State Football Playoff Semi-Finals Happen This Weekend; Winners To The Dome Next Week
SEMI-FINAL PAIRINGS IN ALL CLASSES FOLLOW THIS STORY
28 high school football teams are involved in playoff semi-final games this weekend. Half the remaining field will head for Vermillion and State Championship games next week. One team in one of the toughest divisions in South Dakota is in somewhat unfamiliar territory—but the Lennox Orioles defeated a heavily-favored opponent on the road in the first round.
Very few teams end a game against St. Thomas More with a win—especially teams that travel across the state, change time zones, and get the Cavaliers on their home field in Rapid City. But, the Lennox Orioles pulled it off last week. Lennox was the seventh-seeded team entering the 11-A playoffs, and defeated St. Thomas More, 35-34. Coach Matt Luze says he and his coaches preached from the beginning of the season most of the Orioles’ games would be close.
The coach says, “We didn’t make any bones about it—we told the kids, ‘Listen, we’re not going to win games by three or four touchdowns; it’s just not gonna happen. Sometimes, we’re gonna win by a touchdown, sometimes less. We’re gonna have to make plays; and they believed it and bought into that. And since they’ve had success, they feel that if we’re there at the end of the game, we’re gonna come out on top.”
The Orioles reward for winning after a 352-mile trip to Rapid City—is a 22-mile jaunt to Hartford. Tonight’s opponent, for Lennox, the West Central Trojans, are used to going deep in the post-season, and Orioles’ Coach Luze says the Trojans are playing their best football at the right time of year.
“They really are. They’re going back to just bread-and-butter, smashmouth football that they’ve been known for. They’re a very tough, very physical team—they do a lot of good things offensively. Defensively, they’re very sound, they’re very well coached.”
West Central defeated Lennox in the regular season, 35-7. The winner plays Madison or Sioux Falls Christian in the 11-A Championship Game next Thursday night.
PLAYOFF SEMI-FINALS FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 6TH (All Times Central Standard)
Brandon Valley at Sioux Falls Washington, Howard Wood Field, 4:00
Sioux Falls O'Gorman at Sioux Falls Roosevelt, Howard Wood Field, 7:30
Harrisburg at Yankton, 7:00 PM
Mitchell at Pierre, 7:00 PM
Sioux Falls Christian at Madison, 7:00 PM
Lennox at West Central (Hartford), 7:00 PM
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 7TH
Groton Area at Winner 6:00 PM
Tri-Valley at Sioux Valley (Volga) 6:00 PM
Wolsey-Wessington at Webster Area (Waubay), 5:00 PM
Stanley County at Woonsocket-Wessington Springs-Sanborn Central (Wess. Springs) 3:30 PM
Waverly-South Shore at Canistota 7:00 PM
Scotland at Sully Buttes (Onida), 6:00 PM
Corsica-Stickney at Langford Area 6:30 PM
Colome at Harding County (Buffalo), 5:00 PM