22 Schools Have Defended Football Crowns in SD Prep History

It has been a couple of months since the prep football season concluded and with it some of the great performances in memory. With the new year started, it is proper to take a look back at some interesting facts about SD prep gridiron doings, past and lately.

In the 2011 SD High School championships, all the higher seeded teams won titles, including Waverly/South Shore in 9B, Canistota in 9A, Bridgewater/Emery/Ethan (11-1) in 9AA, Tri-Valley in 11B, Dell Rapids (11-1) in 11A and Roosevelt (11-1) in 11AA. Three teams finished the year undefeated, Tri-Valley (12-0), Canistota (12-0) and Waverly/South Shore (12-0). Two champions, BEE and Dell Rapids, had only one loss and that was to a titlists from another class. Dell Rapids lost to 11B's Tri-Valley, 21-14; while BEE fell to 9A's Canistot, 34-26. And, Roosevelt? They lost only to SF Washington, 34-29, in the final week of the regular season.

Dell Rapids in 11A and Bridgewater/Emery/Ethan in 9AA were the only two teams to defend titles although Canistota won its second straight crown, albeit in different classes (9B in 2010 and 9A in 2011). While Canistota may be "only" a two-time champion and not a defending titlist, it is the South Dakota school with the state's longest running winning streak of 24 games during a dominant two-year run. They have scored 1,297 points and allowed just 99 points in that span. In the playoffs, they rolled up a 446 to 14 margin.

Since the playoffs started in 1981, a defending champion has repeated 25 times, involving 22 schools. In 11AA, there have been six two-time champs but no team has won three straight crowns.

Winning three straight prep championships has happened in every South Dakota class except AA. Seven times, a team has won three or more titles in those classes. The longest run was West Central with six straight titles in 11A from 2000-05. The Trojans were also a three-time champ from 1996-1998 in 11A. The other three-time champs included Vermillion, 1990-92 in 11A; Hamlin, 1989-91 in 11B; Hanson, 2008 to 2010 in 9A and 9B; Freeman, 1997-99 in 9A; and Tripp, 1983-85 in 9B. Hanson was the only team that wasn't a three-time winner in the same class. They won two straight in 9A and the 2008 title in 9B.

Here is the list of the teams that successfully defended crowns (schools and head coach):

11AA -- SF Washington, 2009, 2010, Brian Hermansen; Sioux Falls Roosevelt, 2006, 2007, Brent DeBoer;  SF O'Gorman, 2004, 2005 and 1985, 1986, Steve Keuter; Yankton, 1994, Max Hawk, and 1995, Jim Miner; Brandon Valley, 1989, 1990, Mike Klinedinst.

11A -- Dell Rapids, 2010, 2011, Steve Hansen; West Central, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, and 1996, 1997 and 1998, Jim Uttecht; Vermillion, 1990, 1991, 1992, Gary Culver; Brandon Valley, 1984, 1985, Mike Klinedinst.

11B -- Tri Valley, 2007, 2008, Brad McDonald; Aberdeen Roncalli, 2005, 2006, Terry Dosch; Bon Homme, 1994, 1995, Russ Morrell; Hamlin,  1989, 1990, 1991, Arlin Likness.

9AA -- Bridgewater/Emery/Ethan, 2010, 2011, Jeff Van Leuer; Arlington, 2004. 2005, Steve Gilbertson; Stickney/Mt. Vernon, 1999, 2000, Myron Steffen.

9A -- Hanson, 2008 (Class 9B), 2009, 2010, Jim Haskamp; Scotland, 2006, 2007, Bob Graham; Freeman, 1997, 1998, 1999, Jim Aisenbrey; Garretson, 1990, 1991, Clarence Kooistra; Montrose, 1983, 1984, Dan Thelen.

9B -- Kimball, 2003, 2004, Dale Taylor; Tripp, 1983, 1984, 1985, Steve Entringer.

In history, three coaches have led teams to consecutive titles two different times. They include Mike Klinedinst of Brandon Valley, who is the only playoff era coach to lead a team to consecutive crowns in two different classes (1989, 1990, AA; 1984, 1985, A). Steve Keuter of O'Gorman is the only AA coach to lead a team to back-to-back titles (1984, 1985, 2005, 2006, AA). Jim Uttecht of West Central is the only coach in SD prep playoff history to lead a team to three straight crowns on two different occasions. His 11A teams won three straight from 1997-99 and a six in a row from 2000-05, which remains the longest championship run in any class during the playoff era.

Career Prep Notes

Schultz Concludes One of the Great Careers in Prep History
Alex Schultz of Sioux Falls Lincoln led the Patriots to an 8-3 season and concluded one of the greatest prep careers in SD history. While a state title wasn’t in the mix, Schultz nonetheless opened it up and continually showed poise under fire. Twice the senior quarterback led the Patriots to come-from-behind wins, including a 37-36 victory over SF Washington, which ended the Warriors' 27-game winning streak. 
Later in the seaon (regular season finale), he operated in the clutch in a 29-28 win over SF O'Gorman, which clinched the #1 playoff seed for Aaron Beavers' Patriots. He was also involved in a 50-49 loss to Mitchell. Schultz, who averaged 271.9 passing yards per game in 2011 (2,991 yards, 36 TDs), directed a Patriots offense that averaged an AA-best 44.18 points per game.   He finished his career with 482 completions in 861 attempts for 6,782 yards and 65 TDs, all totals that rank among the best-ever. I believe he is only the second SD prep QB ever (Austin Sumner of Brandon Valley) with consecutive passing yard totals of 2,950 or more.

Greenways Produce Over 4K in Rushing Yards
Mitchell, SD, prep football fans will long remember the contributions of Justin and Jason Greenway, standouts in wrestling, football and track and field. This past fall, the Greenway twins completed their football careers while lead the Kernels to the second round of the playoffs. In their stellar careers, the Greenways had a combined 530 carries for 4,035 yards and 42 TDs on the ground. They also ha registered a combined 67 receptions for 910 yards and six TDs. In total they accounted for 60 TDs and 4,945 yards of total offense. The Greenways also accumulated 199 tackles, seven interceptions and eight blocked kicks on defense and special teams.

In his career, Jason Greenway finished with 388 carries for 2,874 yards and rushed for 29 TDs. Greenway had a total of 37 TDs, including seven on special teams/defense. He finished with 26 receptions for 252 yards and a TD. He also had 91 tackles, four interceptions, six blocked kicks and three fumble recoveries. His brother Justin finished with 142 carries for 1,161 yards rushing and 13 TDs while catching 41 passes for 658 yards and five TDs along with five return/defensive TDs. He also had 118 tackles and three interceptions. Canistota's Hofer Ends Career One of Best Ever in 9-man
Troy Hofer, who led Canistota to back-to-back state football titles in two classes (9B, 9A), concluded his career with 39 TDs and 2,428 rushing yards. In the past two seasons, Hofer recorded 197 tackles (89, 108), five sacks, seven fumble recoveries, and an interception.

Nelson Goes over 3K for a Career
Brycen Nelson of Brookings recorded his second straight 1,000 yard season (1,309, 2010; 1,430 in 2011) and finished his career with 3,318 yards. He also had a single-game best and AA record of 338 yards vs. Aberdeen Central last year.

Steffl Goes over 2,600 For Career
Sam Steffl of O'Gorman had 453 carries for 2,663 yards and 32 TDs during his career at O'Gorman. He led the Knights to the semifinals this past fall and to the championship game a year ago. Steffl is just the second O’Gorman player with consecutive 1,000-yard seasons (Josh Mahoney, 2003-04). He also finished second (by 13 yards) to Danny Isaacson for the O’Gorman all-time career rushing yardage mark (2,676).

Three SD Receivers Reach 2K in 2011
This season in South Dakota prep football, three receivers surpassed 2,000 career yards, including two from the same team. Trey Naasz and Josh Kunzman both of SF Lincoln surpassed the mark as did Tyson Zemlicka of Waverly/South Shore. Interestingly, Zemlicka and Naasz passed 2K on the same night.

Naasz and Kunzman Roll Up Over 300 Receptions and 51 TDs As Combo
Lincoln's dynamic duo of receivers, Trey Naasz and Josh Kunzman completed their careers this fall as one of the best-ever in SD prep circles. This past fall the Kunzman-Naasz combo combined for 126 catches for 1,869 yards and 24 TDs. Kunzman finished his career with 128 receptions for 2,210 yards and 24 TDs. Naasz had a state-record 199 receptions for 2,397 yards with 27 TDs. Together the Naasz/Kunzman combo had 327 catches, 4,607 yards and 51 TDs in their careers at Lincoln.


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