Tyce's turn: Ortman shoulders the offensive load for Pride's third-straight title

Canistota/Freeman's Tyce Ortman breaks free from Warner's Ty Cramer (20) for a touchdown during the Class 9A state championship game on Thursday in Vermillion at the DakotaDome. (Matt Gade / Republic)

VERMILLION -- The Class 9A Joe Robbie MVP trophy is heading to the Ortman household in Canistota for the third year in a row.

The most recent recipient was still more concerned about the final trophy to be handed out on Thursday, the state championship trophy, which belongs to Canistota/Freeman for the third consecutive season thanks in large part to Tyce Ortman’s MVP performance in a 12-0 win against Warner in the DakotaDome.

Ortman’s older brother Trey quarterbacked the Pride to back-to-back state titles, winning the MVP award both seasons with precision passing. Tyce, a running back and wide receiver on those teams, was asked to take over at quarterback following Trey’s graduation, but he made most of his plays with his feet.

Ortman ran for 253 yards on 27 attempts -- accounting for 86.7% of the team’s total offense -- and scored both of Canistota/Freeman’s touchdowns, including a 64-yard jaunt to pad the lead in the third quarter to secure his coveted third championship trophy.

“I don’t really care about the MVP trophy, as long as we got that three-peat,” Ortman said. “That’s what I was most concerned about.”


While Trey may have won back-to-back MVP trophies, Tyce was a key performer for the Pride in both games. He had a touchdown reception and an interception in 2018 and put up 202 all-purpose yards and two scores last season, but he had a rocky start against a tough Monarch defense.

The senior fumbled twice -- losing one -- early in the game and was intercepted at the Warner 1-yard line in the waning moments of the first half, this coming shortly after coming away on another red zone trip.

The senior went 5 of 11 passing for 42 yards, but only two attempts were in the second half as Canistota/Freeman returned Ortman’s strengths. The Pride began to spread out the Warner defense, only to gash them between the tackles with Ortman, particularly with teammate Isiah Robertson limited to eight yards on three carries due to an ankle injury.

“We established what had worked for us in the first half of that game,” Canistota/Freeman head coach James Strang said. “Once we did, it ended up being (to) spread them thin and run in between. Tyce is definitely good at that. It took a long time to get six. We marched the ball and didn’t put it in, but we got that late score.”

Ortman also finished with nine tackles and a forced fumble on defense, putting his fingerprint on every facet of the game, which is the way he prefers to play.

“I’m not really a quarterback. I can’t throw the ball to save my life,” Ortman said. “But running the ball felt good.”

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