VERMILLION, S.D. (KELO) — The Jefferson football took a big step forward from its inaugural season a year ago to this season, where the Cavaliers made their way to the top of 11AAA.
Head coach Vince Benedetto and his staff were tasked with building a football program in 2021, with the birth of Sioux Falls’ newest high school, Jefferson.
“We’ve been though a lot and our coaching staff has been through a lot. Putting in a new school and doing everything that goes into a new school and then a new football program is really difficult. We had the right people for the job from our assistant coaches to our administration and some really talented kids to go with it,” Benedetto said.
It didn’t take long for Jefferson’s football team to find success, with the Cavaliers finishing off a perfect 12-0 season with an 11AAA State Championship in just its second season.
“We wanted to focus on 1-0. From the beginning of the year against Harrisburg, we kept going just one week at a time. We just kept winning, so we kept the same goal. Now we’re here and it’s amazing,” Ashley said.
Jefferson’s win over Harrisburg not only gave the Cavaliers their first state football title, but it was also the first ever team state championship in school history.
“Being the first ever Jefferson team to win a championship or being the first football team, we’ll go down in history. It’s going to be something that you tell the grandkids and all that down the road. Tell the niece and nephew when they understand that, but it’s a blessing,” Ashley said.
“Putting the first trophy in that trophy case is huge. I just told the seniors that when we were in that huddle and the whole team that we talked about building a foundation,” Benedetto said. “We had our first zoom meeting in 2021 because we couldn’t meet in person because of COVID. We laid out that we can lay a foundation and I told them that they laid a pretty dang good foundation,” Benedetto said.
Jefferson defeated Harrisburg 48-21 to win the 11AAA Championship. That 27 point margin of victory ties the record for largest win in title game history, which was set last year by Harrisburg.