Head Coach: Daniel Aaker | Class 11B; Region 4 | ADM: 191 students (grades 9-11)

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14 - 31 vs Mobridge-Pollock View Season

Season Record:

9 - 2 1 games remaining  

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Sod Buzzard

44 Minutes A Game Is Not

Posted: 2010-11-08 21:28:16
75 degrees and no wind†are normally weather conditions reserved for dome games under the grain bin roof of the DakotaDome, but that is what all of South Dakota was blessed with for semifinal Saturday.† Incredible.† Under absolutely perfect conditions at Not Harvey Naasz Field, two of 11B's top teams slugged it out. For 44 minutes, the Winner Warriors hung with the dome bound Mobridge-Pollock Tigers, but that's 4 minutes short of a bus trip east.††† In the end a very athletic Tiger team ran through arm tackles and rode the momentum to a victory.† The Tigers are the only team to hand Winner a loss on their home field since Belle Fourche in the first game of the 2008 season.† These Tigers did it twice this year.††

Nothing fancy.† Few passes.† Just a lot of nice gains on first down and the ability to bust out the big play when needed.† With the score tied 14 all, Winner held on a 3rd and goal situation, and Mobridge elected to kick a short field goal to take the lead.† The Warriors took over and could not convert.† On a 2nd and 20, Jesse Deinert went off right tackle and broke several tackles and busted loose for a 65 yard TD run.† Winner took over with about 2 to go and went out on downs.† Mobridge-Pollock added another TD on a 4th and 6 situation with under a minute where the Tigers QB just didn't go down and found the end zone again.† Hats off to the Tigers for a solid showing.† They have a big strong line that dominated in this game and took the Winner ground game away.† Winner had some chances, especially in the 2nd quarter, but it didn't materialize.††

That said, it was a great year.† This team spent the whole season being the one on the schedule that their opponents wanted to win.† They got the best of them all year long and came from behind to win a couple big games.† The loss of four all state players was abosrbed by young men who stepped into their roles and gave it their best.† The Warriors†left the field disappointed no doubt, but knowing that it was all left there as well.† The cupboard isn't bare as†the†Warriors JV team was unbeaten, so†the tradition of football†in Winner looks to be in good hands.††

Fellas, nice job.† That should be a sentiment shared by many others in our communities.† These kids become heros overnight sometimes and go from being somebody's baby brother or big brother†to being front page news on the Saturday RC Journal.† They have zits, algebra tests, and can text faster than I can type.† They are kids.† Playing a game for kids.† We enjoy talking about this stuff and sports keeps communities alive, but let's not forget that it's a game.† The sun came up without any problems in Winner Sunday morning.† Gloriously, to be real honest.† I hope these kids who played football this fall have the wonderfuil memories that I and so many others did from our high school days.††

Along the sentiment of the link between sports and a community, this piece was submitted by a fan of SportsBuzzard from the western part of the state who we will call "Home on the Rangers."† He (or she) gave me these thoughts on the game Saturday night in Buffalo -†

Welcome to Harding County, South Dakota, population about 2000 tonight, a game night.† At the field you are greeted with a firm handshake. You don't want to bring a weak shake to these Ranchers it will be rejected harder than Dikembe Mutumbo in his glory days.†

Nostalgia runs wild with stories of the glory days and strangers become friends while hearing the teary eyed stories of Cory Ginsbach, the toils of their labor, and the pride they have in their team. An alumnus in Sioux Falls writes his elderly mom that he will be listening to the game, but he is more nervous for this game than he was as a player.†

The legend of Ryan Baier spreads like a wildfire around Ab Penn Field.†

"Did you hear that he was steer wrestling and he broke the steers neck!"†

Another old timer finishes the next part of the story by saying, "He felt terrible, his dad told him not to worry about it and to get back on†

that horse. He did, and he broke another steers neck!" Keep that kid away from me I think as I see the bowling ball with a neck roll tackle a kid in the open field.†

After the game, Jace Jenson smiles as people pat him on the back and compliment his two touchdown catches. When somebody asks if he is sore, he wrily replies, "Yeah, but dad is gonna make me work cows tomorrow so I better get over it." Jenson's shoes are missing some the legendary gold paint. People notice as he stands at the 50 yard line of the old cow pasture in Buffalo. It is part of the lore, the tradition; like Notre Dame painting their helmets gold; the Ranchers do so to their shoes. On this particular night they ran out of spray paint and Jenson sacrificed the gold for his teammates. Deep down he knows its not about the shoes, especially when you have hands and football saavy like he does. Padraic Duffy (writer for the journal) fights his way through the sea of Purple and Gold to find Austin Brown, the birthday boy. He looks like a Kenny G fan in the middle of a death metal mosh pit. Middle school kids swarming him and their favorite players even though they didn't see the game because they were too busy engaging in a game of their own in the end zone. One little kid exclaims that he is going to be the next Austin Brown. You don't realize how good Brown is because he makes all the throws look easy: the fade route, swing pass, and deep out with the flick of his wrist.†

There is a mass exodus to the local watering hole. Even the grumpy bartender seems pleased with the crowd. The rabid fans fall completely silent as the local sports come on. They cheer as they see Chek Giannonotti and Taz Olson rumbling for touchdowns. They go nuts as they see Jess Fiest return an interception for a 102 yard touchdown. Not many dry eyes in the #3 and absolutely nobody without smiles from ear to ear. Suddenly, the good old days don't seem so long ago. Will this be the second Rancher team to bring the title home?† †

The next day an elderly man that looks like an Ansel Adams painting with wrinkles in all the perfect parts of his face tells some people that he will not be making the trip to Vermillion. Looks like he will be the only person left in Buffalo on Thursday. Somebody has to watch the town. Good luck Ranchers!

Thanks Homie.†

To the Ranchers, my sincerest best of luck.† I hope all of us in the geographic area will pull for them on Thursday.† To the rest of the teams that came up short, such is life.† Things happen along the way, some good and some bad.† Some within our control, some not.† As in life, preparation is a great precursor to success.† Enjoy and cherish these times, they go by fast.† Take it easy a couple weeks, then let's get rolling on basketball and wrestling.†

In basketball, how about STM, Winner, White River, and Custer as early season contenders.† In wrestling, Stevens, Hot Springs, look to be tops in their classes, and maybe Sturgis will finally win a few matches.† (That's a joke, Clint Wilson.† No need to chicken wing a buzzard, now.)†Plenty of girls teams have high hopes as well.† It will be a fine winter season.

To my readers, thanks for your comments and thoughts when shared.† I'll address any thoughts you have.† The beauty of this blog is that our opinions can be shared.† There may be shred of sarcasm and humor twisted in, and we like to have fun.† Continue to share in that, and thanks for a great football season.†

Come Friday, letís get ready to welcome home a champion.†




2009 Regular Season Record:  8 wins 0 loss
2009 Playoffs:
Winner 59  Red Cloud 0
Winner 27 Mobridge-Pollock 7
Winner 13 Wagner 12 
Winner 12 Tri-Valley 6  (State 11B Championship)


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