Sioux Falls, SD
The Dakota Bowl is the single biggest fundraiser for the Sioux Falls Catholic Schools, and it's the most important non-playoff football game on O'Gorman's schedule.
The Bob Burns Dakota Bowl annually attracts upwards of ten-thousand fans, providing a game-day experience unmatched throughout South Dakota high school football.
"A lot of people remember their high school career based on their Dakota Bowl. So, it's a huge event for us. You don't want it to get out of perspective. You still have the entire year ahead of you in football, but it's something you want to be ready for. You want to play well. You want to be your best at Dakota Bowl, whether your in the band, a cheerleader, whether you're a football player," O'Gorman head coach Steve Kueter said.
"It's going to be a great atmosphere. I know it's O'Gorman's big fundraiser. It's their bowl game, but we feel blessed and honored to be able to partake in that, and I think it will be a great night of competition among some young men," Lincoln head coach Aaron Beavers said.
The 36th annual event will feature O'Gorman and defending 11AAA champion Lincoln, two teams with championship aspirations.
"We've really got a collection of athletes that are anything from basketball to baseball to swimming. That are top-notch athletes that happen to play football. I think we're harnessing that a little bit. The kids are starting to gel, and I think it's going to be a fun group to watch," Kueter said.
"We don't want to be good and we don't want to be great. You want to be the best, and that's what you strive for. Today, we're going to go out to practice and for today, let's make sure we're our best," Beavers said.
Expectations aside, the Knights and Patriots have a mutual respect for one another.
"If they're not the best team in the state, they're very close to it, because they really put a lot of points on a very good Rapid City Central team on the opening weekend. So, I think they're going to be a team to watch. They're going to be a team that's going to contend. They're the defending state champs, so it's a great test," Kueter said.
"They are full of athletes. There are guys over there that can run, jump, and they're physical, and I was very impressed with them on film. We saw them at a couple summer camps and I was very impressed then, and it's going to be a great game," Beavers said.
O'Gorman is 26-9 all-time in the Dakota Bowl, which is scheduled for Saturday night at Howard Wood Field. Kickoff is scheduled for 8:00.