For the second week in a row, the Dell Rapids Quarriers avenged an earlier season loss in the playoffs, this time punching their ticket to the South Dakota 11A Football Championship game. The #7 seeded Quarriers defeated the #3 seeded Dakota Valley Panthers at Dakota Valley High School 25-22 on Friday, November 2nd.
The Quarriers and Panthers found themselves locked in a defensive battle through three quarters of the game.
Dakota Valley got off to a quick start after taking the opening kickoff into Dell Rapids territory. The Panthers thought they had a early touchdown, but the play was negated by a holding penalty. A few plays later, Logan Ellingson intercepted a pass in the endzone with 10:56 to go the first quarter. Dakota Valley would score first later in the quarter. Sam Chesterman had a nine-yard touchdown run with 6:21 to go in the first, and the made extra point gave the Panters an early 7-0 lead. That lead was short-lived as Ellingson returned the ensuing kickoff 89 yards for a touchdown. Hunter Garry made the extra point, and with 6:04 to play in the first quarter, the game was tied at 7-7. The Quarriers took the lead late in the first quarter when Eddie Price connected with Ellingson on an 11-yard touchdown pass. The extra point was blocked, but the Quarriers led 13-7 at the end of the first quarter.
The Quarriers dominated the time of possession in the second quarter. Dell Rapids was able to get a turnover on downs deep in their own territory with 10:52 to play in the half. The Quarriers offense then chewed up nearly nine minutes of clock on the next drive by converting on multiple and third and fourth downs. Dell Rapids had a first and goal to go inside the Panther five-yard line with about 3:00 to play in the half. The Quarriers ran the ball three times, but they were unable to get into the endzone. On fourth down and two, Price threw an incomplete pass, and Dakota Valley held for the turnover on downs. The Dell Rapids defensive held their ground and forced a punt with under a minute to play. The Quarriers had the ball inside the 20-yard line, but Price had a pass intercepted in the endzone with 0:18 left on the clock. Dakota Valley took a knee to end the half, and the Quarriers still led 13-7.
The defenses held tough through most of the third quarter. The Quarriers forced another turnover on downs with 6:35 to play in the third quarter, but the offense could not capitalize. After a Dell Rapids punt, Dakota Valley regained the lead on their next possession. Chesterman scored on a five-yard run with 0:40 with the extra point good. Dakota Valley led 14-13 after three quarters of play.
In the fourth quarter, however, the offenses took control. Dell Rapids got the lead back after a two-yard run by Price with 9:50 to play. The Quarriers attempted a two-point conversion, but it was no good. Dell Rapids led 19-14. In just over a minute, Dakota Valley took the lead back. Chesterman scored his third touchdown of the game on a 50-yard run, and then he scored the two point conversion to give the Panthers a 22-19 lead with 8:39 to play. Not to be outdone in the big-play department, Price threw a 64-yard touchdown pass to Ellingson on a great catch with 7:42 to go. The extra point was blocked, but Dell Rapids took a 25-22 lead.
Dell Rapids had their defense step up big on two different occasions in the last half of the fourth quarter. With 6:26 to go, the Quarriers forced a fumble, and Trevon Cross recovered the ball on the Dell Rapids 40-yard line. Dell Rapids was forced to punt, however, and Dakota Valley got the ball back on their own 27-yard line with 4:49 to play. The Panthers marched down the field to the Dell Rapids 28-yard line with 1:45 to play. Chesterman appeared to score the g0-ahed touchdown on a 28-yard run, but a holding penalty again negated a Panther touchdown. On a third down and twelve, the Quarrier defense stopped Chesterman after a six-yard gain setting up a fourth and six. With 1:13 to go, Chesterman took the snap and ran to his left. The defense shut down the corner, so Chesterman reversed his direction only to find Drew Van Regenmorter waiting. Van Regenmorter tackled Chesterman for a 13-yard loss and a turnover on downs. Price took a knee three times to run out the clock and give Dell Rapids the win.
The Quarriers finished with a total of 277 yards of offense, 174 passing yards and 103 rushing yards. Dakota Valley had 318 yards of offense, 27 passing yards and 291 rushing yards. Dell Rapids had 14 first downs, was 3-14 on third down attempts, and 2-3 on fourth down attempts. Dakota Valley had 17 first downs, was 4-10 on third down attempts, and 1-4 on fourth down attempts.
Price was 9-14 passing for 174 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception. Ellingson hauled in five passes for 141 yards and two touchdowns. Tyler Wood had four catches for 33 yards. Tayte Gleason led the team with nine carries for 68 yards. Logan Stone had five carries for 12 yards. Coby Maeschen led the team with 12 tackles. Ellingson had 10 tackles and an interception. Logan Heim added seven tackles, and Van Regenmorter and Price both finished with six tackles.
Dell Rapids (7-4) will play for the 11A title against the Tea Area Titans at the Dakota Dome in Vermillion on Thursday, November 8th at 7:30 p.m. This will be the seventh trip in the last 12 years to the Dome for Dell Rapids and first trip since 2014. The Quarriers won titles in 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2014. Dell Rapids was runner-up in 2006.