South Dakota Gridiron Report: Flandreau flying high after 32-game losing skid snapped

South Dakota Gridiron Report

When Derek Genzlinger approached Flandreau’s team bus on Oct. 9, it was shaking.

It was the sight of a 32-game losing streak being broken. Flandreau tweeted a video of a bus load of hyped-up players screaming and celebrating a 12-6 win over Webster Area. It’s the Fliers’ first win since Oct. 14, 2016, when they took down Beresford, 9-7.

“I was really happy for the kids. They work extremely hard in practice, so it was nice to finally get over the hump,” Genzlinger said. “... We had a close one the week before that we had a chance to get, so I think it really played a part in winning against Webster, as well. I was really happy for the kids to finally get that win.”


As Flandreau went winless in each of the past three seasons, Genzlinger didn’t bring up the losing streak often. He suspects his team knew what it had broken on Friday, though.

It was also the first win for the third-year coach, but he doesn’t think much about finally cracking the win column. His focus after the game was on his team finally breaking through, crediting the senior leadership that has kept the team’s motivation high even during sub-.500 years.

It was a senior, Mario Bonilla, who caught the game-winning touchdown in the fourth quarter. Tanner Christenson tossed the 50-yard bomb, while Tathan Headrick had a 98-yard fumble recovery touchdown earlier in the game.

It was a defensive battle, as Flandreau held Webster to under 170 yards. Even for the offensive-minded Genzlinger, his focus turned to winning the field position battle in the second half.

“With the way our defense was playing, I was fine with trying to work some field position a little bit in the second half,” he said. “Defense was playing lights out. It was a little stressful, but not all of them are going to be easy or pretty.”

The streak was nearly broken a week earlier. Flandreau fell 28-21 to Beresford, which tied the game with 40 seconds remaining. Genzlinger feels the close loss helped prepare his team to deal with another close contest a week later.

During preparation, Flandreau didn’t dwell on the fourth-quarter mistakes, though. The Fliers focused on fixing mistakes that swayed the game early in the first quarter against Beresford.

On Friday, it worked.


“Kids were running all over the field, jumping and hugging each other,” Genzlinger said. “... The bus was shaking back and forth, and (I said), ‘I hope we can make it back to Flandreau.’ They were really excited and the energy was high. I was really happy for them to see that excitement. It’s been a long time coming.”

Mitchell Republic sports reporter Jeremy Karll

Canistota/Freeman's Blake Anderson, right, breaks the tackle of Bon Homme's Logan Winckler during a game on Friday in Freeman. (Jeremy Karll / Republic)

Cornbelt Conference clash

Friday's Class 9AA No. 1 Viborg-Hurley vs. Class 9A No. 1 Howard matchup was canceled due to COVID-19. The Cougars and Tigers will split the Cornbelt Conference title for the season.

So Hanson against Canistota/Freeman will be the marquee matchup in the Cornbelt Conference, which uses a cross-division format in the final week of the regular season.

“We are kind of the marquee matchup in the Cornbelt and so we want to go out and win that game,” Canistota/Freeman coach James Strang said. “We always look at where our stance is in the Cornbelt, normally dictates how well we are going to be throughout the course of the season. We just want to finish out the regular season on a high note and get this win and prep for the playoffs.”


Hanson's Hadley Wallace (24) carries the ball against Baltic on Sept. 25 in Alexandria. The Beavers are No. 5 in this week's Class 9AA poll.

The Beavers (6-1) and Pride (6-1) are both looking for strong finishes before they prep for the postseason. But this will be the lone meeting between the conference foes this season.

Canistota/Freeman is Class 9A, while Hanson is Class 9AA. So Friday's matchup will serve as a measuring stick before the playoffs and a good chance to grab major seed points in the final week.

“It’s a big game as far as when you are looking at overall power points within 9AA, within region and overall when you are looking at 9AA,” Hanson coach Jim Haskamp said. “You want to be one of those top seeds.”

Mitchell Republic sports reporter Ryan Deal

Schiller and Puetz set Sioux Valley school records

Jaxton Schiller and Parker Puetz made their way into the Sioux Valley record book on Oct. 9.


The duo helped the Cossack rack up 380 total yards in a 42-20 win over Beresford, while also breaking a pair of records.

Puetz finished 3-for-5 for 161 yards with three touchdowns. Schiller had 52 yards rushing and 91 yards receiving.

Schiller now has 91 catches for 1,684 yards, breaking the school’s all-time receiving record set in 1984. Puetz recorded his 30th career passing touchdown, which also broke the school’s all-time passing record set in 1988.

Honor roll

  • Lemmon/McIntosh’s Cody Thompson passed for 209 yards and five touchdowns in a 62-12 win over Dupree. Thompson had passed for 1,949 yards and 30 touchdowns this season.

  • Cayden Eisemann threw for 266 yards and five touchdowns in Mobridge-Pollock’s 48-6 win over Redfield. Eisemann had 1,717 passing yards and 30 touchdowns this season. Braden Goehring hauled in six receptions for 105 yards and three touchdowns against the Pheasants.

  • Logan Serck finished with 210 rushing yards and 227 passing yards in Alcester-Hudson’s 48-36 win over Elkton-Lake Benton.

  • Hamlin’s Jackson Noem rushed for 225 yards on 17 carries and scored three touchdowns in a 36-6 win over Arlington/Lake Preston.

  • Brextin Garza rushed for 192 yards on 25 carries and scored three touchdowns in Belle Fourche’s 31-6 win over Spearfish.

  • Chester Area’s Stratton Eppard threw for 296 yards and three touchdowns, while rushing for two more scores in a 53-6 win over Britton-Hecla.

  • Riley Schmitz rushed for 257 yards on 32 carries and scored four touchdowns in Elk Point-Jefferson’s 48-44 win over McCook Central/Montrose.

  • Leighton Weber rushed for 305 yards and scored five touchdowns in a 58-50 victory over Sully Buttes.

  • Harrisburg’s Jacob Knuth passed for 355 yards and five touchdowns in a 46-42 win over Sioux Falls Lincoln.

What To Read Next
Get Local