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Class 11A State Champions move to Class 11AA for 2021 season

Titan fans will get a chance to see the 2020 State A Football Champions take to the field this Friday, Aug. 20 as the Tea Area High School football team is planning a scrimmage under the Friday night lights at 7:59 p.m. Fans will also get a chance to see the middle school football team who will be scrimmaging at 7:29 p.m. The regular season for the Titans will begin on Friday, Aug. 27 in Brookings.

Tea Area will see some different opponents this year, moving to Class 11AA. While playing in Class 11A, the Titans claimed the State Championship in 2018 and 2020. Titan head coach, Craig Clayberg is hoping the team can continue their success despite moving up in Class but realizes they will have to do so without some key players lost to graduation.

Graduating last spring were Austin Lake, Garrett Kolbeck, Conner Mulder, Kaden Johnson, Braden Beach, Caden Ellingson, Luke Rettedal, Ian Bennett, and Trevor Welch.

“We lost some good players from last year on both sides of the ball,” said Clayberg. “It will be difficult to replace those guys. Staying healthy will be a big factor in the outcome of our season.”

Returning starters for the Titans’ offense this season will be wide receivers Cael Lundin and Kade Schentzel. Both Lundin and Schentzel are seniors. Lundin recorded one receiving touchdown for the Titans last season. Schentzel had three receiving touchdowns.

Running back, Jaxon Weber, also a senior, will return. Last year he had 237 yards rushing and two touchdowns. Senior center Thomas Ostrem will return to the offense also with Junior guard Griffin Schneider.

Defensively, the Titans return corner Jeff Worth who recorded six interceptions last year. Linebackers Isaac Johnson and TJ Krietlow also return. Johnson had 60 tackles on the season and Krietlow 54. Weber will return defensively to play safety, a position where he recorded three interceptions in 2020. Senior defensive tackle Trevor Taylor returns for the Titans along with junior corner, Blake Thompson.

Kicker Chase VanTol also returns for the Titans. Last season VanTol went 32/37 for point afters and 5/6 for field goal attempts.

Titans expected to fill the void of those lost to graduation include Seniors Hayden Hindberg and Klayton Sattler; Juniors Jackson Smythe, Reis Kirschenman, Nathan Babb and Conner McKinney.

With the new faces on both sides of the ball, Clayberg realizes it will be just one of the challenges that face the team as they compete as the smallest team in Class 11AA.

“We need to have a great off-season and need our younger players to contribute in a big way,” said Clayberg. “We have a bunch of hard-working players who know what it takes to be successful and love to compete.”

Those athletes will get their first chance to compete on Aug. 27 when the team travels to Brookings for a 7 p.m. match-up.

The Titans host Sturgis on Sept. 3, travel to Huron on Saturday, Sept. 11; travel to Mitchell on Sept. 17; host Watertown on Sept. 24; travel to Rapid City on Oct. 1 to face Rapid City Douglas; host Aberdeen Central on Oct. 8; travel to Spearfish on Oct. 15 and host West Central on Oct. 21.

Clayberg is assisted this season by Brent DeBoer, Scott Frey, Brent Johnson, John Niesen, Zach Gors, Matt Johnson, Austin Koehler, Matt Brue, and Logan Shockman.

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