SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The South Dakota High School Football Championships kick off Thursday morning at the DakotaDome in Vermillion. South Dakota is celebrating 40 years of playoff football. The idea of not having a postseason or championship games seems almost unthinkable now, but that was reality prior to 1981.
The push for the playoffs started to gain momentum in the 1970’s, but it wasn’t until a lawsuit was filed in February, 1981, that playoff football finally made its way to South Dakota.
“One of our parents, Tony Weisensee, was the actual attorney on the lawsuit, and he had two boys that played for us, Pat and John back then. So it was kind of a neat deal that he was the driving force, got it through, and then his two boys got to play in the state championship the first year. So that was really special,” Steve Kueter, activities director at O’Gorman High School, said.
We’ll explain how the lawsuit paved the way for playoff football tonight on KELOLAND News. And in tonight’s Eye on KELOLAND, South Dakota’s all-time winningest football coach shares his thoughts on the introduction of the playoffs and how it changed his approach to the football season.