BHSU Gilmore

Black Hills State senior Payten Gilmore runs for a touchdown in practice Thursday at Lyle Hare Stadium. The Yellow Jackets open the season Sept. 7 when they host Chadton State College.

To challenge in the tough Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, Black Hills State University head football coach John Reiners stole a quote from senior defensive end Jarrell Ganaway.

"Good ain't good enough. We have to be great," Reiners said Thursday afternoon during the fall sports media day at the BHSU Hall of Fame Room. "We have to make sure we are great in everything we do."

The Yellow Jackets were good a couple years ago when they went 8-4, coming off an 0-13 campaign. The last two seasons have been tougher, as BHSU went 4-6 in 2017 and 3-8 in 2018.

"We haven't been very good the last two years," added Reiners. 

Reiners said he talked to some of the Jacket leaders in the summer for what they wanted to do, to set the tone for what they need to do in the preseason, preparing for the season.

"They have really responded to that challenge, which has been our motto all of the season, 'The response,'" Reiners said. "This has been a very physical training camp. We told them we were going to push them in these first two weeks and they will start getting their legs back under them for our first game."

Reiners said the Jackets need to be challenged if they want to find success that we can get," he said.

"We know our guys have been very hungry," he said. "The last two seasons haven't been what we think is success. There are things we can do better as coaches, there are things we can do better as players."

Reiners said the 13 seniors this season have been motivated; they want to be challenged and asked to be challenged.

"They rose up during the summer to hold guys accountable, getting people here in the summer. And when they are are here, be here for a purpose," he said.

Senior running back Payten Gilmore (793 yards rushing in 2018, 1,432 yards in his career) has been in Spearfish in each of his seasons with the Jackets, and he said their success has to start with hard work.

"I like the growth with players in the summer," he said. "We have to have players step up, whether they are seniors or juniors, sophomores, even freshmen."

Consistency on both sides of the football has to improve, Gilmore said.

"You can't expect one side to win the game for us," he said. "We have to put points on the board and our defense has to get stops. We just have to trust each other."

The Jackets have five quarterbacks vying for the starting spot, with the graduation of Ryan Hommel. They include sophomores Tyler Hammons and Riley Glynn, redshirt freshman Chance Eben and transfers Andrew Tolliver (Arizona) and redshirt freshman Cade Uhrick (Colorado State-Pueblo).

"It is really good to see people from different perspectives. It adds a lot of dimension to the quarterback position," he said. "We're just waiting for Sept. 7 and that person who gets the starting job can execute and produce for us and be the general on the field."

Reiners indicated that he could name a starting quarterback by the end of the week.

"We're looking to compete and see who wants to step up and take the reigns," Gilmore said.

Ganaway, at 6-foot-5 and 256 pounds, said they are looking to become a dangerous defense in the offense-happy RMAC. He said they have to play their game and go after people.

Three seasons ago, the Jackets' defense was among the national leaders in takeaway. That has dropped in the last two season, as well as the wins.

He said when the defense is successful, the team is successful.

"We want to be a group of guys that the offense fears," he said. "You can't come out and be passive, you have to be aggressive and get after people. We have to make offenses wonder what we are doing, rather than us worrying about what they are doing."

The Jackets will scrimmage Friday night at Lyle Hare Stadium at 5:30 p.m. They'll open the season Sept. 7, hosting Chadron State College.

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