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December 14, 2017 10:40 PM

Homegrown Jackrabbits: From Rough Riders To SDSU

Sioux Falls, SD

The SDSU football team is one win shy of playing for a national championship, and some homegrown Jackrabbits are a big reason why.  

SDSU's doing things it's never done on the football field, including winning a program best eleven games, while advancing to the FCS semifinals. 

It's a long way from Howard Wood Field where current Jackrabbit quarterback Taryn Christion and kicker Chase Vinatieri got their start for the Roosevelt Rough Riders. 

"Doesn't happen very often, you know when you've got two guys playing at that level in the playoffs, and maybe have a shot at a national championship," Roosevelt head coach Kim Nelson said. 

Christion earned his spot as the Roosevelt starting quarterback as a sophomore and led the Riders to the state championship game the following year, when he accounted for more than 3,500 yards of total offense. 

"When he got to high school he really started to turn into a multi-sport athlete. He was playing basketball, running track, I think he even pitched a little in baseball and so we kind of knew he was coming at the time and we were hoping that he was going to be a quarterback and he obviously turned into a really good quarterback," Nelson said. 

Vinatieri began kicking PATs for the Rough Riders before his career with the Jacks, but he was also one of Christion's top offensive weapons.

"He did all of our kicking but he didn't get a chance to practice very much because we were throwing him the ball instead and now look what's happened to him when he's just concentrating on kicking," Nelson said. 

Roosevelt head coach Kim Nelson hopes for one more SDSU win and a shot at a national championship.

"Not just for them but for everybody who knows who they are and knows the kind of people they are and the kind of young men they've become, it would really be a great end to a great season," Nelson said. 

SDSU plays at top-ranked, and defending national champion, James Madison on Saturday.  Kickoff is set for 3:30.
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