SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The final week of the regular season was played last week for 11B and 9-man football in South Dakota.
Now, the season schedule has turned to the playoffs as the first round is set to be played on Thursday, October 19.
Here’s a look at each class as the postseason begins:
Elk Point-Jefferson is the defending state champion in 11B and they enter their title defense as the four seed. The Huskies sit behind #1 Winner, #2 Deuel and #3 Sioux Valley. Those three teams were the only squads to finish 8-0 on the year.
#1 WINNER WARRIORS
The Warriors are the top seed, again, and it’s the same recipe for success that has worked over the last several years.
Winner is scoring 38 points per game, led by a strong ground attack. They’re also only allowing 5.6 points per game defensively, second best in 11B.
To top it all off, the Warriors have as much postseason experience as any other team in the state, which should loom large as the playoffs begin.
#2 DEUEL CARDINALS
Deuel has been an up and coming team over the last few years. The Cardinals went 7-1 in the regular season last year. They’d defeat St. Thomas More in the playoffs, but fall to Winner in the quarterfinals.
This year, the Cardinals put it all together and cruised their schedule, outscoring their opponents by 26.9 points per game.
Deuel sits sixth in points per game offensively, but they make up for that with 11B’s best scoring defense, allowing just 4.5 points a contest. Webster Area was the only team to score double digits on the Cards this season. They also pitched shutouts in half of their games.
#3 SIOUX VALLEY COSSACKS
Sioux Valley is the three seed in 11B and they’ve played one of the tougher schedules. Despite a difficult set of opponents, the Cossacks have come out 8-0, outscoring their counter parts by 36.1 points a game, the best differential in 11B.
Two of those tough games were #4 Elk Point-Jefferson and #12 Bridgewater-Emery/Ethan, both playoff teams.
They defeated EPJ 20-11 and the Seahawks 42-6.
The Cossacks have multiple weapons on offense and that’s led to them scoring nearly 43 points a contest, best in the class.
TEAM TO WATCH:
Obviously there are several teams to keep an eye on, including the three mentioned above, but one that may have flown under the radar is Hot Springs.
The Bison went 7-1 on the season, with their lone loss coming to 11A #1 Dell Rapids. The Quarriers have steam rolled their competition, but Hot Springs gave them all they wanted and then some. Dells would score in the final seconds, securing a 20-14 win.
Hot Springs owns the classes second best scoring offense and second best scoring differential. That, paired with standout running back, Cameron Maciejewski, the Bison will be a tough out for any team they face.
9AA is once again, a class with a ton of depth. Wall is the defending state champ, but they sit fifth in the playoff standings.
#1 PARKSTON TROJANS
It’s hard for any team in any class to have a dominant of year as Parkston has had. The Trojans are scoring more than 48 points per game, while allowing less than three.
They own a scoring margin of 45.8 points per game, which is best in 9AA.
The Trojans scored at least 46 points in seven of the eight games this season. More impressively, they allowed just 20 points defensively.
That combination has Parkston dominating every team they’ve played this season. Now, it’s onto the playoffs, where they’re looking to finish the job from last year’s runner-up finish.
#2 PLATTE-GEDDES PANTHERS
Platte-Geddes grinded their way through the season, claiming a 7-1 record, while also earning the second seed in the playoffs. Their only loss this season came at the hands of Parkston, 46-0 back in August.
Of the top seven seeds, Platte-Geddes is the only team with a sub-ten scoring differential. The Panthers has a 9.9 scoring differential, as they’re scoring just 27 points per game.
The Panthers have a top ten defense and they’ll certainly look to use that in the playoffs.
#3 HOWARD TIGERS
Howard is back in the playoffs, near the top of the 9AA standings.
The Tigers have relied on their defense, which is allowing just 11 points per game, fifth best in the class.
Howard is one of five teams that finished with a 7-1 record. That includes games against six other playoff teams and a six game win streak.
The Tigers were bounced in the quarterfinals a season ago and they’re looking to get back into a deep playoff run this year.
TEAM TO WATCH:
There are several teams that could put together a run to the title. One to watch for is nine-seed Hanson.
The Beavers finished the season with a 6-2 record, while facing five other playoff bound teams.
Hanson not only has some impressive wins, but they also have some impressive losses. That includes a 16-6 loss to Parkston, the closest outcome against the Trojans by far.
The Gregory Gorillas are the defending 9A state champion, but this season they enter the playoffs as the twelve-seed.
Three teams finished the year with undefeated records and they sit as the top three seeds.
#1 WARNER MONARCHS
Warner went 8-0 this season, cruising past their opponents by an average of 36.1 points per game, the second best scoring differential in the 9A.
The Monarchs are allowing just one touchdown a game, while posting 43 points per contest.
Warner has been led by quarterback, Hunter Cramer, one of the top players in 9-man football.
The multi-year standout starter will certainly be what the Monarchs lean on come Thursday.
#2 ALCESTER-HUDSON CUBS
Alcester-Hudson has been on the rise each of the past three seasons. They finished 5-3 in 2021, 6-1 in 2022 and now 8-0 this year.
The Cubs did cruise through their season. They played four opponents that had a .500 record or better.
A key for Alcester-Hudson has been their multiple tools on offense, which has led to them scoring 47 points per game, second best in 9A.
#3 PHILIP SCOTTIES
Philip went 8-2 a season ago and reached the 9A quarterfinals, where they were eliminated by Harding County/Bison.
The Scotties played just one team with a .500 record or better, but that was defending 9AA state champ Wall. Philip won that game 22-12.
Since then, the Scotties rolled by each and every one of their opponents. Philip owns the top scoring offense, top scoring defense and highest scoring margin in the class.
This year, they’ll look to improve on last year’s success and make even more noise in the playoffs.
TEAM TO WATCH:
The team to watch has to be the Canistota Hawks who were a top-ranked team for several weeks this season.
The Hawks started 5-0, but a couple of late seasons losses to Hanson and Platte-Geddes dropped them to the four seed.
Canistota played a tough slate of games, including games against six playoff teams and five with .500 or better records.
9B has been a tight class all season long. The top seed to the eleven seed are separated by four games record wise.
#1 AVON PIRATES
Avon has played a pretty tough schedule, featuring five teams with .500 or better records.
The Pirates have won four of their last five games, concluding the season with a 6-2 record.
Offensively, Avon has been strong posting 35 points per game, but teams have been able to score on them as they allow 27 points to their opponents.
The Pirates will certainly look to lean on the classes second best scoring offense in the postseason.
#2 FAULKTON AREA
Faulkton Area has been on the rise the last few seasons and now they’re in search of their first trip to the DakotaDome since 2014.
8-3 in 2021, 4-5 in 2022 and now 7-1 in 2023. That run of success has hopes very high in Faulkton.
Only four teams in 9B have double digit scoring margins and that includes the Trojans who are outscoring opponents by 30 points per game.
That stems from them having both the top scoring offense and top scoring defense in 9B.
#3 CORSICA-STICKNEY JAGUARS
Corsica-Stickney enters the playoffs with a 6-2 record. This season, the Jaguars have faced three of the top 9-man teams in the state.
Alcester-Hudson and Avon handed losses to the Jags, but they did edge Freeman/Marion/Freeman Academy 14-12.
Corsica-Stickney is scoring 33 points per game, that’s fifth best in 9B. There’s no doubt the Jaguars will hope to use that offensive success come Thursday’s first round game.
TEAM TO WATCH:
The De Smet Bulldogs finished the year 6-2 with their lone to losses coming to 9AA teams Stanley County and Elkton-Lake Benton.
De Smet has had some impressive wins, including a 46-0 win over defending 9B state champion, Hitchcock-Tulare.
The Bulldogs have been on a run over the last three years, going 23-7 in since 2021, however they haven’t been able to reach the DakotaDome.
De Smet owns the third best scoring offense and second best defense. That combination could lead to the Bulldogs heading back to the Dome for the first time since 2003.
The playoffs are set for Thursday, October 19 across the state and you can see scores and highlights on the KELOLAND SportsZone which airs Thursday at 10:15 p.m.