The Mitchell Kernels are big, fast and feature 19 senior starters out of 22 positions.
The Kernels also have two wins, have scored 70 points and are ranked fifth in this week's Class 11AA poll. Aberdeen Central hosts Mitchell tonight at 8 p.m. in an Eastern South Dakota Conference game at Swisher Field. The ESD game follows Aberdeen Roncalli and Milbank at 5 p.m.
On average this is the largest team we've had up front with height as well as overall size, said Mitchell football coach Kent VanOverschelde. It's a luxury we haven't had the last few years. One of our team strengths is speed. Our kids up front came in prepared and the early workouts weren't as difficult. Preparation breeds success and confidence.
After back-to-back 2-8 seasons in 2008-2009, Mitchell posted a 4-6 mark last year.
Aberdeen Central (0-2) led Pierre by a score of 12-6 last week until the Governors scored the winning touchdown with less than two minutes remaining in the game.
We executed a lot better in the Pierre game than the week before, said Central coach Mike Flakus. We had a couple of scoring drives and moved the ball at times. We can do better and finish drives. That will be important. The kids were disappointed but we just got back to work. The Pierre game was one we could have won.
Flakus also pointed to the Kernels' team speed with the Greenway twins (Jason and Justin) and quarterback Brent Havlik.
They make a lot of big plays, he said. Offensively, their MO (modus operandi) is that they run some option. If you don't have your responsibility taken care of, they can score in a hurry.
Mitchell currently holds the distinction of the best football team outside of Sioux Falls. The four Sioux Falls schools are ranked one through four in the weekly poll. The Kernels were one of the preseason favorites for the ESD crown.
Everybody in the ESD knows that every week, you have to be ready to play, said VanOverschelde. Last year it was a three-way tie and that's the norm in the ESD. We go week-by-week. Our team has the persona of a blue collar ethic. Our focus this week has been the game in Aberdeen. There's always a competitive atmosphere there. Hopefully, we'll be ready to play at kickoff.
Game Notes: The game will be live-streamed at http://www.605sports.com. ... The game will be broadcast on KGIM-AM (1420). ... Mitchell twins Justin and Jason Greenway are cousins to Minnesota Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway who just signed a $41 million five-year contract. ... Justin Greenway is playing this season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament.
Ht. Wt. Yr.
WR Eric BortnemÉ6-0 195 Sr.
LT Jayrd GuerickeÉ6-3 245 Sr.
LG Justice HinkerÉ6-1 210 Jr.
OC Taylor HerrickÉ6-3 205 Sr.