A couple of weeks ago Rapid City Stevens gave Sioux Falls Washington all it could handle in a 29-28 loss.
The Raiders were not about to let another Sioux Falls school off the hook.
Stevens forced five turnovers in what was a sometimes sloppy, but still effective, 23-19 win against Sioux Falls Lincoln Friday night at O'Harra Stadium.
"I think it's big because everyone talks about that, 'you haven't beat a Sioux Falls team yet.' We gave Washington everything they wanted a couple of weeks ago, so it's nice to get that 'W,'" Stevens coach Scott Hagen said. "The kids can play with a little more confidence and expect that when they play a Sioux Falls school, that anybody, any night, can beat anyone."
Lincoln falls to 1-6 on the season, but Patriots coach Jared Frendenburg said he was proud of how hard his young team played.
"I'm happy with how we competed, it's just young kids' mistakes," he said. "Running the wrong route, lining up correctly, dumb penalties. Teigan Heckel threw the ball really well I thought, he stood in the pocket well. They made plays and we didn't."
Heckel ended the game going 13-of-22 passing for 81 yards.
"Defensively, we did well, offensively we struggled a little bit, but we got it done when it mattered," Heckel said. "Overall it was the defense that really shut them down. Offensive can step it up."
Early on it looked like it might be Lincoln's night. Despite losing a fumble on its first drive, Lincoln got on the board first, with a 48-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Terel Eisenbraun to Hunter Merkley with 5:25 left in the quarter.
Stevens would respond later in the quarter with a 26-yard drive off one of Eisenbraun's three interceptions. Ruger Sartorius would cap off the drive with a 3-yard touchdown run with 26 seconds left in the quarter to tie the game 7-7.
To start the second quarter, the Raiders got another break as a snap sailed over Eisenbraun's head and out of the back of the end zone for a safety. Early in the second quarter Stevens held on to a 9-7 lead.
The quarterback-center relationship wasn't always smooth for Lincoln, as several snaps sailed over Eisenbraun's head or out of his hands.
"It's inexperience. They're faking like they're blitzing, and sometimes they are and sometimes they aren't and he (the center) he is just getting ahead of himself," Fredneburg said. "It's a 15-16 year old kid, and he's a sophomore. He's going to be a really good player. He's a great competitor and there's no one more mad than him."
The Stevens offense couldn't get much going off the safety, but the Raider defense stepped up again. With 7:20 left in the first half another snap sailed over Eisenbraun's head and this time it was recovered by Brian Petereit for a touchdown.
Petereit would also have an interception later in the game.
Going into the locker room, Stevens led 16-7.
In the second half, Jalen Johnson and Petereit both picked off Eisenbraun on consecutive plays. A 1-yard touchdown run from Sartorius would make it 23-7, and although Lincoln got two touchdowns late, the damage was done.
Eisenbraun scored a 9-yard touchdown with 5:52 to go in the fourth quarter, and after the 2-point conversion attempt failed the score was 23-13.
The Patriots scored a touchdown on the last play of the game when Eisenbraun found Zach Hanson in the end zone to make it 23-19.
"We played sloppy, no doubt about that, but our kids didn't give up. They kept chipping away," Hagen said. "I told our kids, because some of them weren't satisfied, and I said 'that's good, because you have expectations for yourself.'
"Offensively we have to be able to finish and control the clock when we have the opportunity."
The Raiders defense gave up 298 yards of offense.
"After that first touchdown we gave them we came back with some momentum. Scored a touchdown, got the safety and it seemed like after that we really controlled everything," he said. "We really shut them down offensively and then they got a couple of drives, garbage time, playing lose and playing prevent. Great win for the kids because it's one of the first victories over Sioux Falls so I told them to be proud of that."
The win was one that was important to Heckel too, considering how close the Raiders were to taking down Washington only a few weeks ago.
"We're focused on beating Sioux Falls teams, that's one of our goals," he said. "Mainly our goal was to beat pretty much every team we played because coming in we knew we'd be pretty good. After the Washington game we expected to beat every team."
Stevens is now 4-3 and will take on Sioux Falls O'Gorman on the road. Lincoln will host Brookings next week.