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Parkston comes out on top in 9AA defensive showdown

Josh Jurgens
South Dakota Public Broadcasting

From runner-up a year ago, to now being crowned the state champs – Parkston can celebrate a season of redemption. The Trojans defeated Howard on Thursday night in Vermillion 12-7 in a grind it out, defensive battle, for the 9AA title.

"Defense wins champions," said Parkston head coach Matt Grave. "They allow you to have opportunities throughout the game. They give you momentum when there’s a turnover or a third down stop."

He also admitted that his team didn't play well in the first half, and that adjustments had to be made.

"Offensively we had to adjust a little bit. That’s a very talented team, very well coached, very disciplined," Grave explained. "We’ve been lighting in a bottle. Very thankful for the heart that our seniors have, what they’ve done on and off the field and continue to believe in each other."

The first quarter in the game was all about defense. Parkston had two first downs in the first 12-minutes, while Howard had just one. Both Tigers drives started deep in their own territory, while the Trojans found themselves hovering around midfield.

End of the 1st Quarter: Parkston 0 Howard 0

Parkston ate up nearly five-and-a-half minutes with an efficient drive to start the second quarter, but it eventually stalled out inside the red zone.

Howard would then put together an 83-yard drive that was capped off with a one-yard keeper from quarterback Taiden Hoyer, which gave the Tigers a 7-0 lead.

With a little over two-minutes to play in the half, the Trojans began to move the ball downfield, trying to answer Howard’s scoring drive. Weston Remmers would intercept a Brayden Jervik pass in Howard territory, but the play was reviewed and called an incompletion to keep Parkston’s offense on the field. The Trojans were unable to take advantage of the extra opportunity, though, and turned it over on downs with 39-seconds to play in the half.

Halftime: Howard 7 Parkston 0

The second half started with a trio of three-and-outs, two by Howard and one by Parkston, but on the Trojans second possession of the third quarter, the got their offense going. They put together a 63-yard drive that was finished with a 22-yard quarterback keeper by Luke Bormann. The two-point try was unsuccessful, however, which left the Tigers with a 7-6 lead.

Howard’s offense was stale following the Parkston touchdown as the Tigers once again ran three plays and had to punt. Bormann would then take the very next play 74-yards to the house, giving Parkston their first lead of the game with 55-seconds to play in the third quarter. The two-point try was no good, so it was 12-7.

End of the 3rd Quarter: Parkston 12 Howard 7

Two plays into the fourth quarter, the Tigers were forced to punt once again. Thankfully for Howard, a penalty and a muffed handoff exchange derailed the ensuing drive for Parkston.

The Tigers would endure some misfortune of their own a couple plays into their next drive as a snap on the fumble wound up being a recovery for Jervik of the Trojans. This set up Parkston with a short field to work with as the midpoint of the fourth quarter drew near. Two plays later, Austin Severson then stripped the ball from Bormann, which was recovered by Feldhaus of Howard.

Things looked promising for the Tigers from there, at least for a little bit. They moved the ball downfield, got into Parkston territory. But then things turned disastrous with three straight sacks and a delay of game penalty. Backed into a 4th and 44, Howard had no choice but to punt and hope to get a quick three-and-out.

From there, Parkston got two first downs, Howard burned through their timeouts, and the clock ran out.

Final: Parkston 12 Howard 7

Luke Bormann ran for 167-yards and two rushing touchdowns in the game for Parkston. Taiden Hoyer netted 47-yards on the ground and a touchdown for Howard. The Tigers had just one first down on offense in the second half of the contest.

For Parkston, this is the second state football championship, their first since 2014.

Joe Robbie MVP: Luke Bormann
Outstanding Lineman: Will Jodozi
Outstanding Back: Luke Bormann

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.