Once A Strong 11-B Program, Harrisburg Football Continues To Win In State's Second-Largest Class

Oct 6, 2016

The home grandstand at Harrisburg High School's football field. The Tigers are finding success in Class 11-AA, and could be the first state team to win titles in three 11-man classes.
Credit Yankton Press and Dakotan

The Sioux Falls metro area is one of the fastest growing in the Midwest.  While the state’s largest city continues to add more people, communities on the perimeter are seeing growth as well.  One such town is Harrisburg—just a few years ago, the Tigers were successful in South Dakota’s 11-B class.

It wasn’t all that long ago that Harrisburg was in South Dakota’s smallest class of 11-man football.  They had some success there—and when the metropolitan area of Sioux Falls took off, Harrisburg went with it.  The Tigers became part of that incredibly tough 11-A mix in southeast South Dakota, running into West Central, Canton, Dell Rapids and others.  And now, the Tigers play in 11-Double-A.  Harrisburg Coach Brandon White says his team succeeds with community support and a fearless group of players in maroon and gold.

“So, when that happens—you make jumps in different classes—our kids buy into that.  They don’t see it as an obstacle; they see it as an opportunity to take on that next challenge.  And when the kids have that mindset, and that culture’s built within programs, it started with Keith Huber and then Scott Ebertson and myself—it never becomes a distraction,” says Coach White

Harrisburg’s new football stadium would be the envy of a lot of smaller college programs.  The field sits next to the high school, has a Field Turf artificial surface, and a large video scoreboard just past the south end zone.  White says the facility is a selling point for the team, and the community.

“You know, our booster club did a phenomenal job in getting sponsors and extra people to donate to that, and it’s one of the best facilities in the state.  And our kids enjoy it, they don’t take it for granted—because, when we go on the road and have to play at some of the other places, they don’t realize how good they actually have it.  It’s pretty cool to see, actually, our homecoming game was close to four-or-five thousand people there so, and we can accommodate that here,”according to the coach.

The Tigers have four wins in six games—losing only to 11-Triple-A Sioux Falls Roosevelt and Brandon Valley.  This Friday night, Harrisburg is on its home field, as the Douglas Patriots make the trip from Box Elder to face the Tigers at 5:30 Central Time.  For South Dakota Public Broadcasting, I’m Gary Ellenbolt.