season is also on the road next week, as the Tigers visit Class 11AA No. 3 Yankton.

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 ldierks@mitchellrepublic.com and found on Twitter at @LDierksy.
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