PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — Pierre has won the last two 11 “AA” state football championships, and enters 2019 as the preseason favorites as they look to make state history.
Defending a title is nothing new for Pierre, as they successfully defended their championship last season. Unlike last year though, there’s no major question marks surrounding this group, as they return 14 starters.
“They understand the expectations for us this year. They understand the pressure that comes along with it. I think that’s really been a positive for us this summer because we know we got a target on us, we know everyone’s trying to shoot us down,” Pierre Head Coach Steve Steele said.
Seventeen seniors make up the core of this Governor team, and will look to cap off a remarkable run that began when they were young.
“We’ve been playing since third grade. We kind of just came up together. It’s an awesome class, and we got a lot of awesome dudes in there. It’s going to be a fun season,” Pierre Senior Lineman Grey Zabel said.
That group’s leadership has helped build the winning culture in Pierre.
“That’s what makes it a lot of fun for the coaches, is to be able to pass that leadership, and a lot of that responsibility to the seniors, because they really, truly take ownership of every aspect of this program,” Steele said.
With back-to-back titles under their belt, Pierre has a chance to accomplish something no other 11AA team has done in the playoff era, by winning their third straight state championship.
“It would mean a lot to me, more than me, I think it would mean a lot to the community as well. We have a great fan base here. They show us tremendous support throughout every sport, and especially throughout this sport,” Senior Quarterback Garrett Stout said.
The Governors open their title defense on Saturday, August 31st against Sturgis with kickoff set for 7:00.