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Mount Vernon/Plankinton rolls Blackhawks in season debut

Reed Rus has a hand in all 5 Titan touchdowns

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Mount Vernon/Plankinton's Reed Rus races toward the endzone as Woonsocket/Wessington Springs/Sanborn Central's Blake Larson (12), Caleb Kneen (55) and Ryder Michalek (11) give chase during a Class 11B football game on Friday, Aug. 19, 2022, at Heroes Field, in Mount Vernon.
Landon Dierks / Mitchell Republic
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MOUNT VERNON, S.D. — It was a dominant first showing for the Mount Vernon/Plankinton defense as well as quarterback Reed Rus on Friday night.

With the defense providing a shutout until the final moments and Rus powering the offense, MVP ran out to a big lead and never looked back, defeating Woonsocket/Wessington Springs/Sanborn Central, 37-8, at the Titans’ Heroes Field.

Experience provided a valuable edge for the Titans, who controlled the game after a back-and-forth first quarter, according to coach Brent Olson.

“They have a really young team, they’re replacing a lot of starters from last year,” Olson explained. “That team is going to be a heck of a lot better five, six games down the road. We’re pretty fortunate we’re getting them now instead of later.”

Rus outgained the Blackhawks offense on his own, accounting for 259 yards — 165 passing and 94 rushing — and had a hand in all five Titan touchdowns. Meanwhile, the Titans’ defense limited WWSSC to 213 total yards, with nearly two-thirds coming after halftime.

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But the game didn’t start with the Titans dominating from the opening kick. A scoreless first quarter looked like an early sign the teams could be headed for a near-repeat of the 2021 regular-season finale, a game MVP won, 6-0.

After an empty first 14 minutes, the Titans turned to Rus in a short-yardage situation nearing the red zone. The senior delivered in a big way, losing a shoe on the way to a 25-yard score that put MVP up 8-0 after a successful two-point conversion. Five minutes later it was Rus again, this time from 45 yards out, to make it 14-0.

Then, shortly before half, the teams exchanged turnovers. An MVP fumble on the first play following a punt set the Blackhawks up just outside the red zone, but after just two plays, Chris Mayer intercepted a Holden Havlik pass, setting up a two-minute drive that was capped by Rus’ third rushing score from 9 yards out.

“Once we got things sorted out a little bit, I think we were a little bigger and older than them and we were able to lean on ‘em,” Olson said. “Then once we got them worn down, those 5-yard gains started turning into 10 and 15 yards and opened it up.”

The second half provided some more of the same for the Titans. A touchdown pass from Rus to Meyer covering 65 yards in the third quarter pushed the lead to 30 points, with another 61-yard scoring connection coming in the fourth. The scoring plays were Mayer’s only two catches of the night, and were half of Rus’ completion total, as he went 4-of-5 for an average of more than 41 yards per completion.

Havlik, who was on Kimball/White Lake’s roster as a freshman last season, finished off a late drive with a 2-yard scoring plunge for the Blackhawks’ lone score.

For the game, Havlik was 8-of-19 for 47 yards through the air and added 43 yards on the ground. Camden Jost was WWSSC’s leading rusher, gaining 63 yards on 15 carries, while also totaling a team-best five tackles on defense.

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MVP (1-0) heads north for a matchup with Miller/Highmore-Harrold on Aug. 26, while WWSSC (0-1) meets up with Jim River in Scotland on Aug. 26.

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Woonsocket/Wessington Springs/Sanborn Central's Brady Larson (26) carries the ball upfield after making a reception against Mount Vernon/Plankinton during a Class 11B football game on Friday, August 19, 2022, at Heroes Field, in Mount Vernon.
Landon Dierks / Mitchell Republic

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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