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Sioux Falls Jefferson dominated Harrisburg to win first state football championship

Josh Jurgens
South Dakota Public Broadcasting
2022 SDHSAA Football Championships Class 11AAA

Sioux Falls Jefferson defeated Harrisburg 48-21 in the 11AAA championship game on Saturday night in Vermillion. It’s the first state football title for the Cavaliers in their second season of existence as a high school.

The Tigers received to start the game, but penalties derailed their opening drive. Jefferson also went three-and-out on their opening possession.

Harrisburg would strike first in the ball game on a 33-yard touchdown pass from Dylan Elrod to Tytan Tryon. This made it a 7-0 game with 5:36 to play in first quarter.

The Cavaliers next drive had a few promising plays, but it ultimately stalled around midfield. Jefferson’s defense, however, would get the ball back for the offense after forcing Harrisburg into a speedy three-and-out. A short punt gave the Cavaliers the ball on the Tigers side of the 50.

End of the 1st Quarter | Harrisburg 7 Sioux Falls Jefferson 0

Just two plays into the second quarter, Jefferson quarterback Taylen Ashley tied the game on a 27-yard touchdown run.

Max Carlson grabbed the lead back for Harrisburg on the Tigers next possession with a one-yard touchdown run out of the wildcat.

Ashley hit Robert Hutchinson for a quick 45-yard catch and run on the Cavaliers next possession. This put Jefferson into the red zone. Two plays later Nelson Wright ran straight ahead for a nine-yard touchdown run. It was tied 14-14 with just under seven-minutes to play in the half.

The Tigers offense sputtered on their next possession, which gave Jefferson the ball back with a chance to take the lead before the break.

With 2:12 to play in the half, Ashley hit Hutchinson for a 34-yard yard score, giving the Cavaliers the 21-14 advantage.

Harrisburg tried to work the ball downfield to tie it back up before the break, but it was to no avail.

Halftime | Sioux Falls Jefferson 21 Harrisburg 14

Jefferson received to start the second half, and they wasted no time getting back into the scoring column. Ashley found Sam Siegfried over the middle for a 15-yard touchdown, which made it 28-14 in favor of the Cavaliers.

Beau Giblin then picked off a Elrod pass to give the ball right back to Jefferson in Tigers territory. Ashley would run it in from 15-yards out, and with 7:41 to play in the third quarter, the Cavaliers led in the ball game 35-14.

Harrisburg’s offense quickly went three-and-out on their next possession, which gave the ball right back to Jefferson.

Wright would cap off another Cavaliers drive for a score with a three-yard touchdown run.

Jefferson outscored Harrisburg 21-0 in the third quarter.

End of the 3rd Quarter | Sioux Falls Jefferson 42 Harrisburg 21

On the first play of the fourth quarter, and on a critical fourth down, Elrod hit Aidan Foley for a 20-yard touchdown.

The Cavaliers would answer right back, however, as Wright broke free up the middle for a 67-yard touchdown. The extra point was blocked, but Jefferson still led 48-21.

Harrisburg tried to get another score before time expired, but it was to no avail.

Final | Sioux Falls Jefferson 48 Harrisburg 21

Taylen Ashley scored four touchdowns in the game for Jefferson – two rushing and two passing. He had 61-yards rushing, 203-yards passing, and was named the Joe Robbie MVP.

Game Stats click here

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.