Winner runs past McCook Central/Montrose to advance to Class 11B semifinals

The Warriors rushed for seven touchdowns in the 66-28 win at home over the Fighting Cougars

Winner's Riley Orel carries the ball past McCook Central/Montrose's Carter Randall during the first half of a football game on Oct. 28, 2021 at Winner High School. (Branden Hull / Republic)

WINNER — The Winner Warriors rushed for 607 yards to run past McCook Central/Montrose, landing themselves in the Class 11B semifinals for the third straight year.

Aiden Barfuss, Riley Shippy, Kaleb Osborn and Kaden Keiser all rushed for at least one touchdown as Winner downed the Fighting Cougars at home 66-28. Joey Cole also threw two touchdowns to cap Winner’s night of nine total touchdowns.

Warriors head coach Trent Olson said they don’t pass often, but when they do, they make it count.

“Teams are looking for us to run and I know we don’t pass often, but we’ve been very effective at it,” Olson said. “Joey Cole has completed 67 percent of his passes this season and he has one interception to nine touchdowns. He’s been very effective and even though we don’t pass often, when we do, we have a chance to make a big play because teams are looking at us to run. It’s good to have a little balance and keep them off (balance).”

Cole went 4-of-8 passing for 63 yards and connected with Slade Cournoyer for one 13-yard touchdown with 15 seconds left in the first half and the other to Keiser for 40 yards in the first quarter. Shippy led the dominant rushing attack with five carries for 224 yards and three touchdowns. Barfuss rushed 11 times for 196 yards and two touchdowns while Riley Orel ran for 79 yards on 11 carries. Keiser had 12 carries for 70 yards and a touchdown and Osborn rushed six times for 22 yards and one touchdown.


Despite the stellar performances by the Warriors' running backs, MCM remained relentless and managed to rack up 461 total yards of offense along with 28 points, the most points Winner has given up since Nov. 8, 2019, when the Warriors defeated Webster Area 38-27 in the Class 11B semifinals.

Gavin Gordon went 33-of-58 for 384 yards and two touchdowns for the Fighting Cougars. He completed both touchdowns to Cody Miles, who finished with 16 receptions for 256 yards.

“You really have to give this team credit for what they did tonight,” Olson said of MCM. “Their quarterback throws a nice ball, they’re big up front, and that No. 2 (Miles) kid is athletic. We were putting our best guys on him and he caught a slant, broke a tackle and scored a long touchdown. We weren’t really out of position, he’s just a really good athlete and made some plays.”

Gordon also connected with Will Cleveland 10 times for 86 yards and completed three passes to Trevor Hansen for 23 yards. Hansen led the MCM rushing attack picking up 81 yards on 16 carries.

Winner has now reached the semifinals five of the last seven seasons, and each time they’ve at least made it to the semifinal round, they reached the championship game as well.

Winner will face No. 5 Elk-Point Jefferson in the Class 11B semifinals on Nov. 5.

Branden is a sports reporter that graduated from Purdue University Northwest with a bachelor's degree in communications and a focus in journalism. He joined the Mitchell Republic in June 2021 and covers prep and collegiate athletics. He was also the lead on the Mitchell Republic Full-Court Press, providing a weekly web-exclusive look at high school basketball throughout all of South Dakota. Branden can be reached at and found on Twitter at @bhullreports.
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