sioux falls, sd
A disappointing 1-and-2 start had many writing Washington off as a state title favorite. But with the semifinals looming, the Warriors are once again, one step shy of another trip to the Dakota-Dome.
As the four seed, the orange and black will have to face top ranked Lincoln, a team they lost to by one point at the beginning of the season.
It will go down as one of the best games of 2011. And lucky us, we get to see the two rivals lineup across from one another again.
While most of the pressure should be on Lincoln being the higher seed, Washington has an 11AA record fifth consecutive trip to Vermillion on the line. Even if they don't make it, Coach Brian Hermanson has a lot to be proud of over the last five seasons.
“It breeds the enthusiasm and you have to pat a lot of guys on the back. It's not just me, it's a ton of guys, our coaching staff and a ton of people that have played through here that have done a lot for this program,” Hermanson said.
In the past 6 years, the Hermanson-led Warriors have sent 37 players to the college ranks to don uniforms for teams from the NAIA all the way up to Division I and that's not counting this year with the likes of USD Recruits Keyen Lage and Devon O'Farrell. Hermie has always preached the benefits of the weight room and being in track and he credits his guys participation in both for the team's success.
“You have to either be faster or stronger than your opponent. You don't want to line up and be at a disadvantage and that's what we preach here. We have to be a little bit faster and a little bit stronger because sometimes our kids aren't quite as big as the other teams,” Hermanson said.
Clearly he isn't talking about recent rosters that featured the mountains known as the Farniok boys with that comment. But overall, his formula has worked well and his program has been a consistent winner. Now one game away from another shot at a title, the Warriors are happy to have another chance to capture it all.
“Whatever magic we've created here has been really good for us. We're happy with where we're at. Our goal at the end of the season is to try to be one of the four teams left in the semifinals. Then that gives you a pretty good shot at getting to it. Doesn't always mean you are going to get there but you have to get to the semifinals before you can get to the finals,” Hermanson said.