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Lower Brule finishes perfect, Sioux win 9B All Nations championship

Tim Tushla
South Dakota Public Broadcasting

The Lower Brule Sioux defeated the Tiospa Zina Wambdi 46-0 in the 9B All Nations Football Conference championship game on Friday night at the Dakota Dome in Vermillion. The Sioux were led by three passing touchdowns from quarterback Gavin Thigh and stifling defense throughout the contest.

Lower Brule received to start the game. Nunpa Kirkie would score from 3-yards out to cap off the drive, putting the Sioux up 8-0 within the first four minutes. Tiospa Zina’s opening drive garnered a couple first downs, but it stalled at midfield.

End of the 1st Quarter | Lower Brule 8 Tiospa Zina 0

The Sioux were able to drive the ball deep into Wambdi territory early in the second quarter, but an incompletion on fourth led to the turnover on downs.

Deep in their own territory, and after a large loss, Tiospa Zina played for enough room to punt. Gavin Thigh then hit Brian LaRoche Jr for 25-yards to get the Sioux inside their opponents five-yard line. Thigh then ran it in from three-yards out and Lower Brule increased their lead, 16-0, at the 7:52 mark of the second quarter.

Both defenses stiffened up for the next couple of drives, putting a lot of pressure on each opposing offense.

Lane Gray gave the Sioux the ball back late in the first half when he intercepted a Renville pass. On the next play, Thigh hit LaRoche for a 64-yard touchdown.

Halftime | Lower Brule 24 Tiospa Zina 0

The Wambdi received to start the second half, but the Sioux’s defense pushed them into a quick three-and-out.

Lower Brule would drive down the field and score on a one-yard touchdown pass from Thigh to Marley Carpenter. It was set up by a 34-yard connection from Thigh to LaRoche that put the Sioux into close range. This made it a 32-0 lead for Lower Brule with 5:07 to play in the third quarter.

End of the 3rd Quarter | Lower Brule 32 Tiospa Zina 0

With 10:54 to play in the game, Thigh nabbed his third touchdown pass, this one to Nate Middletent from six-yards out.
Middletent would score once more for Lower Brule with 49-seconds to go in the contest, on a one-yard plunge.

Final | Lower Brule 46 Tiospa Zina 0

Lower Brule was led by Gavin Thigh, who threw for 194-yards and three touchdowns, he also had a rushing score. Brian LaRoche Jr finished with 130-yards receiving and one touchdown, and Nunpa Kirkie ran for 97-yards and a touchdown.

Offensive MVP | Gavin Thigh (Lower Brule)

Defensive MVP | Tayshawn Battese (Lower Brule)

Jim Thorpe MVP | Brian LaRoche Jr (Lower Brule)

2022 All Nations Football Championships Class 9B

Nate Wek is currently the sports content producer and sports and rec beat reporter for South Dakota Public Broadcasting. He is a graduate of South Dakota State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism Broadcasting and a minor in Leadership. From 2010-2013 Nate was the Director of Gameday Media for the Sioux Falls Storm (Indoor Football League) football team. He also spent 2012 and 2013 as the News and Sports Director of KSDJ Radio in Brookings, SD. Nate, his wife Sarah, and two kids Braxan and Jordy, live in Canton, SD.
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