The St. Thomas More Cavalier football team kept its undefeated record intact as it closed out the regular season and heads into the playoffs with a 48-0 win over Todd County at home on Thursday night.
Jake Aanderud helped lead the Cavaliers to their ninth win of the season, scoring in a wide array of different ways.
Aanderud’s first score of the game came on a 62-yard punt return to give the Cavaliers a 7-0 lead with 10:24 remaining in the first quarter.
A few minutes later, Preston Arity connected with Aanderud on a 56-yard strike to take the 13-0 advantage.
On Todd County’s next possession, Aanderud added another touchdown, this time on the defensive end as he intercepted a Bryant Burnette pass and returned it 65 yards. Cameron Fees gave the Cavaliers a 27-0 lead on a 2-yard run to close out the first quarter.
Aanderud added to his touchdown total on a 14-yard touchdown scamper in the second quarter.
More would score two more touchdowns to put the game away at the half.
“The biggest thing that we wanted to work on was being crisp and ready for next week,” Cavalier head coach Wayne Sullivan said. “We wanted to eliminate mistakes. There are certain things we have to work on and overall I was very happy about the way we played.”
Sullivan credited his team for going unbeaten, while playing well on both sides of the ball all season.
“Any time you can go 9-0 in the season, your boys played well offensively and defensively,” he said. “I think this team has proven it can play on both sides of the ball. When they communicate, you know they’re doing good things.”
Aanderud finished with two carries for 55 yards and one catch for 56 yards, while Arity completed all six of his passes for 142 yards and two touchdowns. Jake Larson chipped in with 40 yards on two carries and a score, followed by Ross Skinner, who caught one pass for 43 yards and a touchdown.
Todd County, which closed out the regular season at 2-7, was led by Burnette as he finished with 24 carries for 78 yards.
Heading into the playoffs on Thursday night, Sullivan knows his team will have to bring a different level of intensity and more importantly, focus.
“Going into the second season, our focus has been a little bit sharper knowing that we can be one and done,” he said. “We want to get after it no matter who our opponent is.”
After winning the Black Hills Conference, the Cavaliers have completed one of the two goals they set at the beginning of the year. They’ll now look to complete the second, starting with Hot Springs on Thursday night.
“We set two goals every year; first, to win the Black Hills Conference. The second is to win the state title. We want to end the season on a win, that’s our main focus right now.”
WINNER 64, JONES COUNTY/WHITE RIVER 0: Winner scored 56 first quarter points as it rolled to a lopsided win over Jones County/White River to close out the regular season.
The Warriors scored the easy win with a balanced rushing attack, led by Cameron Kuil who had three carries for 68 yards and two touchdowns. Matt Smither added seven carries for 58 yards and a touchdown, while Jayden Schroeder carried the ball twice for 32 yards and a score. Ty Bolton and Kayleb Brozik chipped in with one rushing touchdown apiece.
Winner’s defense held Jones County/White River to just two yards of total offense in the game.
Winner (8-0) awaits its opponent in the opening round of the playoffs. Jones County/White River finishes the season at 2-6.
LYMAN 42, KADOKA AREA 32: Lyman carried a 30-20 lead into the half and didn’t look back as it edged Kadoka Area on Thursday.
Carter Collins helped the lead way for Lyman with 22 carries for 94 yards and three touchdowns. Jesse Schindler completed eight passes for 175 yards and a score, while Tate Wagner caught three passes for 78 yards and a touchdown.
Kadoka Area’s AJ Bendt had a big day offensively with 22 carries for 119 yards and four touchdowns; he also completed seven passes for 142 yards and a touchdown.
Lyman closes out the season at 4-4, while Kadoka Area finished with a record of 2-6.
BENNETT COUNTY 50, ST. FRANCIS INDIAN 0: Bennett County took a 34-0 lead into the half as it downed St. Francis Indian.
Bennett County finished the game with 309 rushing yards, led by Tee Allen with 190 yards and three touchdowns.
Defensively, the Warriors had three interceptions and two fumble recoveries. Elliot DuBray returned one of those interceptions for a touchdown.
Bennett County closes out the regular season at 5-3 and awaits its first round playoff opponent, while St. Francis Indian finished at 4-5.
SPEARFISH 21, HOT SPRINGS 7: Spearfish earned its biggest win of the season as it handed Hot Springs its second loss on Thursday night.
The Spartan defense played a big role in the win as it held Hot Springs to 157 total yards. The Spartans finished with 335 yards, including 50 carries for 258 yards.
Running back Jackson Bogue helped pace Spearfish with 25 carries for 155 yards and a touchdown. Corey Hoffman went 5-for-13 for 77 yards with a touchdown. Jaxon Rosencranz had three catches for 51 yards and a touchdown.
Spearfish ends the regular season with a 4-4 record. Hot Springs closes out the regular season at 7-2.
HARDING COUNTY 48, LEMMON/MCINTOSH 6: Harding County outscored Lemmon/McIntosh 26-0 in the second half to close out the regular season with a win.
Sam Podzimek paced Harding County as he completed 14 passes for 296 yards and three touchdowns. Jarrett Jenson had six carries for 83 yards and two touchdowns and Mason Teigen finished with two catches for 88 yards and two touchdowns.
Dirk Wolf led the way for Lemmon/McIntosh with 20 carries for 81 yards and a touchdown.
Harding County closed out the regular season with an 8-0 record and awaits its first round playoff matchup. Lemmon/McIntosh finished the regular season at 5-3.
PIERRE 55, STURGIS 16: Pierre kept Sturgis out of the win column this season with an easy win on Thursday in Pierre.
Peyton Zabel of Pierre completed 13 passes for 231 yards and four touchdowns. Hudson Rohrbach had five carries for 56 yards and two touchdowns, while Jack Adam caught one pass for 50 yards and a touchdown.
No statistics were made available for Sturgis.
Pierre closes out the regular season at 4-5, while Sturgis finished at 0-8.
LEAD-DEADWOOD 20, CUSTER 14: In a game that was decided by momentum shifts, Lead-Deadwood picked up a narrow win over Custer.
After Custer took a 14-6 lead into the half, the Golddiggers went to work, eventually sealing the win on a Chris Engel 3-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
No statistics were available for Lead-Deadwood.
Micaiah Grace paced Custer with 19 carries for 69 yards and a touchdown and Josias Ballard finished with five carries for 56 yards and a touchdown.
Defensively, the Wildcats were led by Bobby Bertolotto and Aaron Jones with six tackles apiece, while Koby Leighton finished with four tackles, one sack and a punt block.
Lead-Deadwood closed the regular season at 4-5, while Custer finished at 2-7.
WALL 64, NEW UNDERWOOD 12: The Eagles rolled out to a 44-6 halftime lead and never looked back.
With the win, Wall moves to 6-2, while New Underwood fell to 4-4. Both teams will compete Tuesday in the first round of the state playoffs.
No statistics were made available for Wall.
Jacob McNutt led New Underwood with five catches for 133 yards and one score, and a 65-yard kickoff return for a TD. Kaden Clark finished with 52 yards on 10 carries and Colton Cogdill was 5-of-20 passing for 133 yards. Defensively, McNutt had six solo tackles, two assisted tackles and one pass interception.