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Howard runs past Herreid-Selby Area

Herreid/Selby Area’s Brenden Begeman, left, tries to get past Howard’s Karsyn Feldhaus, center and Taiden Hoyer, right, during Thursday’s Class 9A Championship game at the DakotaDome in Vermillion. Photo by John Davis taken 11/11/2021

VERMILLION – In a game where yards and points figured to be at a premium, Howard had no trouble producing either of them.

The Tigers dominated life up front on both sides of the ball and rolled to the Class 9A state football championship with a 55-18 victory over Herreid-Selby Area Thursday afternoon at the DakotaDome.

“I think our game plan was alright,” said Herreid-Selby Area coach Clayton Randall. “Sometimes guys are just better than you, and on this particular day they were better than us. We were not able to match them blow for blow.”

Howard set the tone from the opening whistle, scoring on a 65-yard run on its second play from scrimmage. While the Wolverines answered back and closed the gap to 7-6, they could not stop the Tigers rushing juggernaut.

Howard scored on its first eight possessions and racked up 409 yards on the ground. The Tigers also prevented the HSA running game to get untracked.

While Howard coach Pat Ruml said his team has had other solid games during the year, considering the circumstances it was tough to top the championship contest performance.

“It’s probably as good as you can play in a big game,” Ruml said, “I’ll tell you that.”

A trio of Tigers each ran for more than 100 yards in the contest, led by game MVP John Callies with 138 yards and three touchdowns.

Callies credited the line for opening up holes.

“Our linemen, they’re awesome. I couldn’t ask for a better set of linemen to be behind,” Callies said. “They’re some of the best linemen in the state in my opinion and they showed that today. Our holes were there and everything was there.”

That does not happen by accident. Solid line play has become a trademark of Howard football.

“We’re kind of known for offensive linemen getting off the ball,” Ruml said. “We really put an emphasis on that this week.”

Having solid linemen is one thing. Having runners who can hit the holes with breakaway speed is another.

“Coming in we knew they were fast, but it’s always different seeing it in real life,” said HSA senior lineman Chance Gregg. “They were fast and they did their job well.”

Griffin Clubb rushed for 115 yards and Ty Beyer 107, and each had two touchdowns for Howard. Many of the yards came between the tackles.

Randall knew the Tigers would be physical, but wasn’t expecting so many big plays.

“I won’t say they’re physicality surprised us, the big play did,” Randall said. “We were thinking 3-4-5 yards was going to be big plays and when they bust a 50-yard run on a double wing, that’s not what’s it built for.”

The setback marked the only loss of the season for the Wolverines and was difficult to swallow. It’s the second time in the past three years that the team has finished runner-up in the championship game.

“It hurts, but I’d do it all over again. It’s still worth it,” said Herreid-Selby Area senior Trey Sayler who finished with six tackles in his final game. “It hurts, but it was still worth it.”

Herreid/Selby Area’s Tray Hettick, center, gets hit by Howard’s Atticus Darnell, right, as Hettick pitches the ball to teammate Brenden Begeman, far left, during Thursday’s Class 9A Championship game at the DakotaDome in Vermillion. Photo by John Davis taken 11/11/2021

Tray Hettick passed for 238 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Wolverines. Brenden Begeman had 134 yards receiving and a pair of touchdowns, and also ran for 78 yards.

When asked what he will remember most about his playing days with Herreid-Selby Area, Gregg responded, “All the long bus rides, practices, hanging out in the summer, lifting, all of it.”

Randall was pleased with the way his team finished out the game, despite facing a large deficit. The Wolverines put together a more than nine minute drive to start the second half, capped by a touchdown when Hettick threw a three-yard pass to Begeman.

“I’m proud of our kids. The outcome might have been decided at half. We told our kids find some guts, have some pride, find a way to march the ball down the field and score for our fans. And they did that,” Randall said. “They’ve done everything we’ve asked them to honestly for four years. It hurts to come up short. It hurts because it matters. There’s a lot for this group of seniors to be proud of.”

Howard (12-0) 14 28 7 6 – 55

Herreid-Selby Area (12-1) 6 0 6 6 – 18

First Quarter

How – Ty Beyer 65 run (John Callies kick), 11:09.

HSA – Trevor Gill pass from Tray Hettick (run failed), 7:37.

How – Griffin Clubb 28 run (Callies kick), 5:05.

Second Quarter

How – Callies 11 run (Callies kick), 11:56.

How – Jace Sifore 58 pass from Taiden Hoyer (Callies kick), 7:55.

How – Callies 1 run (Callies kick), 4:27.

How – Clubb 24 run (Callies kick), 2:22.

Third Quarter

HSA – Brenden Begeman 3 pass from Hettick (pass failed), 2:38.

How – Callies 54 run (Callies kick), 1:49.

Fourth Quarter

How – Beyer 35 run (kick failed), 9:45.

HSA – Begeman 63 pass from Hettick (pass failed), 7:38.

OFFENSE: Howard rushing 36-409 (Calliles 13-138, Clubb 5-115, Beyer 4-107, Tate Miller 7-35), passing 1-2-0 for 58 (Hoyer 1-2-0 for 58), receiving (Sifore 1-58), first downs 18; Herreid-Selby Area rushing 32-70 (Begeman 22-78, Trey Sayler 6-11), passing 17-26-0 for 238 (Hettick 17-25-0 for 238), receiving (Begeman 8-134, Trevor Sayler 5-69, Trey Sayler 2-20, Gill 2-15), first downs 15.

DEFENSE: Howard, Beyer 15 tackles, Atticus Darnell 9 tackles, Sifore 9 tackles, Callies 6 tackles); Herreid-Selby Area, Trevor Sayler 6 tackles, Trey Sayler 6 tackles, Collin Tisdall 5 tackles, Darion Barker 3 tackles.

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