SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The Dakota Bowl returns to McEneaney Field on Saturday. For the third straight season, it’ll be O’Gorman hosting Roosevelt, but unlike last year, the two teams are hoping to get the game completed on their first attempt.
“We saw the crowd building and you looked up there in pregame and we were hoping to get it in. The amount of time we waited, I think we put it on pause for 3-4 hours just trying to start even at 11 o’clock at night and we just couldn’t get it done,” O’Gorman head coach Jayson Poppinga said.
Last year’s Dakota Bowl was scheduled for Saturday, August 28, but an evening storm postponed the game to Monday, August 30. Then after playing the first half, the game was pushed back again to Tuesday, following another storm.
“The third day was the hardest one, because we only had half a game. The first time we were expecting to play the full game. The second time we were expecting to play a full game and we only got half of it in,” Roosevelt head coach Kim Nelson said. “On the third day, we’re going to just play the second half and I don’t ever remember planning to just play the second half strategy.”
The game was finally completed with the Knights picking up the 14-12 win, but the contest was played in front of few fans, due to a Tuesday afternoon kick-off.
“The bad part of it was just the crowd. You know, we missed out on the atmosphere, where when you’re playing at 4:00 in front of a student body and a few parents, it felt like a scrimmage game and not the Dakota Bowl,” Poppinga said. “That part was kind of a loss. Playing over a couple days, that part is kind of neat to look back and reminisce over, but the kids didn’t really get that experience of what it feels like to be in that big of a game.”
“It was different. It was quiet and it was almost like an away game for both of us, I think. We missed that crowd. We played in front of a big one, this one’s going to be a big one, next week’s the President’s Bowl, it’s going to be a big crowd. That’s what I love about our situation,” Nelson said.
For Roosevelt coach, Kim Nelson who has been coaching for 44 years, last year’s game ranks up there with a trip to Rapid City, that led to an overnight stay, due to a storm.
“I remember walking in the rain to Walmart to buy soap, toothbrushes and toothpaste for our players and contact solution for myself. You don’t pack to stay overnight on those kind of things. That was something I’ve never had to do before,” Nelson said.
After last year’s bizarre Dakota Bowl, the Rough Riders and Knights are set to battle at McEneaney Field again this year.
“O’Gorman and Roosevelt goes back a long time, as far as the top teams in the state and battling for semifinal appearances and the dome,” Poppinga said. “Then you add on top of it the number of people that will hopefully be out there for this game and it makes a great atmosphere for our kids.”
There’s no rain in forecast for this year’s game and that will only help write another chapter in the Dakota Bowl’s history.
“The whole day evolves throughout and accumulates with that football game. Our kids are out there early in the morning with camp and the tailgating that goes on,” Poppinga said. “The atmosphere of this is second to none in high school football in South Dakota.”
Saturday’s Dakota Bowl will kick-off at 7 p.m. from McEneaney Field. KELOLAND Sports will have highlights from the contest on KELOLAND News at 10.