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Lincoln Kienholz throws six touchdowns as Pierre defeats Mitchell

The top-ranked Governors raced out to a 43-0 lead and never looked back in a win over No. 5 Mitchell on Saturday.

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Mitchell's Lukas Bennett looks on during a high school football game against Sturgis on Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022, at Joe Quintal Field.
Adam Thury / Mitchell Republic
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PIERRE — Six first-half touchdown passes by Pierre quarterback Lincoln Kienholz sent Class 11AA’s top-ranked Governors to a 50-6 win over Mitchell on Saturday night at Hollister Field.

With Kienholz, a University of Washington football commit, leading the way, the Pierre offense sprinted out to a 43-0 halftime lead. Kienholz connected with 6-foot-7 tight end Jackson Edman for three scores from 5, 7 and 11 yards out, while Jack Merkwan, Cade Kaiser and Jett Zabel each hauled in one scoring pass before halftime.

Mitchell was in the midst of its most promising drive of the night, taking the ball down to the Pierre 5-yard line just before halftime, though a fumble ended the series. Despite limited time remaining before the break, the Governors wasted no time in turning the turnover into points, as Kienholz lofted a 74-yard scoring strike to Merkwan on the second play after gaining possession.

With a running clock in the second half, Tristen Jellis — the third Kernel quarterback to see the field — scampered into the endzone from 17 yards out for Mitchell’s lone score of the contest. On the first play of Pierre's ensuing drive, Elijah Boutchee took off on a quarterback keeper for a 66-yard score of his own, scoring the final points of the game.

The Governors held a 457 to 259 advantage in total yards, including 378 from the arm of Kienholz, with 209 of those yards going to Merkwan. In three games, Pierre has now outscored its opposition 152-21.

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For the second straight week, the Kernels got more than 100 yards both on the ground and through the air, finishing Saturday’s contest with 103 rushing yards and 156 passing yards. Mitchell was, however, hindered by three turnovers (two interceptions and one fumble).

“Being tight in there (with regards to formations), we weren’t able to get anything going,” said Mitchell coach Kent Van Overschelde. “Spreading it out gave us a chance to work on the pass set and some timing. It is nice to be able to change it up a little bit and at least survive the football game.”

Treyson Schulz completed 13 of 24 passes for 139 yards and added 16 yards rushing for Mitchell, as A.J. Siemsen had team-highs with seven receptions for 55 yards. Mick Dailey added three catches for 40 yards.

Parker Denne was the Kernels’ leading rusher with seven carries for 45 yards, all in the second half. On defense, Kasey Lopez came up with a second-half interception of Dawson Getz.

“Give credit to our JV (junior varsity) guys,” Van Overschelde said. “They brought some energy.”

Up next for Mitchell (1-2) is another road contest, this time at Aberdeen Central on Friday, Sept. 16. Pierre (3-0) stays at home to host No. 3 Yankton.

“Getting back to a normal routine and even a shorter week is going to be helpful to our guys,” Van Overschelde said. “We’re not going to need to spend a lot of time dwelling on this one. … There are going to be a lot of teams going forward that struggle with the Pierre Governors, but we need to focus on the Mitchell Kernels and work to improve.”

Class 11AA scores
Friday
Spearfish 36, Douglas 8
No. 2 Tea Area 44, No. 2 (11AAA) O'Gorman 41
No. 3 Yankton 41, Watertown 7
Saturday
No. 4 Brookings 24, Huron 2
No. 1 Pierre 50, No. 5 Mitchell 6
Sturgis 18, Aberdeen Central 13

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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