Deubrook Area beats Howard in 9AA championshipVERMILLION (AP) — Ryan Knutson rushed for 259 yards and Deubrook Area held off a late rally to beat Howard 25-22 Thursday in the South Dakota 9AA football championship game.
By: Brooke Cersosimo, The Daily Republic
VERMILLION — The Howard Tigers outscored Deubrook Area 16-0 in the second half of the Class 9AA football championship game, but were unable to complete a comeback, losing 25-22 Thursday at the DakotaDome.
Howard climbed out of a 19-point deficit from the first half to pull within one score of the Dolphins. With Deubrook leading 25-6, the Tigers got a 10-yard touchdown run from Evan Donahue with 2:56 left before halftime. A late fourth-quarter touchdown pass from Landon Laible to Steve Larsen brought the Tigers within three points.
Howard had a chance to take possession of the ball with 30 seconds remaining in the game. However, the Tigers were denied a final possession when a Tiger defenseman was called for roughing the punter, giving Deubrook Area the final first down it needed to seal the game.
“I thought our kids played great and if we would’ve had another minute, we might’ve won this game,” Howard head coach Pat Ruml said. “You can’t wait against a good team like this. You have to do it in four quarters and we only played two.”
Tiger quarterback Landon Laible said the team’s run to the title game was memorable, but everything in this game happened too little, too late.
“Our team came together really well in the postseason, and it’s just sad that we didn’t finish it,” Laible said. “That second half was Howard football. If we would’ve played like that the whole game, it would’ve been a different story.”
Deubrook outgained the Tigers in total offense 286-162 in the first half. Deubrook’s Ryan Knutson came out ready to play early, scoring touchdowns of 62 and 63 yards in the first quarter.
“We were not physical and didn’t adjust to their speed very well,” Ruml said. “Deubrook played a great football game, and they deserve to be champions.”
Knutson was named the Joe Robbie most valuable player and the outstanding back of the 9AA championship game. Knutson recorded 259 yards on 24 carries and is the first player in South Dakota nine-man history to get 40 rushing touchdowns in one season.
“Ryan is a very humble, hard-working leader,” Deubrook head coach Adolph Shepardson said. “He’s not a ‘me’ guy. If you ask him about his performance, he’s going to say it’s because of his teammates.”
This is the Dolphins’ first-ever state football championship title and Shepardson said his team handled the pressure of the championship game like professionals.
“I’m just proud of them and the way they believed they could do this,” said Shepardson, whose team finished the season 12-0. “When you’ve never won a state championship, it takes a lot of belief. You have to believe in something that you can’t see and our kids did that.”
Dolphin quarterback Taylor Olsen led the air attack with 7-of-11 passing for 100 yards. Clayton Dahl recorded 10 tackles for Deubrook and was named the most outstanding lineman.
Howard was led by Luke Loudenburg, who had 26 carries for 134 yards. Laible completed 7 of 19 passes for 77 yards and one touchdown. Donahue recorded 84 yards and two touchdowns on 11 attempts in the loss.
DEUBROOK AREA 25, HOWARD 22
Howard 0 6 8 8 — 22
Deubrook Area 14 11 0 0 — 25
DEU—Knutson 62 run (Glatzer kick), 9:23.
DEU—Knutson 63 run (Glatzer kick), 6:04.
HOW—Donahue 6 run (pass failed), 8:22.
DEU—Hanson 4 run (Hanson run), 6:03.
DEU—FG 22, Glatzer, :12.
HOW—Donahue 10 run (Schwader pass from Laible), 2:56.
HOW—Larsen 11 pass from Leible (Donahue run), 2:00.
RUSHING—Howard, Loudenburg 26-134, Donahue 11-84, Potter 6-46, Kuhle 7-26, Laible 1-(minus 2). Deubrook, Knutson 24-259, Olsen 6-26, Hanson 6-12.
PASSING—Howard, Leible 7-19-1-77, Schwader 0-1-0-0. Deubrook Olsen 7-11-1-100.
RECEIVING—Howard, Kuhle 3-28, Schwader 1-20, Larsen 2-19, Loudenburg 1-10. Deubrook, Trooien 4-56, Hanson 3-44.