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Tea Area pulls away from Aberdeen Central

Aberdeen Central’s Cooper Eisenbeisz, left, looks to move up field after shaking the tackle attempt of Pierre’s Carson Stoeser, bottom right, during last week's game at the Brownell Activities Complex. Eisenbeisz scored on a 92-yard touchdown pass Friday night at Tea. Photo by John Davis taken 8/25/2023

TEA – The Aberdeen Central football team did not find much room to work with on Friday night.

The Golden Eagles tallied less than 100 total yards as second-rated Tea Area earned a 28-7 Eastern South Dakota Conference win.

Central struggled to win the line of scrimmage for most of the night, as the Titans were consistently getting into the backfield, putting pressure on quarterback Parker Lemer, as well as stopping the Golden Eagles’ ground attack.

Central coach Justin Briese said the team’s attempts to run the ball were thwarted by the Titan defense.

“It’s always tough when teams know we want to run the ball and they put eight or nine guys in the box,” Briese said. “It’s one of those (things) where you’ve got to find a way to do it.”

Tea Area struck first in the opening quarter on a 12-yard touchdown run by quarterback Brenner Konrad, putting the Golden Eagles in an early 7-0 hole.

“They got set up right away with a good kickoff return, which put them in good field position” Briese said. “Playing on a short field was tough to start the game.”

A pivotal moment came in the second quarter when the Titans drove deep into Central territory, taking the ball down to the Golden Eagle two-yard line. But the Central defense stood tall, forcing a turnover on downs, and giving the team new life.

“That was huge. That was a big momentum builder for us,” Briese said. “Our defense did a great job all night of stopping them on third and long, and fourth down.”

Immediately, Lemer took a risk, tossing a pass down the sideline to Cooper Eisenbeisz, who caught the ball in stride and streaked down the sideline for a 98-yard touchdown, tying the game at seven apiece.

“It’s one of those where teams will be backed up at the goal line and they’re going to look to run the ball a couple of times to get some breathing room,” Briese said. “We noticed that their corners were playing all night man-to-man and we had a pretty good matchup with Cooper Eisenbeisz, and he was able to get up over the top of them.”

Unfortunately for the Golden Eagles, the big play accounted for most of the total offense for the night as  Central ended up with 95 total yards. Lemer finished with 125 yards passing.

While the Central passing game came up with the big play, the rushing attack struggled to gain any ground. The Golden Eagles finished with minus 30 yards rushing, while Tea Area totaled 430 rushing yards.

Despite giving up a large number of rushing yards, Briese was pleased with how the defense performed.

“The defense did a great job all night of bending and not breaking a whole lot,” Briese said.

Tea Area added another touchdown in the second quarter, as Konrad threw a 12-yard pass to Dawson Eimers, giving the Titans a 14-7 lead heading into intermission. The Titans would add touchdowns by Konrad and Tyler Rhead in the fourth quarter to put the game out of reach and handing Central its second loss of the season.

The Golden Eagles will now look to rebound next Saturday at home against Sturgis. Kick-off is set for 5 p.m.

Briese said that one noticeable thing needs to change.

“We’re going to have to be able to run the ball,” he said. “It’s plain and simple.”

Aberdeen Central (0-2) 0 7 0 0 – 7

Tea Area (2-0) 7 7 0 14 – 28

Tea – Brenner Konrad 12 run (Carson Hall kick)

AC – Cooper Eisenbeisz 98 pass from Parker Lemer (Joey Dallman kick)

Tea – Brenner Konrad 12 pass from Dawson Eimers (Hall kick)

Tea – Brenner Konrad 8 run (Hall kick)

Tea – Tyler Rhead 34 run (Hall kick)

OFFENSE: Aberdeen Central rushing 19-minus 30, passing 5-14-1 for 125 (Parker Lemer 5-14-1 for 125), receiving (Cooper Eisenbeisz 1-98, Avery Ligon 1-16), first downs 3; Tea Area rushing 51-430 (Keegan DeYoung 13-151, Brenner Konrad 17-134, Tyler Rhead 10-90, Riley Svanda 9-57), passing 4-13 for 32 (Brenner Konrad 4-13 for 32), receiving (Riley Svanda 3-20, Dawson Eimers 1-12), first downs 20.

DEFENSE: Aberdeen Central, Tate Huff 12 tackles, Bodey Tracy 11 tackles 1 sack, Cordel Rychlik 8 tackles, Felipe Gonzalez 6 tackles; Tea Area, Keegan DeYoung 8 tackles 4.5 tackles for loss, Carter Turek 4 tackles 1.5 sacks, Jessen Wiebenga 4 tackles 2.5 tackles for loss, Sam Werdel 4 tackles, Riley Svanda 1 interception.

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