SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Aberdeen Central finished 2-7 a year ago and missed the playoffs for the first time in the seven year history of class 11 ‘AAA’. This year’s team will look to return to the postseason, but the Golden Eagles will be looking to add some depth throughout the season.
“It’s kind of similar to what we’ve seen in the past few years. We’ve got plenty of returning talent, but the depth is going to be a little low. So we’re going to have some kids have to play a few more minutes than we would’ve liked,” Aberdeen Central coach Mitch Kranz said.
The Golden Eagles will rely on a running attack fueled by senior running back Carter Hogg (Hoog) and an athletic offensive line, led by senior tackle Reece Burckhard.
“Our running attack should be our strength and we’ve got able bodies on the outside to make plays as well, but if we can run the ball, I think we’ll be okay. That always sets up the play action and makes everything a little bit easier,” Kranz said. “If you can run the ball well enough, then good things are going to happen.”
Aberdeen Central hasn’t earned a win over Washington since 2014, including three straight losses to the Warriors. Friday’s contest will be a chance to break that streak, but coach Kranz knows that this year’s Warriors team is going to be tough.
“They’re young as well, I mean they were young last year. They had some young kids who got some experience last year and they really came on at the end of the year,” Kranz said. “They’re very good, they usually have some speed on the outside and they’ve got some maulers up front. They’ve got some big boys that I know will be very good. We’re going to have to match their physicality and we’re going to have to try and out work them, because if we don’t, it could be a long night. Missing one tackle against these guys (Washington), it doesn’t go for seven yards it goes for seventy.”
Sioux Falls Washington finished 4-7 a year ago and concluded the season with a loss to Brandon Valley in the class 11 ‘AAA’ semi-finals. Along with a new season, the Warriors welcome a new coach in Ryan Evans, who was promoted from assistant coach.
“For the most part, it’s going to be status quo for Washington, it really is. We’re really known for our defense and we’re going to get after you. We have some great linebackers and our defensive line has really come alive and you’re going to see aggressive Washington football just as always,” Washington coach Ryan Evans.
The Warriors will boast a talented and experienced duel threat offense that can score via the ground and air. However, Washington’s strength this season will be their defense that has one of the best players in the state in senior linebacker Randolph Kpai. Along with Kpai, the Warriors will have a strong defensive line to go with four talented linebackers.
“The other team knows you played them at the end of the game. We want to be the team at the end of the day that nobody wants to play, because they know how physical we are going to be, on both the offense and defensive side of the ball,” Evans said.
The Warriors will look for their fourth straight win over the Golden Eagles, a win streak that began in 2017. However, coach Evans knows that this year’s Aberdeen team could create problems for Washington.
“Aberdeen Central is a team that is physically sound. They are well coached and coach Kranz does a nice job up there and their players play hard,” Evans said. “Last year was a game where we were able to wear them down and we see them coming after us and being very aggressive this year. They did get better and better. We saw a lot of growth from them last year. We expect guns blazing for us on Friday night and I think everyone is just ready to play some football.”
The Golden Eagles and the Warriors will cross paths on Friday. Kick-off is set for 6:00 p.m. You can watch Friday’s game on KELOLAND.com as part of our High School Football Coverage.