Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Warner celebrates first state football title on a record breaking day

Josh Jurgens
South Dakota Public Broadcasting

Warner defeated Deubrook Area 76-54 in the 9A title game on Thursday afternoon in Vermillion. Not only is this the first state championship for the Monarchs football program, but the two programs put together the most impressive, combined scoring performance in state football history in South Dakota with 130 points.

The previous record was set by Kimball and Gettysburg, who combined for 104 points in 2001.

"My brother-in-law is from Kimball," chuckled Warner head coach Kerwin Hoellein. "The Kimball Coyotes were the ones who set that. I can give him grief for a long time on that one now."

With seven seniors, coach Hoellein credits their no-quit leadership.

"Outstanding job," stated Hoellein. "You know, all year long, in the semifinal we got down two touchdowns, we never gave up. Our motto is next play and that certainly was the case tonight. We got down a few times and it was next play, next play, and we battled the whole way."

Deubrook Area got the ball to start, but it was a series of mishaps for the Dolphins. After muffing the kickoff, they started on their own five-yard line. On the third play, Jace Vomacka fumbled the handoff exchange, which was recovered by Zachary Evans of Warner. The Monarchs scored on the next play with a two-yard plunge from Jesiah Baum giving Warner an early 7-0 lead.

The Dolphins found their groove on their second possession of the contest. It started with a 54-yard kick return by JP Rogness, and then capped off with a 37-yard touchdown run by Gavin Landmark. Deubrook Area went for the two-point attempt, which was successful, so despite the disastrous beginning, they found a way to lead 8-7 within the first three-minutes of the game.

The Monarchs didn’t waste much time in regaining the lead, however, as Hunter Cramer broke free for a 43-yard quarterback keeper. The extra point was no good, but Warner held onto a five-point lead.

Brodey Sauerwein would get the ball right back for Warner a few plays later as he tipped a ball at the line of scrimmage to himself for an interception. But the Monarchs gave it right back, and in a big way. On a third and long, Jacob Jorenby jumped in front of a Cramer pass and returned it 87-yards for a pick six. The Dolphins led 16-13 after a successful two-point conversion with 5:02 to play in the opening quarter.

With 1:57 to play in the first, Charlie Dulany put Warner back in front with a five-yard touchdown run. It was set up by a 36-yard keeper from Cramer. The Monarchs opted to go for two this time, and got it, to take a 21-16 lead.

Deubrook Area bounced back immediately, to continue the trend of the quarter, with a 79-yard kick return by Rogness. This time the Dolphins two-point try was no good, but it still gave Deubrook Area the slight lead.

There were six lead changes in the first 12-minutes of the game.

End of the 1st Quarter: Deubrook Area 22 Warner 21

At the 8:46 mark in the half, Cramer hit Sauerwein for a 3-yard score. The duo connected again on the two-point attempt to give Warner a seven-point lead.

Eleven seconds later, Deubrook Area answered right back. They recovered an onside kick attempt, and then Landmark broke loose for a 52-yard touchdown run. The Dolphins regained the lead on the two-point try.

Warner’s next possession of offense did result in the first punt of the game as the Monarchs went three-and-out.

Deubrook Area hit big again two plays into their next drive when Vomacka hit Rogness for a 41-yard touchdown. This time their two-point try was no good, keeping it one score game.

The Monarchs got back to business following the big play by the Dolphins. They capped off an impressive drive with a one-yard sneak by Cramer. Warner this time opted to kick the extra point, which tied the game 36-36 with 2:37 to play in the half.

On the ensuing kickoff, Warner once again attempted the onside kick. This time, Sauerwein fell on the bouncing pigskin to give the Monarchs the ball again before the half. A 29-yard flea flicker pass from Cramer to Baum then got them close. A few plays later, Cramer dove forward for another a one-yard score. Despite the failed two-point try, this late half touchdown gave Warner the lead.

Halftime: Warner 42 Deubrook Area 36

The Monarchs got the ball to start the second half. They’d go 66-yards on the possession, which was finished by a two-yard touchdown run by Dulany. The two-point attempt extended Warner's lead to 14-points.

On the kickoff following the score, the ball fell short of the Deubrook Area returners, took a bounce back towards midfield, and was recovered by Sauerwein of the Monarchs. A minute-and-a-half later, Dulany scored again on the ground, this time from 11-yards out. With 7:10 to play in the third quarter, Warner extended its lead to 56-36 over the Dolphins.

Deubrook Area would successfully field the next kick, and they were glad they did as Rogness took it on a bounce and returned it 85-yards to the house.

The Dolphins defense then got a much-needed stop with the risk of the game getting out of hand. And Rogress would make the Monarchs pay on the punt return as he took it 65-yards to the end zone. The two-point conversion was no good, but the special teams score made it an 8-point, one score lead.

Deubrook Area’s positive vibes didn’t last long, though, as Cramer put together gains of 38-yards, and 28-yards, that led to a three-yard run into the end zone by Dulany. At the 3:37 mark in the third quarter, Warner held a 62-48 lead.

The Dolphins followed up the Monarch score with a three-and-out, and their first punt of the game, which put Warner into favorable position going into the fourth quarter.

End of the 3rd Quarter: Warner 62 Deubrook Area 48

Warner began to slow down the tempo in the final quarter. Faced with a third and long, the Monarchs pulled out a redirection screen that found 30-yards. This kept the drive going, but more importantly the clock. With 4:25 to play in the contest, Cramer scored on the ground from six-yards out, his fourth rushing touchdown. Cramer’s score gave Warner a 69-48 lead.

Deubrook Area was able to get a few first downs when they got the ball back, but the drive was spoiled by Cramer who intercepted a Vomacka pass. Two plays later, Baum put the exclamation point on it as he broke free for a 50-yard dash for six. Following the extra point, it made it 76-48.

Vomacka would connect with Jacob Jorenby for a 13-yard score before time expired on the Dolphins, but it was too little too late.

Final: Warner 76 Deubrook Area 54

Hunter Cramer finished 211-yards of rushing, 188-yards of passing, four rushing touchdowns, and a lone touchdown through the air. Charlie Dulany also had four rushing scores, on 89-yards rushing.

Outstanding Lineman: Preston Cavalier
Outstanding Back: Hunter Cramer
Joe Robbie MVP: Hunter Cramer

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.