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Herreid-Selby Area hosts De Smet in battle of unbeatens

Herreid/Selby Area’s Trevor Sayler, center, stretches the ball in an attempt to score as Ipswich’s Carter Geditz, right, defends during a game earlier this season at Dacotah Bank Stadium. Herreid-Selby Area hosts De Smet in the semifinals on Friday in Selby. Photo by John Davis taken 9/24/2021

SELBY – There is a battle brewing on the prairie this weekend.

It will take place Friday night in Selby where top-seeded Herreid-Selby Area hosts top-rated De Smet in the semifinals of the Class 9A football playoffs.

“Our kids are excited. This is something we’ve been working for for the last two years,” said HSA coach Clayton Randall. “We came up short in the finals two years ago. Last year we came up short in the semis. Our goal for our kids has been find a way to win the last game.”

Something will have to give in this one as both teams enter the game undefeated and have dominated most of their opponents all season. In fact, both teams feature many of the same key attributes from speed to power.

“You look up and down their roster, not only are there athletes that you’re familiar with from other sports, but their size, they’re 6-2, 6-3 all the way up to 6-9, and 200 pounds all the way up to 260,” Randall said. “It’s kind of like looking in a mirror. They’re good up front. They’ve got athletes at quarterback, receiver and running back. They’re just a well-rounded nine-man football team.”

Most people know about De Smet standout Kalen Garry. He led the Bulldogs to the Class B state basketball championship last spring and is a key member of the football team as well.

“You see him excel in football, basketball and track, and you have to believe that he’s an ultimate competitor,” Randall said. “He wants to put a state football championship on his resume to go with that basketball one.”

Meanwhile, the Wolverines will counter with their offensive workhorse Brenden Begeman who scored four touchdowns in a quarterfinal win over Castlewood last week.

Randall believes the key to the contest lies in the trenches where both teams figure to have their hands full with the other.

“Both teams have tremendous athletes,” Randall said. “They key is going to be which team can win the line of scrimmage up front, which is going to allow those athletes to showcase their skills.”

Randall told his players that all of the highly successful teams, whether college or professional have something in common: the ability to slow down the opposition and limit scoring. He figures that will be the case against De Smet.

“I don’t think either team is going to stop either offense, but we have to find a way to get some stops defensively if we’re going to be in the game,” Randall said.

And that means more than just on defense.

“They score a lot of points on special teams,” Randall said. “We’re going to have to be really sharp in all three phrases of the game to be in it.”

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