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October 03, 2012 10:07 PM

White River Shifts Focus To Gridiron

white river, sd

Over the past five years there hasn't been a Class B Basketball Championship without the Tigers from White River. The small school in Mellette County has claimed three state titles on the hardwood over that time. But recently, the basketball town has shifted its focus to the gridiron.

"[I] kind of like football more than basketball," Gilbert Morrison said.

That almost sounds like blasphemy in White River with all of the recent success on the basketball court but those accomplishments have helped lead to White River's undefeated record on the football field.

"All those guys, for the most part, are out for football too. They come out and they're competitors," head coach Troy Krogman said.

That championship experience, regardless of where it comes from, has helped White River rattle off six consecutive wins this season and they're doing it with some familiar names. Senior quarterback Wyatt Krogman has rushed for eight touchdowns and tossed 13 while Nic Waln counts nine scores on the ground and five receiving.

"We've been good since we were in middle school and coming up now, everyone sees that we can do more than just basketball. It feels good to show that off," Waln said.

The Tigers showed off a bit last season making it to the second round of the playoffs before falling to Deubrook by three points, a result the team has not forgotten.

"That's just kind of sitting in the pit of those kids right now. We think about it. That's our last loss. We remember that feeling and we don't want it to happen again," Krogman said.

It's been a long time since a football banner was raised at the White River Community Center, but this group knows how to win.

"Seventy-eight I believe, we have one banner hanging up in there and we'd like to put one more up, not just basketball ones. We want a football one in there," Waln said.

And Morrison has also chipped in with seven touchdowns while linebacker Matt Gillen has four fumble recoveries and one interception on defense.

The 9-AA Tigers host Kadoka this Friday.

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