VERMILLION, S.D. (KELO) — The Pierre football team won a state record seventh straight state championship with a 35-7 win over Yankton this past Friday.

It has become an annual tradition in mid-November that the Governors make the 4-hour pilgrimage to Vermillion and come away with the state crown. For the seniors, some of whom served as water boys on that first championship team in 2017, they simply completed their chapter in the program’s legacy.

“It’s kind of a interesting closure, I guess with that group of kids,” Pierre head coach Steve Steele said. “They’re the first group of seventh grade football players that we had when the school put in seventh grade football. It’s just a special group in that sense that they’ve they’ve been with us the whole way and they don’t know what it’s like to not come here and win.”

“It feels unbelievable,” Pierre senior quarterback Cade Kaiser said. “Just to think of how many guys have gone through this process, man. I mean, seven years ago, it started with one. And that’s really it was our focus all year, one week at a time. Can’t look forward. Are you going to look overlook somebody.”

The Governors seized control of the game in the first minute of the second quarter. Pinned at their own one yard line, tight end Jett Zabel moved under center and delivered a deep ball to wide-receiver-turned-QB Cade Kaiser for a 99-yard score.

“I’ll tell you what, you get a little rusty after a while and not doing something,” Kaiser said. “I can’t thank Jett enough for putting the ball in a perfect spot and gave me an opportunity to go get it. I’m sure happy my hands still work.”

“Cade’s a heck of a wide receiver,” Steele said. “We knew that even though he hasn’t played it this season, we had single coverage on him and why not.”

“I thought I was going in at quarterback just run the ball, kind of get some breathing room,” Pierre senior tight end Jett Zabel said. “Right off the rip, we said target, which is our go route, and Cade just ran a really good route, and ultimately just a good ball and good catch.”

Pierre completed the season with an 11-1 record. The seven state titles surpasses West Centrals’ previous record of six, set from 2000-2005.