PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — The Pierre Governors are the 6-time reigning state champions in class 11AA.

They said goodbye to quarterback Lincoln Kienholz, who has taken his talents to Ohio State, but the Govs will be led by a veteran crew this year as they feature 21 seniors.

As practice begins, the upperclassmen are taking part in a program tradition for the final time – spending three days at Oahe Downstream, which helps to build comradery for when they take the field.

“It’s team bonding. That’s the whole point of this. This whole trip is just get closer as a team and build a bond without the Internet,” Pierre senior quarterback Cade Kaiser said.

“This is kind of one of the been one of the most important memories, I think, created in our program. Most of the kids, you know, in the senior memories on senior night always talk about downstream, you know, and how much they enjoyed it, how much they look forward to it,” Pierre head coach Steve Steele said.

Pierre opens the season at Aberdeen on August 25.