Kernel Gameday: Kernel Bowl game provides bounce-back opportunity for Mitchell football

·3 min read

Sep. 2—Off a season-opening defeat last week, the Mitchell High School football team is home again for a matchup with Sturgis in the seventh annual Kernel Bowl game. Here's what to know ahead of the contest:

When:

6 p.m.

Where:

Joe Quintal Field

Records:

Mitchell 0-1; Sturgis 1-0.

Last meeting:

Mitchell and Sturgis haven't played since the 2020 regular season when the Kernels traveled west and the Scoopers defeated the Kernels, 42-20.

Last week:

No. 3 Yankton came to Mitchell and left with a 45-6 win last week, while Sturgis met Rapid City Central in the Rushmore Bowl and shut out the Cobblers, 38-0.

Notes:

Sturgis nabbed the No. 5 ranking in this week's media poll from Mitchell, with the Kernels clinging to a single vote as the lone vote-getting team outside the top five in Class 11AA.

With the past four meetings coming Oct. 9 or later, Friday will be the earliest meeting between the two teams since the 2016 regular season when the Kernels won 68-8 as part of their state championship campaign.

About the Kernels:

* Mitchell owns a 3-3 record in Kernel Bowl games, including a 33-14 defeat to Aberdeen Central last season. However, the Kernels are 2-0 against West River opponents in the contest's history — Spearfish in 2019 and Douglas in 2020 — winning by a combined score of 110-40.

* Mitchell has performed well against the Scoopers in recent history. Since 2015, the Kernels and Scoopers have faced off seven times, including twice in the playoffs, with Mitchell winning six of seven games, the lone stumble coming in the last meeting.

* Perhaps the most promising part of the Kernels' season-opening effort came from the defensive front seven. The box score shows Mitchell recorded two sacks, but the pressure on an elusive quarterback in Rugby Ryken was nearly constant. The Kernels would do well to duplicate that performance against a Sturgis team that threw the ball a lot last week.

* The Kernel offense will look to take a step forward after a bumpy first showing. Mitchell had 160 total yards, 63 of which came on a single play (a Treyson Schulz pass to Mick Dailey) and 49 more came late in the game after both teams' starters had been pulled. Overall, the Schulz to Dailey pass was one of only two Kernel plays that went for more than 7 yards.

About the Scoopers:

* Sturgis matched Mitchell's 3-6 regular-season record in 2021 but was the No. 8 seed in the playoffs, where top-seeded Tea Area knocked out the Scoopers, 57-10

* The Scoopers' offense got off to a hot start, piling up 402 total yards and 38 points on Rapid City Central last week. That point total surpassed all but one Sturgis output against Class 11AA or 11AAA from last season (a 40-13 win over winless Douglas).

* It was an air-raid attack for Sturgis last week, as 386 of the Scoopers' 402 yards (96%) came through the air. Starting quarterback Owen Cass accounted for almost all of it, finishing 18-of-28 for 378 yards and four touchdowns. Cass' leading receiver Tyan Buus hauled in seven passes, racking up 203 yards and three scores.

* On defense, Sturgis was stingy against the Cobblers, giving up just 143 yards of total offense (62 rushing and 81 passing).

* Sturgis last posted a top-four regular-season finish in Class 11AA in 2019 and 2020. As the No. 4 seed in the postseason both times, the Scoopers were eliminated by the No. 5 seed in the quarterfinals, including a 35-28 defeat to Mitchell in 2019.

Next:

Mitchell takes the road for the first time this season for a contest against five-time defending state champion Pierre at 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 10. Sturgis returns home to host Aberdeen Central on Sept. 10.