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Tim Weisensee and his state football connection

Michelle Weisensee

When O’Gorman and Lincoln meet in Vermillion on Saturday, they’ll be playing for the 11AAA title. But for Knights junior Tim Weisensee, and his family, the whole idea of playing for a state championship hits a little closer to home than most.

The name that most know when it comes to the legal side of adding a playoff system to high school football in South Dakota is Judge Robert C Heege. But there’s another name behind it, however – George Weisensee. He was the attorney that began working on a case to get a playoff format implemented. George is Tim Weisensee’s grandfather.

Michelle Weisensee

“I never got to meet him,” explained O’Gorman offensive lineman Tim Weisensee. “He died shortly after he did that. I’ve heard stories about him on how he helped with that.”

Judge Heege’s ruling came in February of ’81, but just a few months later in June of that year, George passed away. Prior to his death, he worked with his brother Tony on the legal filings for the case.

“It’s cool,” stated Tim. “Just knowing that none of it would have happened without him. It’s just weird that all the state championships that have come from that.”

Prior to the state playoff system, state champions were crowned by local media members and such, who essentially voted for who they thought was the most deserving.

O’Gorman has won nine state football championships in the playoff era. This weekend, they’ll be playing for their tenth.

“Multiple uncles of mine played in the early state championship games,” Tim told. “My brother (Will) is the most recent, in 2019 when they won it. He played in the state championship, and that was the only one that was at SDSU instead of the dome.”

Will (George's grandson) and Joe (George's son)
Will (George's grandson) and Joe (George's son)

For Tim, he’s excited to represent his school and play in the Dakota Dome.

“It feels good just knowing all the people who put on the [Knights] uniform, and what they’ve done for the program,” explained Tim. “It’s a cool building, so yeah, it’s going to be fun.”

Come game time, Tim will have his mind on other things, but right now, he’s appreciative of the opportunity to represent his family.

“It's special. It’s definitely a real moment,” he exclaimed. “I’m probably one of the last, if not the last, member of the family to play in one. It’s special to have the opportunity to play in the state championship.”

O’Gorman and Lincoln will play Saturday night from the Dakota Dome in Vermillion to decide the 11AAA state champion. The game will air live on SDPB1-TV at 7 pm CT.

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.