St. Thomas More's Alek Keegan (7) tries to shed a tackle from Bon Homme's Zach Sutera (7) Monday night during their playoff game at O'Harra Stadium.

Chris Huber, Journal staff

It has been slim pickings for West River football fans as far as state championship contenders go.

But now we're down to the semifinals in all SEVEN (man, that's ridiculous, even to type) classes and there are still some West River teams alive.

Who amongst Gregory, Harding County and Philip in nine-man and St. Thomas More and Hot Springs in 11-man has the best chance to win it all?

The Scotties are the top seed in Class 9A but that doesn't mean a whole lot at this point. They're going to have to beat a very good team in Wolsey-Wessington on Saturday before even getting a chance to worry about the winner of a Howard vs. Alcester-Hudson semifinal in the Dome. All three of those teams were ranked ahead of Philip in the final SD Sportswriters poll of the season.

Gregory is probably the best bet as the highest remaining seed in Class 9AA.

STM has to feel pretty good about its chances against Groton this weekend and the Cavaliers played Parkston tough in last year's semifinal in 11B, but it's hard to overlook More's Dome history. Also, it wouldn't be terribly surprising if maybe the Cavs got caught looking ahead to a rematch with a loaded Parkston squad.

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Hot Springs? Sorry, Bison fans, but your shot was last year. Too tall of an order to go into Madison and get a win this weekend. That's not a jab at anybody in Hot Springs (that's one of my absolute favorite coaching staffs around) but Madison is just too good. Good luck and I hope you win, but somebody would have to give me four TDs before I'd bet on you.

So, who do you think is West River's best hope?

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