SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The Brandon Valley Lynx finished on top of Class 11AAA a year ago with a state championship victory over Washington. Now, the Lynx turn their attention to this season, where they will meet rival Roosevelt in the season opener.
“As a team, I think we’re really just excited to get out there and finally play a game against another opponent,” Brandon Valley quarterback Thomas Scholten said. “I mean we’ve kind of been going against ourselves for the past couple of weeks and I think we’re just excited to get out there and finally play a game and see where we are at.”
Following last season’s outcome, the South Dakota prep media football poll ranked the Lynx as the preseason No. 1 team, but Brandon Valley isn’t resting on their laurels.
“It doesn’t mean that much to me. I don’t know how the rest of the guys feel, but last year is over with,” Brandon Valley Senior Jesse Steffel said. “We’ve got new guys that need to step up, we’ve got returning guys that need to step up, so ranks don’t really matter to me right now.”
“We always know that our goal is to get better as the year goes on and the preseason rankings and things like that really don’t mean anything. It’s who’s playing in the final four at the end, with a chance to go to the dome,” Brandon Valley Head Coach Chad Garrow said.
Last season, Roosevelt handed Brandon Valley their second loss of the year, as Roosevelt’s defense held the Lynx to only 7 points en route to a 24-7 win.
“Last year, our defense played really well against them and I can’t really expect that kind of a performance every week, but we’re hoping that we can control them a little bit, if possible. They’ve got a lot of their skill guys back and it’s going to really depend on what happens up front, I think,” Roosevelt Head Coach Kim Nelson said.
Brandon Valley returns one of the state’s top quarterbacks in Thomas Scholten, who could cause problems for Roosevelt’s defense.
“Trust our D-line and as a defense we try to be gap sound, that’s our main key and stop the run. Thomas is a very good player and we’ll try to contain him as much as possible and just do our job,” Roosevelt Senior Aaron Kusler said.
Brandon Valley returns a list of talented players on defense, which a year ago, only allowed fifteen points per game during the state title run.
“They’ve always defended us very well and they’re always sound. They mix up their coverages. They disguise their coverages pretty well and so, we’re just going to try to execute, I guess,” Nelson said.
“I would say just rely on our quarterback Brady Dannenbring. He’s been slinging the ball out here, making confident reads, so I think it comes down to him and if we can get our reads right and get our run keys,” Roosevelt Senior Adam Kusler said.
Roosevelt’s defense allowed less than nineteen points per game a year ago and return’s their two leaders on defense in Adam and Aaron Kusler.
“Defensively, they’re really stout and they return a lot of those guys from last year. They lost a couple d-linemen but they return quite a few good players and so that will be a challenge for our offense,” Garrow said.
“They’re always athletic and they’ll always bring pressure. So on the offensive side of the ball, we’ve got some things that we can do, but we’re going to kind of just stuck to our regular game plan for them,” Scholten said.
Roosevelt was preseason ranked the No. 3 team in Class 11AAA by the prep media poll, meaning that this game, could be a rematch seen in November.
“It definitely could be. I think time will tell, I think both teams are very good and I think both teams are definitely in the title contention,” Scholten said.
The Lynx and Rough Riders will square off Friday at Howard Wood Field. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. and highlights can be seen during the KELOLAND Sportszone, Friday night at 10:30 p.m.