O’Gorman and Roosevelt carry four game win streak into quarterfinal matchup

KELOLAND.com Original

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — It’s a Dakota Bowl rematch as Roosevelt is set to host O’Gorman in the quarterfinal round of the playoffs. However, the two teams look quite a bit different than they did when they met 57 days ago.

Both O’Gorman and Roosevelt started the season 1-4, but have closed the season with four straight wins.

“We’ve got things together now. We’ve been basically injury free for the most part. We’ve had a few dings and a few guys that have missed a little time, but we’re close to 100% now and our defense is really starting to come around I think,” Roosevelt head coach Kim Nelson said.

“Obviously we’ve played a schedule that was favorable for us here at the end of the year and our kids have got a little bit of confidence going into it,” O’Gorman head coach Jayson Poppinga said. “We haven’t had a test like Roosevelt and obviously we think Roosevelt is one of the hottest teams in the state.”

The Rough Rider offense has found their stride during their win streak as they are scoring nearly 45 points per contest during that stretch.

“We simplified things about midseason and they seem to have responded really well to that. Our offense is starting to be a little more consistent with the run and pass and it’s kind of just what you want as the year goes on,” Nelson said.

Much of Roosevelt’s offensive success can be credited to the growth of sophomore quarterback Jackson Brouwer.

“Well, compared to game one, it’s been quite a difference I think. He was just a little late and a little unsure of things the first game and you can’t blame him for that, but he still did a nice job in that game. Every game I think he’s gotten more and more relaxed and more confident,” Nelson said.

O’Gorman is scoring an impressive 54 points per game over their last four contests. This has come with the maturation of dual threat quarterback, Bennett Dannenbring.

“The more reps you get, the more comfortable you get in the offense and him, coming here and being the first year as a part of our system, he’s a lot more comfortable in what we’re doing,” Poppinga said. “The test will be now once he gets a quality team, a quality opponent, can he keep doing what he’s been doing for the last four weeks?”

“He can sling it. He can throw it deep very well and he has also become much more of a running threat for them, with their read game that they like to run with him. He’s a big, strong guy and he runs pretty well,” Nelson said.

It’ll be win or go home on Thursday when the Knights and Rough Riders cross paths.

“I mean, this is going to be a big game for us. Obviously it’s playoffs and loser goes home. We don’t get another shot and we can’t improve after this, so it’s going to be a big test from week one to week ten, for how much better did we get compared to how much better they got,” Poppinga said.

“We haven’t had a lot of turnovers either and I’m hoping we can continue that trend. I know O’Gorman’s not a turnover team either, so it should be a really close, tough and physical game,” Nelson said.

Thursday’s contest will kick-off at 4 p.m. from Howard Wood Field. You can stream the game on KELOLAND.com.

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