605 Life: Can’t miss football games
Each autumn weekend brings a bevy of football action, more than even the fiercest fan can take in.
Be it high school games on Friday nights, college showdowns throughout Saturdays or the National Football League battles from noon until night on Sundays, football fills the fall air. And while you can watch on TV, getting out to catch a game — and some popcorn and the band — in person is a great way to spend a few hours.
That said, here are a handful of games from the region that might be worth your time as the season rolls along.
Friday: Yankton at Aberdeen Central, 7 p.m., Swisher Field, Aberdeen
The Golden Eagles have looked good early this season, losing a close game to Class 11AAA power Sioux Falls Washington and defeating Brookings handily, 28-12. Eastern South Dakota Conference rival Yankton will be a good measuring stick for the Eagles.
Central quarterback Jacob Goehring passed for three touchdowns — two to receiver Anthony Buechler — against the Bobcats.
Sept. 27: Potter County vs. Herreid-Selby, 7 p.m., at Selby
This Yellowstone Trail Conference showdown is a battle of teams that had, coming into the weekend, claimed two of the top three spots in the Class 9A football poll.
Potter County got off to a 2-0 start to the season following an impressive win over Sully Buttes last week and put up some big rushing numbers while doing so.
But Dakota Thorstenson, a 6-foot-6, 215-pound tight end/defensive end for the Wolverines, poses problems for just about any opponent. Herreid-Selby finished the regular season undefeated last fall, losing in the semifinals of the playoffs, and returns plenty of talent.
Sept. 28: Trinity Bible College vs. Presentation College, 1 p.m., Swisher Field
Geography has forged a rivalry between the two private schools, one that the Saints have had the upper hand in more times than not. However, the Lions downed Presentation 39-13 the last time they visited Aberdeen. That meeting, in 2011, was the first football game in the brief history of the Saints program. PC took revenge with a lopsided win last season in Ellendale, N.D.
In a season-opening win against Luther College, the Saints rallied from a 14-point deficit. Special teams helped the cause, blocking one field goal, forcing a miss at the end of the game and recovering a botched punt to set up a touchdown.
Oct. 4: Sisseton vs. Aberdeen Roncalli, 7 p.m., Swisher Field
While still a couple of weeks off, this game could have implications in the Northeast Conference football race. And it will be vital for Sisseton, which let a late lead slip away by giving up 17 points in the final three minutes of last weekend’s game against Redfield-Doland.
Meanwhile, the Cavaliers are the top-ranked team in Class 11B, opening the season with victories over Redfield-Doland and Groton. Roncalli appears to be well-balanced, scoring on the ground, in the air and on defense. Quarterback Zach Lundquist poses a passing threat that many smaller 11-man schools simply can’t match.
Oct. 5: Minnesota State University, Moorhead vs. Northern State University, 2:30 p.m., Swisher Field
If NSU’s season-opening, triple-overtime victory over Wayne State is any indication, the Wolves are going to be a lot of fun to watch this season. Plus, it’s Gypsy Day, and the annual homecoming game always comes with extra fanfare. After the morning parade, head out to Swisher Field and tailgate before kickoff.
It took the Wolves until after halftime to get their offense going against Wayne. They’ll have to be more consistent to find continued success in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference.
Oct. 18: Parkston vs. Redfield-Doland, 7 p.m., at Redfield
Perennial Class 11B power Parkston comes north to take on the Pheasants in a non-conference game that gives local fans a chance to check out a team from another part of the state. The Trojans opened the season with victories over Groton and Canton and are ranked in the top five.
For its part, Redfield-Doland has proven it can put some points on the board, tallying 20 against Roncalli and scoring three touchdowns in three minutes against Sisseton. In that game, the Pheasants rushed for 368 yards with both Landon Rohlfs and Jake Baloun topping 100 yards.
Oct. 24: Langford Area vs. Leola-Frederick, 7 p.m., at Frederick
Leola-Frederick, ranked in the Class 9A poll, has earned a reputation as one of the tougher teams in the class. Keep an eye on Derrick Podoll, who did a little bit of everything for the Titans a week ago. He returned an interception for a touchdown, tackled an opposing rusher in the end zone for a safety and hauled in two two-point conversions.
Langford Area, meanwhile, racked up 290 rushing yards in a win over Northwestern. Drew Planteen accounted for 199 of those yards and scored two touchdowns.
Nov. 16: South Dakota State University vs. University of South Dakota, 1 p.m., Dakotadome, at Vermillion
You’ll either have to scalp or bum a ticket or watch this Missouri Valley Football Conference clash on television, because the 9,000 or so tickets for this rivalry sold out in about two days.
It’s the first battle between the teams in Vermillion since 2003. The Coyotes will be looking for revenge as SDSU scored 21 early points and coasted to an easy 31-8 victory last year in Brookings as the rivalry renewed after a nine-year hiatus.
The Jacks are led by junior running back Zach Zenner, who rushed for more than 2,000 yards last season.