Dell Rapids Wins Class 11A Championship
The Dell Rapids Quarriers defeated the Madison Bulldogs 12-7 in the 2014 11A State Football title game on Thursday night at the Dakota Dome in Vermillion, SD. Dell Rapids last football title came in 2012. Last year Madison eliminated them in the semi-final round of the playoffs.
Riley Schmidt started the game off big for Dell Rapids, when he returned the opening kickoff 81-yards for a touchdown. The extra point was missed, but with 11:49 left in the first quarter, the Quarriers led the Bulldogs 6-0.
Both teams played tough defense throughout the rest of the quarter, as neither offense could garnish any momentum. At the end of the first quarter, Dell Rapids led Madison 6-0.
Matthew Palli intercepted a Jase Nelson pass early in the second quarter, which put the Bulldogs in the red-zone. Madison couldn’t capitalize though, as Brayden Gilbert missed a 37-yard field wide left.
Dell Rapids then put together a long drive, but were halted by the Bulldogs defense in the red-zone. It was then Madison’s turn as they put together a long drive, but that also was halted by a blocked field goal. At halftime, the Quarriers led the Bulldogs 6-0.
Much like the start of the first half, Schmidt broke loose for a 54-yard touchdown on his first touch of the quarter. With 9:39 to play in the third, Dell Rapids led Madison 12-0. The two-point conversion try was no good.
Madison finally got a spark when quarterback Mitch Nelson found wide out Carter Kasuske on a 71-yard bomb that went for a touchdown. The extra-point was good, and now the Quarriers only led 12-7 with 7:01 left in the third quarter.
Nelson was injured on the Bulldogs next possession. The score would stand for the next three minutes making it Dell Rapids over Madison, 12-7, through three quarters of play.
With 5:43 to play in the game and deep in their own territory, Mason Hemmer (in for injured Nelson) threw an interception to Quarriers defenseman Ben Gillogly, putting Dell Rapids deep into Madison territory.
Madison’s defense then pulled off a must needed stand, forcing a turnover on downs on their own two-yard line. The Bulldogs ensuing offensive drive stalled at midfield, giving the ball back to Dell Rapids.
The Quarriers were then on clock patrol as they ran it down, giving Madison the ball back with only 11 seconds remaining on their own 5-yard line. Dell Rapids forced an incompletion on the final play of the game, to win the 11A title.
Watch the Full Game here
Dell Rapids Head Coach Steven Hansen said he’s extremely proud of his players for fighting a full 48 minutes in the game.
“Hats off to these kids, they work so hard. I said at the prep ralley that these kids work their butts off,” said Hansen. “It was a great defensive battle; Riley Schmidt was the difference, that kick return to start the game was huge for us.”
Joe Robbie MVP winner Riley Schmidt, who is a two-time winner of the award (2012 and 2014), said he’s blessed.
“It’s truly just an honor, an unbelievable feeling. It’s not just one guy, all 11 do it,” said Schmidt. “We really regrouped in the offseason. We knew we had to work hard to go out on top.”
This is the fifth state title for the Dell Rapids Quarriers in the past seven seasons.