VERMILLION, S.D. (KELO) — Across KELOLAND this time of the year, the attention of many players, students, fans, families and communities turns to high school football championships. But this year features a new championship from the All Nations Football Conference, with Lower Brule and Crow Creek facing off in the championship.
And who better to capture the emotion of this game than from the players themselves before kickoff?
“Anxious, it’s going to be a big game. I haven’t ever felt energy like this in a game before, before a game,” Crow Creek running back and corner back Chayden Miller said. “Just really exited to play.”
“I’m nervous right now,” Lower Brule wide receiver Jate LaRoche said. “But it’s a good nervous, though. I’m excited.”
There are 12 schools in this nine-man football conference from across South Dakota. Schools have to have a student body that’s at least 50 percent Native American.
Lance Witte, superintendent of Lower Brule Schools, says the conference has seen higher participation.
“We’ve seen three new teams form through this, and so the participation numbers are up 65 percent,” Witte said.
Friday’s championship is at the University of South Dakota’s DakotaDome, an icon of South Dakota high school athletics.
“I just think that this was a great idea, the All Nations, having it for the teams that participated because it gives them a chance to be here in the dome,” said Tanya Goings, cheerleading coach at Crow Creek Tribal School. “To me that’s a dream for these athletes.”
“Every kid in South Dakota grows up wanting to play in the dome for the championship game, right? Or if not, play for the Coyotes,” Lower Brule Head Coach Zeke Prado said.
“Grab your popcorn, get ready for the show,” LaRoche said.