Over the next couple of days, high school football teams in South Dakota will fill openings for next week’s state championship games in Vermillion. 28 teams in the seven classes are one step away from the Dakota Dome. Baltic High School looks to continue an unbeaten season.
There’s one thing you have to hand to the Baltic Bulldogs—no one has given them anything this year. The Bulldogs played eight regular-season games; seven of their opponents made the playoffs this year; and Baltic has defeated every opponent, under the direction of Head Coach Jason Aberson.
“We’re very proud of the boys—we’ve worked awful hard, and we’ve kind of exceeded our own expectations and now, we believe we can go the whole way, so hopefully, we can get things done yet for two more games.”
The Bulldogs defeated Mount Vernon-Plankinton in Monday’s quarter-final game in Baltic. They won on the strength of two players running for more than 100 yards. Aberson says the team has a goal of a more balanced offense.
“Oh, my goodness, yes—yeah, we’ve been trying to work more on our passing the past couple games, but we’ve had so much success with controlling the ball and running the ball, we haven’t had to pass a lot. We’re trying to get a little bit more balance.”
Saturday night, Baltic heads to Webster to play the undefeated Bearcats. That northeast South Dakota program has a tradition of successful football, with several deep playoff runs and a state championship trophy from 2000. Aberson knows his team has a lot to handle Saturday.
“Well, I don’t know—we’ve been watching film on them, and what a nice-looking team. To tell you the truth, when I watch them, I see a lot of my own team. They’re diversified, they have a nice backfield, they have their line, it looks like they do a very good job in their fundamentals. I haven’t seen a lot of chinks in their armor yet.”
Baltic and Webster are scheduled for a 3:00 kickoff Saturday—the winner plays for the 9-AA championship against Stanley County or Gregory.