2022 Week 8 (Dakotas)

2022 Week 8 (Dakotas)

My week was not going to be a busy one. Being in the Dakotas, I only had a shot at a Friday and Saturday game. There were some Thursday games in Nebraska and Minnesota, but the time to get them, and the distance was just not feasible. So, I settled on one game on Friday near Aberdeen. And Saturday was initially going to be the lone Saturday game in Sioux Falls, but instead I headed north to the closest 9-man playoff game in North Dakota.

There was a Friday afternoon game. I could’ve went to it. But, then I’d definitely had only been able to get to the Sioux Falls Saturday game. But, it was Canistota hosting Platte/Geddes. And, as it goes, I’ve already seen both of those teams previously. And I didn’t want to see them again. I could’ve maybe paired it with a night game, but wasn’t sure which way to head afterwards other than maybe to Sioux Falls.

Now, Mellette has Northwestern High School. The Wildcats. Same as Albion, Pennsylvania, coincidentally. I’ve been past the school a couple times. Just a half hour or so south of Aberdeen. I narrowly missed seeing Northwestern play as part of the Lake Region Football Classic at Northern State’s Dacotah Bank Stadium a few weeks ago. They had played as part of the Friday doubleheader.

So, I wanted to see them play.

I drove over to Mellette and got into town just as the Junior High game was wrapping up. Had I realized they had a matinee subvarsity game going on, I would’ve arrived earlier. However, I was content to just get ready for the night game at 7pm between them and neighboring Warner.

#45 – Northwestern v. Warner

Before the game, I toured the grounds. There’s construction going on at the school. The field is not unusual for the midwest small schools. A crows nest press box is located on the northern sideline of the east/west field. There are no stands. On the south side, which is for visitors, is the concession stand and additional press box. Restrooms were in the school. A small lot east and south of the field provided parking. And trees lined the west and north perimeter. Fans would line their vehicles along the north and east endzone for optimal views of the game. The only thing separating fans from the field was a rope held in place with construction barriers in white.

In front of the concession stand, which was used to host the silent auction on the night, were several metal picnic tables. The Warner faithful had setup their own folding table to sell tee shirts. I got the rosters from them, and then introduced to the marquee item in the auction. The home team Wildcats were wearing black jerseys with pink numbers and shoulders. And one special jersey, indecipherable of team with just “TACKLE THE CURE” and “22” was signed by all the players for both teams. And was going to be auctioned at halftime.

In addition to the auction, the game was also the big rivalry as the two schools border another, and was called the Cross County Bowl by the public address announcer.

I perused the silent auction and signed for a few of the pies. Though my price was nowhere close to winning.

I was the only unaffiliated cameraman at the game. The mother of Northwestern’s quarterback was also shooting the game. And we talked shortly after kickoff about Mirrorless Cameras.

For the game itself, I wasn’t expecting too much. Northwestern was a decided underdog. Only 1-6 on the year while Warner Monarchs were 7-0 and playing for the #1 spot in the state in Class 9A.

Not that South Dakota has 9 classifications. They have 7. The state is split into four 11-man classes and three 9-man classes. From largest to smallest, are 11AAA, 11AA, 11A, 11B, 9AA, 9A, and 9B. In South Dakota, any school or co-op that has an ADM of 56.001 is 9-man unless they opt up to play 11-man. And as long as there’s at least 65 teams in 9-man, the state will be divided into three classifications. If there’s 64 or less, then the state would be divided by 2.

So, unlike PA or Ohio, the classifications in South Dakota are fairly small. Class 9A has only 20 teams competing in it, for instance. In 11AAA, there’s a minimum of the 8 largest schools, plus Bishop O’Gorman plays up, as they’re also based out of Sioux Falls.

Back to the game itself, Northwestern came out with some determination. But, Warner’s offense ground away at them. Finally scoring just halfway through the first for a 5 yard TD run. Warner’s Hunter Cramer would pull the Al Bundy in the first half. His last score making it 35-0, midway through the second. Additionally, Zach Wood would get a 10 yard TD run. Pontiac (first name unknown and not shown on the roster) was the kicker who was good on six of his PAT attempts.

With South Dakota’s 50 point rule looming, after it was 42-0 late in the first half, Warner recovered an onside kick and would score on an 18 yard Devon Fischbach touchdown catch. The squad opted not to go for two, which helped save halftime as being in the middle of the contest.

At halftime, this jersey was auctioned off. I didn’t hear the final bid. But I know it had reached at least $1000. Quite incredible. Clearly the rival schools carry over their gamesmenship off the field.

In the second half, Warner would gain possession after Northwestern’s turn and turn it into a 12 yard TD run by Devon Fischbach. Clinching the victory for the visitors and closing out Northwestern’s season. Warner 55, Northwestern 0.

After the game, it was a short drive north to Aberdeen. And from there, just about two hours to Wyndmere. My site for my Saturday afternoon contest.

There isn’t much to this field, honestly. Located on the eastern edge of town, it’s lined east to west, with the northeast corner along a series of grain silos and railroad tracks. I had wanted to get a photo of the train rolling through during the game, but alas the pregame train was the only one to come through town.

I decided to just get food at the game. The Lidgerwood twitter account had advertised it the day before, and I had figured it was a worthy stop instead of some restaurant. Plus, Wyndmere didn’t have too much for options. The pulled pork sandwiches were decent, though cooled fast in the wind combined with the refrigerated barbeque sauce. The monster cookie bar was incredibly strong and for only $1 I still was unable to finish it. The sweetness shock of it was overwhelming. Good, but you have to be prepared for it.

#46 – Wyndmere/Lidgerwood v. Hatton/Northwood

Now, like a lot of midwestern small towns, the schools co-op to create teams large enough to play. Lidgerwood was only 14 miles south of Wyndmere. While Northwood was only 13 miles from Hatton. Wyndmere and Lidgerwood are located just north of the South Dakota line. While Hatton and Northwood are in the open space between Grand Forks, Fargo, Carrington, and Devils Lake. Mostly closely related to Grand Forks.

Both teams, as part of co-ops, use a combined nickname. Something you don’t see too often in Pennsylvania, but is quite common in New York. Where you have names like CSP Wolfpack, the Maple Grove/Chatauqua Lake Thunder Dragons, or Falconer/Cassadaga Valley Golden Cougars.

Here, the Wyndmere Warriors and Lidgerwood Cardinals became the Wyndmere/Lidgerwood Warbirds. A nice combination of the two names. Meanwhile, the Hatton/Northwood amalgamation went from the Hatton Flyers and Northwood Trojans became the much less cohesive “Thunder”. Certainly, other names could’ve been a bit more creative (North Central in South Dakota also took the Thunder name for their co-op), but I also think “Flying Trojans” was off the table.

Now, one thing will irk me is that I had made the tweet for the first score of the game. And wrote it in my notes. But, somehow, the first tweet did not get posted. And wasn’t rejected into my unsent folder. So, I’m not sure where that went.

However, Brian Quam would, for certain, get the second TD of the game with his feet from 20 yards out. Both scores included two point tries converted. Giving the hosts a 16-0 first quarter advantage. The key play to start the game was a fumble call. Which really wasn’t, I thought, a fumble. The Thunder’s QB had shuffle/shoveled the ball forward, but was ruled a fumble. It wasn’t a clean play and as the ball bounced on the ground the Warbirds defenders dove on it like it was live. And it was ruled a fumble. In retrospect, it wasn’t going to change the outcome of the game, but it may have made it a bit more competitive.

The second quarter had a nice 7 yard catch by Mathias Kackman, and a 4 yard run by Jake Kuchera. Both PATs would fail, and Wyndmere/Lidgerwood would take a 28-0 halftime lead. The two squads exited the field. And in short order, the last 24 minutes would commence. I stayed on the field inside the rope along the cars for the visiting Hatton/Northwood fans.

The field, like Northwestern’s, was east to west with a small grove of trees to the southwest corner far beyond the usable bit of land for fans. Fans lined up their cars, SUVs, and trucks to truly tailgate or to just watch from the comfort of the cabin. The wind was blowing quite fiercely at times and I wouldn’t fault anyone from staying comfortable. Even if the temperature was decent the wind gave a chill when it gusted.

In the third quarter, Jake Kuchera rattled off a 74 yard touchdown run. But the PAT failed. And finally, with 6:30 left in the quarter, the Thunder scored on a 30 yard TD catch and run by Teddy Peterick. Levi Kackman would answer, though, on a 37 yard TD catch. The run by Arth was good. Who, if memory serves me, was the beneficiary of the first TD. But my notes didn’t put the number. Which really irks me. Because I had thought my tweet had went through.

In the final frame, with running clock going, Logan Larson would cap the scoring for the hosts, with a 13 yard TD run to the right edge. The two-point pass to Manstrom was good. And Wyndmere/Lidgerwood would reach the half century mark with just 55 seconds left.

And on what would be the final scrimmage play of the game, the Thunder would lateral the ball twice in the backfield, with the quarterback finding a completely wide open forgotten man downfield. Ander Thorsgard would snag the ball and race the rest of the way for a 72 yard touchdown. With the clock running, a two point play was attempted but came up short. Wyndmere/Lidgerwood 50, Hatton/Northwood 12.

After the game I took photos of the seniors and introduced myself to Coach Strenge. Who I had been informed of by another coach I know in North Dakota. Nice guy. Wish them well the rest of the way through the playoffs. I might be back in the future. I definitely enjoyed myself in Wyndmere.


2022 HSF Wk 8 South Dakota

2022 HSF Wk 8 South Dakota

2022 HSF Wk 8 South Dakota

2022 HSF Wk 8 South Dakota

2022 HSF Wk 8 South Dakota

2022 HSF Wk 8 South Dakota

2022 HSF Wk 8 South Dakota

2022 HSF Wk 8 North Dakota

2022 HSF Wk 8 North Dakota

2022 HSF Wk 8 North Dakota

2022 HSF Wk 8 North Dakota

2022 HSF Wk 8 North Dakota

2022 HSF Wk 8 North Dakota

2022 HSF Wk 8 North Dakota

2022 HSF Wk 8 North Dakota

2022 HSF Wk 8 North Dakota


With this being a work related weekend, I only counted the miles between games. 143 total miles and only spent $44. $32 was on food, of which $14 was at Wyndmere. And $12 was donated for the Toy Box Donation Drive that Wyndmere had setup for those attending the game. For the weekend, all four teams were new. Both stadiums (being very generous with the term) were also new. This brought me up to 46 games on the year in 10 states. I’m getting really close to 1,500 teams. And probably will reach that total by the end of the year. Big trips to Iowa, Minnesota, and Texas remain. Along with state finals in Pennsylvania but I’ve seen so many of the ‘regulars’ that it will probably only be a few new teams.

Next Week

I’m going to be in Arizona. No clue what games to see. There’s not a ton of options. There’s a few Thursday night games around Phoenix. And that’s it. Friday is wherever I find interesting. It looked like there’s a Saturday night game in Lordsburg, New Mexico that I may just happen to stumble upon. Unless the drive to Las Vegas isn’t nearly as far as I’m thinking for Friday night. I still have never seen a game in the Silver State. And not a lot of opportunities. But, there is no Saturday games around Las Vegas. The few are up in the Sierra Nevada range and Carson City area.

2022 Statistics

46 Games
90 Teams
27 Stadiums
10 States

52 New Teams
18 New Stadiums

1,449 different teams
461 different stadiums

1,319 total games

For more, and larger, photos from this weekend, click HERE.

For photos from previous weeks and seasons, visit http://www.flickr.com/sykotyk/sets/

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