SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Jefferson is the new school in Sioux Falls and come this fall, it’ll be the tenth member of class 11AAA high school football.
Vince Benedetto coached two seasons in West Central, leading the Trojans to a class ‘A’ semifinal and quarterfinal playoff appearance.
But that’s when a new opportunity presented himself, a head coaching job for the new class 11AAA school, Sioux Falls Jefferson.
“Very excited and a little overwhelmed, kind of where do we go from here, but we have a great administration and people in place that are helping guide, not just me, but all of our coaches,” Jefferson head coach Vince Benedetto said.
The beginning wasn’t easy for coach Benedetto and the Cavaliers as it brought a lot of new faces together.
“June 1 was really the first day to build relationships with the kids. I’ve been looking at a list of names for about six months and now I’m able to see what these kids look like and get to know them,” Benedetto said. “We’ve got a long way to go, but we’re on the right track.”
“I love how he has welcomed us, I love his coaching philosophies, I love everything about it, I’m just so pumped to be here and play,” Jefferson junior London Kolb said.
With a new team, comes new opportunity for every player on the team.
“It’s just, everything is new and it’s a fresh start for everyone. Every kid on our roster has a chance to play and they might now have had that chance to at their old school and I think they’re excited about that,” Benedetto said.
The majority of the team comes from Lincoln, Roosevelt or Washington as many of the players will be playing with teammates, that they’ve only played against in the past.
“It’s different, it is really different, but all of the guys, we’re getting closer as we go, because we’ve all been playing against each other, ever since we were little,” Kolb said. “We’ve all kind of been talking to each other, but it’s taken off pretty good.”
“We need to forget about the past and put the past in the past and we’re Jefferson Cavaliers now,” Benedetto said. “Lincoln, Roosevelt, Washington that’s where a lot of these kids are coming from, but that’s in the past and this is where we are coming from, but that’s in the past and this is where we are right now and we’ve got to be where our feet are.”
The goals for the 2021 season are still unknown in June, as the team has nearly ten weeks until their first game, but that doesn’t mean the Cavs can’t improve each day.
“The way I think and this is something from coach (John Stiegelmeier) Stig at SDSU, is that we can’t win the state championship in June, but we can get better today,” Benedetto said. “If we get better every single day, then hopefully that leads to success down the road. If we’re looking too far ahead to certain games on the schedule or championship and conference titles, then we’re going to fall short, because we’re not taking the appropriate steps to get there.”
As Jefferson works through the hot days of June, they stick to coach Benedetto’s saying of all means all.
“Every person out here matters, every player on our team is just as important, whether they’re the starting quarterback or the fourth string offensive lineman,” Benedetto said. “As coaches, we’re going to coach them all hard. We’re going to love them for the person that they are and try to build them into better young men.”
“It hits with me, because I know if I’m in the weight room, I’ve got to go all out, I can’t be doing half, because that’s not going to help me when I’m out on the field,” Jefferson senior Jacob Smith-Mendez said. “With the teammates, it’s been helping them out too, because it reminds them that you have to keep going. You can’t just stop where you’re at, you’ve got to keep moving forward.”
The Cavs will open the season when they play Sioux Falls Washington on Friday, August 27.