VERMILLION, S.D. (KELO) — Warner has reached the 9A State Championship three times in the last seven seasons, but they’ve fallen runner-up each time. That changed this year, thanks to a record setting contest.
Warner entered the 9A title game with a perfect 11-0 record. A win would give the Monarchs their first ever state title, but little did they know, a record setting performance would be needed.
Warner scored on their first four possessions of the game, while Deubrook Area answered with five scores in the meantime.
In just 19 minutes of play, a total of 65 points were scored and the Monarchs trailed by seven.
“Our philosophy is to do the little things and then the next play. You can’t get down,” Warner head coach Kerwin Hoellein said. “If something negative happens, you can’t just be done and hang your heads, it’s next play. Hopefully you make a positive play the next time and our kids have bought into that all year long.”
Warner scored the final two touchdowns of the first half, taking a 42-36 lead into the locker room.
They were able to do all of that, despite having an injured quarterback. Hunter Cramer was dealing with a bruised heel the week leading up to their game.
“As a coach, you show up and Hunter Cramer is in a walking boot, that just about stops your heart right there. We were smart with how we handled him,” Hoellein said.
“I knew it was the last game and I had to stick it out. Just get through the game and keep my head down I guess,” Warner quarterback Hunter Cramer said.
Warner would outscore Deubrook Area 34-18 in the second half, sending the Monarchs to a 76-54 win.
That total of 130 points is now the record for points scored in a championship game.
“You don’t look to do that, it’s just next play and whatever happens at the ends happens. That’ll soak in a little bit later, after a guy has time to sit down and relax a little bit,” Hoellein said.
Cramer was named the Joe Robbie MVP and most outstanding back for the game. Warner was one of four champions to complete an undefeated season.