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Begeman powers Class 9B all-state football squad

Herreid/Selby Area’s Brenden Begeman, left, runs for a touchdown past Britton-Hecla’s Dashel Davidson, back right, during a game earlier this season at Dacotah Bank Stadium. Begeman was chosen as the All-American selection on the Class 9B all-state team. Photo by John Davis taken 10/14/2022

The Class 9B all-state football team is highlighted by Brenden Begeman who earned the All-American designation. The senior and South Dakota State recruit broke the state’s all-time career rushing record on the final carry of his prep career and finished with 6,807 yards.

State champion Hitchcock-Tulare has six members on the all-state squad, while state runner-up Herreid-Selby Area has five on the honor unit.

Hitchcock-Tulare has three players on offense and three others on defense. Representing the Patriots on offense are junior running back Erik Salmen, senior receiver Landon Puffer (who was selected as Outstanding Back in the championship victory), and senior lineman Jacob Michlitsch (the Outstanding Lineman in the title contest).

Those on the defensive side of the ball from Hitchcock-Tulare are senior lineman TJ Salmen, senior linebacker Carter Binger (the state championship game MVP), and defensive back Brendan Nowell (who had a 98-yard pick six in the title contest).

Herreid-Selby, which featured one of the most potent offenses in the nine-man ranks, has four players on the all-state offense. Representing the Wolverines are senior quarterback Tray Hettick, running back Begeman, junior tight end Trevor Gill, and junior lineman Collin Tisdall. Herreid-Selby Area senior Hunter Friend was chosen as a defensive lineman.

Other all-state selections from the area include Faulkton’s Roman Dimaria who made the team as a wide receiver, and Potter County senior Alex Tanner who was selected as a linebacker.

Begeman left a huge mark on high school exiting as the all-time leader rushing in state history. He rushed for 2,976 yards and 42 touchdowns, and had 385 yards receiving and 7 more TDs this season. He concluded his career with 6,807 yards rushing and 103 touchdowns. “Dynamic playmaker everywhere on the football field,” said Wolverines coach Clayton Randall. “He had 24 career interceptions and over 100 career TD’s.”

Hettick capped a memorable career with 2,188 yards passing and 27 touchdowns this past season. He also rushed for 547 yards and 5 more TDs. He finished with more than 5,000 yards passing and 80 touchdowns. “Awesome leader at the QB position. Great stats, but most importantly a team-first guy who is a winner,” Randall said. “He had a 33-4 career record as a starter. He has a lot of skills, but his best skill is the ability to lead our team. A true pocket passing QB.”

Gill had 1,150 yards and 14 touchdowns as a tight end this past season. He finished his career with 1,543 yards and 22 TDs. “Trevor has developed into a nice TE,” Randall said. “He was the main blocker in our run game and had great production to stretch the defense for teams trying to load the box. He is a nice target at 6’2 with good speed.”

Herreid-Selby Area’s Trevor Gill, left, runs with the ball as Hitchcock-Tulare’s Cameron Noethlich, right, gives chase during the Class 9B championship game at the DakotaDome in Vermillion. Photo by John Davis taken 11/10/2022

Tisdal played a key role for one the most potent offenses in nine-man football. “We have rushed for over 335 yards per game and most of it is behind him,” Randall said. “Collin gets after it on the OL. Good footwork and hips. He can make all the blocks needed to run the football: base, trap, pull. He does it with a motor.”

Friend, a three-year starter, was a playmaker on defense for the Wolverines. He had 37 tackles, 7 sacks, four tackles for loss, forced two fumbles and recovered one this past season. “Hunter is a solid DE/DT player on the edge of our 3 front,” Randall said. “He has great size and moves well. He made a lot of big plays this season.”

Just a junior, Erik Salmen played a key role in the Patriots’ run to 9B state championship. He rushed for 1,049 yards and 17 touchdowns, and had 158 yards receiving and a TD this past season. He has 2,146 yards rushing and 32 touchowns and 189 yards receiving and 2 TDs with another year remaining. “Erik is a great player, good quiet leader, strong and tough to bring down,” said Hitchcock-Tulare coach Tom Salmen. “Over half of our games were done at halftime, otherwise he would have had a lot more yards.”

Binger, who accounted for more than 370 yards and 5 touchdowns in the 9B title game, had 47.5 tackles, 31 solo stops, 2 sacks, 4 interceptions including 1 for a TD, and recovered a fumble this past season. “Carter does a tremendous job for us as an outside backer,” Coach Salmen said. “He is second leading tackler and makes plays all over the field.”

Michlitsch had a major impact for one of the top scoring offenses in the nine-man ranks. “Jacob is very strong and moves well for his body size,” Coach Salmen said. “He is knowledgeable in the game of football and what we want to accomplish on the field.”

Playmaker sums up what Puffer was this past season. He rushed for 179 yards and 4 touchdowns, had 742 yards receiving and 16 touchdowns, and returned three punts for touchdowns in a single game. He finished his career with 279 yards rushing and 6 TDs, and 1,155 yards receiving and 21 more touchdowns. “Landon is a heck of an athlete,” Coach Salmen said. “He is fast, tough to bring down and has great hands.”

Hitchcock-Tulare’s Landon Puffer, left, looks over at teammate Carter Binger, right, as Puffer runs in the open on his way to a touchdown during the Class 9B championship game against Herreid-/Selby Area at the DakotaDome in Vermillion. Photo by John Davis taken 11/10/2022

Teams soon found out where 6-foot-7 TJ Salmen was at on the field. He had 61.5 tackles, 49 solo stops, 11.5 sacks, 17.5 tackles for loss and recovered 5 fumbles this past season. He finished his career with 120.5 tackles, 100 solo tackles, 18 sacks, 34.5 for loss, and 6 fumble recoveries. “TJ did a great job for us. He is athletic and moves well for his size,” Coach Salmen said. “He was double teamed quite a bit or I am certain he would have more sacks. Teams definitely have to account for him.”

Nowell was a ball-hawking factor for the Patriots. He had 9 interceptions (one for a TD), 20 tackles, 15 solo stops and recovered a fumble this past season. “Brendan works very hard,” Coach Salmen said. “He finds himself around the ball, and has good speed.”

Dimaria had the ability to take the top off of defenses with his speed. He had 907 yards receiving with 11 touchdowns, and also ran for 108 yards and 2 more TDs. He racked up 1,167 yards receiving (14.8 per catch) and 16 touchdowns in his career. “Roman is a very explosive receiver. We did what we could to try to get the ball in his hands through the air,” said Faulkton coach Shayne Geditz. “He runs good routes and can make the tough catch. He had the ability to score any time he touched the ball.”

Tanner brought traffic to a halt for the Battlers this season. He had 79 solo tackles, 48 assists, 2 sacks, an interception for a TD and a fumble recovery. He also had 290 yards rushing with 2 touchdowns, and 271 yards receiving and a pair of TDs. The past two years Tanner had 140 solo tackles and 102 assists. “Alex drew a lot of attention from opposing teams blockers this season, but was still able to lead the Battlers in tackles,” said Potter County coach Vern Smith. “He was always around the play and would make tackles from sideline to sideline.”

Faulkton’s Roman DiMaria (24) returns a kick-off as Warner’s Ashton Schuchhardt (40) closes in on defense during a game at the Lake Region Conference Football Classic this past season at Dacotah Bank Stadium. Photo by John Davis taken 9/23/2022

Area honorable mention selections are Ryder Falkenhagen of Potter County and Nathan Bradford of Herreid-Selby Area.

Falkenhagen had 368 yards receiving and 5 TD’s, and also ran for 113 yards and 3 touchdowns. “Ryder brings great athleticism to the Battlers with his speed, jumping ability and good hands,” said PC coach Vern Smithy, “but his biggest strength as a wide receiver is his ability to get open by running excellent routes.”

Bradford had 94 tackles, 5 sacks, 8 tackles for loss, forced 3 fumbles and recovered 3 fumbles this season. “Nathan plays with a motor, sideline to sideline with relentless effort,” said Wolverines coach Clayton Randall.

Here is the complete 9B list:

Offense — QB: Tray Hettick, Herreid-Selby Area, sr.; FB/HB: Reece Ohrtmann, Kadoka Area, sr.; RBs: Brenden Begeman, Herreid-Selby Area, sr.; Eril Salmen, Hitchcock-Tulare, jr.; and Nic Gaspar, Dell Rapids St. Mary, jr. WRs: Landon Puffer, Hitchcock-Tulare, sr. and Roman Dimaria, Faulkton Area, sr.; TE: Trevor Gill, Herreid-Selby Area, jr.; OL: Damon Wilkinson, De Smet, sr.; Kley Heumiller, Avon, sr.; Jacob Michlitsch, Hitchcock-Tulare, sr.; and Collin Tisdall, Herreid-Selby Area, sr.

Hitchcock-Tulare’s Erik Salmen, left, looks for room to run behind the block of teammate Jackson Maynard, right, on Herreid/Selby Area’s Collin Tisdall, back right as Darion Barker (12) moves in during this year’s Class 9B championship game at the DakotaDome in Vermillion. Photo by John Davis taken 11/10/2022

Defense — Gabriel Lindeman, Dell Rapids St. Mary, sr.; Thomas John (TJ) Salmen, Hitchcock-Tulare, sr.; Hunter Friend, Herreid-Selby Area, sr.; and Lucas Krogstad, Corsica-Stickney, sr. LBs: Carter Binger, Hitchcock-Tulare, sr.; Dashel Spurrell, Irene-Wakonda, sr.; Landon Hepker, Sully Buttes, sr.; and Alex Tanner, Potter County, sr. DBs: Brendan Nowell, Hitchcock-Tulare, jr.; Gabriel Fauske, Kadoka Area, sr.; and Kadyn Fast, De Smet, jr.

Athletes — Miles Pollman, Irene-Wakonda, sr. and Dylan Zell, De Smet, sr.

Special Teams Players — Brad Bierema, Avon, sr. and CJ Smith, Dell Rapids St. Mary, sr.

Honorable Mention — Clay Broderson, Miles Pollman and Chase Dahlerup, Irene-Wakonda, srs. and Jens Hansen, Irene-Wakonda, so.; Cole Knuppe, New Underwood, sr.; Ryder Falkenhagen, Potter County, jr.; Reese Voorhees, Sully Buttes sr.; Nathan Bradford, Herreid-Selby Area, sr.; and Noah Harrison, De Smet, sr.

Potter County’s Alex Tanner, left and Cooper Logan, center, push Dell Rapid St. Mary’s Luca Flemmer, right, backwards during last year’s Class 9B Championship game at the DakotaDome in Vermillion. Photo by John Davis taken 11/11/2021

All-American — Begeman.

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