VERMILLION, S.D. (KELO) — “That’s by far the best football game I’ve ever been apart of in my life.”
Pierre vs Tea Area. The 2021 11AA state championship game that became an instant classic.. that some saw coming.
“On the car ride here, my best friend, he messaged me and said ‘I’m predicting you will win this with a field goal,” Cole Peterson said.
In their first season in “AA”, The Tea Area Titans entered the championship with a perfect 11-0 record and would jump out to a 27-7 lead behind the play of Cael Lundin, but the Governors would find a way to steady the ship.
“They did a really outstanding job staying level headed through out the entirety of the game and just clawing back one play at a time,” Pierre head coach Steve Steele said.
Trailing by 20, Lincoln Kienholz and Jett Zabel would connect on 48 and 35 yard touchdowns to pull the Governors within 6. Then with 3 minutes and change left in the 4th, this 3 yard Kienholz run would even the game at 27.
“I ran the ball one time and it started working and I started getting yards off it so he just kept running me, trusting me and I knew I had to make plays,” Pierre junior quarterback Lincoln Kienholz said.
But the PAT was blocked, keeping the game deadlocked at 27. The Titans would move into Pierre territory inching closer to field goal range. But with 36 seconds remaining, Lundin would be intercepted by Jacob Mayer and a few plays later, from 40 yards away, Cole Peterson would etch his name into the Pierre football history books.
“As soon as I looked up, I knew I hit it pretty good. I looked and I saw it turning and I knew it was in,” Peterson said.
I asked Cole do you want it on the left hash or do you want it in the middle? If he wanted it in the middle we felt like we could have taken a snap and dove to the right two feet or two yards and call our timeout but he said he wanted the left hash and he was right,” Steele said of his kicker.
And while Peterson was the hero, the man who acted as superman throughout the game was LIncoln Keinholz. On the field for every defensive and offensive snap, the junior would finish would 537 total yards and 4 touchdowns. Earning the title of game MVP.
“He’s a special kid. When the lights shine brightest that’s when he plays his best,” Steele said of the junior quarterback. He took all the pressure on himself and he did everything and didn’t shy away from it and carried us on.”