JAY DAVIS: Making predictions for the football season’s finale
The reshuffling and reseeding of the state football playoffs are done with the intention of getting the best teams on the field for the semifinal games and state championship games. That effect seems to have come to fruition this season as a five seed is the lowest seed left in any of the seven classes with the semifinals on tap for Friday and Saturday.
With only the best of the best remaining, this looks like a good time for me to pick the winners and losers of the semifinal games. There’s nothing like a chance to prove once again how little I really know.
Let’s start with Class 11B, where the only five seed in the tournament is still alive. It is a pretty good five seed. Canton defeated Aberdeen Roncalli 34-13 in Aberdeen on Monday. The semifinal games are Canton at top seed Winner and three seed Parkston at two seed St. Thomas More. Retired coach Jim Schlekeway told me a couple of weeks ago that Canton is going to win the whole thing. My buddy John Papendick over at the Aberdeen American News knew they were that good and went against his traditional picks to take Canton over Roncalli. I know little about Parkston except that their only loss was 14-7 to Winner, who turned around and beat St. Thomas More 30-13. Maybe a wise man would take both road teams, but I have a soft spot for the two teams that put whippings on our Mobridge-Pollock Tigers. So, I’ll take Winner and St. Thomas More to hold on at home and win their semifinal games.
Class 9AA features four 9-1 teams. Top seed Gregory lost to 9B two seed Avon. Bridgewater-Emery/Ethan lost to 9A top seed Howard. BEE has been through this a lot lately; I’ll take the Seahawks on the road. Arlington beat Deubrook 34-20 in White in the season-opener, but lost to 9B team Dell Rapids St. Mary during the season. Why not take Deubrook and go with two road teams. That will make the finals an oceanic Seahawks vs. Dolphins.
Leola-Frederick is the top seed in Class 9A. The Titans beat four seed Potter County during the season as part of the 10-0 record they have so far. Four seed Wolsey-Wessington is also undefeated. Winning the semifinal game has been a stickler for the Titans in the past, but this team has excellent line play. I think it is time for the Titans to make their first-ever trip to Vermillion. Potter County has a tough task ahead, having to play at top seed Howard. The Battlers will put up a good fight, but Howard is the elite team in the class.
Defending champion Harding County is the four seed in Class 9B. Hamlin is one, Avon two and Wall three. Harding County is 8-2. The four teams have two losses between them. As traditional a power as Harding County is, Hamlin has shown no weaknesses this year and will win at home. Wall and Avon might be a mismatch based simply based on strength of schedule. While Avon has beaten some very good teams this season, Wall’s schedule was pretty tame. Avon will win this and make its umpteenth trip to the Dome.
Class 11A had number four Dell Rapids at number one Madison and number three West Central at number two Hot Springs. I don’t pay much attention and won’t waste much time. Madison and West Central win.
Class 11AAA and 1AA have their semifinal games on Friday. 11AAA is Sioux Falls, Sioux Falls, Sioux Falls and Sioux Falls suburb. I’ll take Lincoln to beat O’Gorman and Roosevelt to beat Brandon Valley. In 11AA home teams Pierre and Watertown will beat visitor Harrisburg and Yankton.
There you go. Now you know who will win. All you have to do on Sunday morning is check the final scores.