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Pierre’s Maguire Raske finds the open field during the second half of the Governors’ 38-6 win over Brookings in the Class 11AA football championship on Friday night at the DakotaDome in Vermillion.
Photo by Rodney Haas

Governors reign continues in Class 11AA
Nov 14, 2020


By Rodney Haas 

VERMILLION — Perhaps not since West Central in the late 1990s and 2000s has the South Dakota football landscape seen such a dominant team.

But on Friday night in the 11AA championship game, Pierre put itself in the conversation.

The Governors completed their fourth-straight Class 11AA championship with a 38-6 win over Brookings in a rematch of last year’s title game in which the Govs defeated Brookings 32-16.

“This is so fulfilling. They are all different. I’m just so proud of this group coming together,” Pierre coach Steve Steele said. 

Although there have been teams that have won three-straight since 2015, no team has matched West Central’s run from 1996-2005. During that time, the Trojans won 9 of 10 Class 11A titles including winning six straight from 2000-2005.

Until now.

The Governors begin their current run in 2017 with a 24-21 win over Harrisburg and continued winning championships against Huron (2018) and Brookings twice. Friday’s win also marks Pierre’s fifth title, which one its first state championship in 2013.

“A lot of people thought this was our year to go down and end it,” Steele said. “But for these guys to come together and continue to build it and just trusting the process. We can lose a game in the season but as long as we are playing our best football in the playoffs, we can do it again.”

If Pierre is going to make it five straight next year, they are going to have to do without Maguire Raske. The senior led the Govs with 176 yards on 28 carries including a 20-yard touchdown run with 1:38 left to play in the fourth quarter.

But while Raske will be gone, the good news for the Governors next season is quarterback Lincoln Kienholz will be back for his junior season.

On Friday night, Kienholz threw for 151 yards and three touchdowns while completing 10 of 19 passes. He also ran for a score while finishing the night with 24 yards on the ground on 10 carries.

“He’s come so far. He’s a special kid,” Steele said of Kienholz. “The maturity that he showed today and some of those throws. It was great to see him stand in there and understand he’s going to get hit and understand how to maneuver in the pocket. And just delver the ball.

Josh Buri led Brookings (11-2) with 129 yards rushing on 16 carries and was responsible for the Bobcats lone score — a 1-yard score in the first quarter that cut the Governors lead to 7-6.  

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