Pierre wins seventh straight title in dominating fashion
For the seventh straight year, the Pierre Governors have won a state football championship. They defeated Yankton 35-7 on Friday night in Vermillion in front of a strong crowd at the Dakota Dome.
The Governors are the first program in state history to win seven in a row. West Central won six straight from 2000-2005.
“It’s a crazy feeling,” said Pierre head football coach Steve Steele. “I don’t know if we realize what it is right now. I’m just so dang proud of these guys for the win tonight.”
There were a few questions about this year’s Governors squad after the departure of standout quarterback Lincoln Kienholz, but once again Pierre showed up on the state’s biggest stage with electrifying offense, strong defense, and an all-around intense demeanor.
“This team wasn’t a team of individuals. We had a group of guys that just wanted to win. They did everything and anything they could to do that,” stated coach Steele. “I think you got to see a little different side of Pierre with a lot more creativity, a lot more flexibility, spreading the ball all over the place, and people that can do a lot of things.”
The Governors got the ball to start the title game. They’d grab one first down on the opening drive, but nothing more. The Bucks would get two first downs on their first offensive possession, but that too ended in a punt.
Pierre would go three-and-out on their second drive, but on the punt, Connor Slaba dropped the ball on the fair catch, which was recovered by Trey Lewis of the Governors. A few minutes later, Lewis followed up the recovery with seven-yard spinning touchdown run. This gave Pierre a 7-0 lead late in the first quarter.
End of the 1st Quarter: Pierre 7 Yankton 0
The Bucks were unable to answer, and had to give it back to the Governors, but on the punt, it took a favorable roll that pinned Pierre up against their own goal line. On the first down play, Jett Zabel hit Cade Kaiser for a 99-yard touchdown to break the state 11-man championship game record for longest pass. The previous record of 92-yards was set last year by Lincoln Kienholz to Jack Merkwan, also from Pierre. Zabel’s connection to Kaiser put the Governors up 14-0.
Yankton’s offense would continue its struggles as they were forced into another three-and-out. Pierre would score again on their next possession as well when Lewis capped off a 63-yard drive with a two-yard run.
With 22-seconds left in the half, the Governors would score one more time. Kaiser hit George Stalley for a 37-yard touchdown.
Halftime: Pierre 28 Yankton 0
The Bucks got the ball first in the second half, but two plays in, disaster struck. Lucas Kampshoff threw across his body to Austin Gobel, and it was intercepted by Spencer Easland. A couple plays later Kaiser his Zabel for a 23-yard touchdown. This implemented the running clock due to the deficit hitting 35-points.
On Yankton’s next possession, Kampshoff threw across his body again, which results in another interception. This time, the pick was made by Carson Stoeser. The Governors couldn’t find success following the turnover, and had to punt it back to the Bucks.
End of the 3rd Quarter: Pierre 35 Yankton 0
Yankton finally found the end zone 90-seconds into the fourth quarter when Kampshoff hit Carson Ness for a 13-yard touchdown.
Both teams would each get one more possession before the time ran out, but no more points would be scored.
Final: Pierre 35 Yankton 7
Pierre was led by a trio of playmakers in the contest. Cade Kaiser finished with 78-yards passing and two passing touchdowns. Jett Zabel threw for 107-yards and one touchdown. He also caught a touchdown with 29-receiving yards. Trey Lewis had two rushing scores with 102-yards on the ground.
Lucas Kampshoff threw for 171-yards and a touchdown for Yankton.
Outstanding Back: Cade Kaiser
Outstanding Lineman: Matthew Brewer
Joe Robbie MVP: Trey Lewis