Titans fall to Yankton in semifinal game
On Friday, Nov. 3 the Tea Area High School football team traveled to Yankton to compete in semifinal action against the Bucks. This marked the Titans first road semifinal match-up since 2011, having home semifinal games in 2016, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022.
The Titans went toe-to-toe with Yankton and trailed by one point, 25-26 heading into the fourth quarter but a touchdown in the fourth gave Yankton the 33-25 victory and the Titans their first semifinal loss since 2019.
Yankton now advances to the State 11AA Championship Title game to be held at the Dakota Dome in Vermillion Friday, Nov. 10 at 7 p.m. They will face off against Pierre who defeated Watertown, 35-14 to advance.
In the Yankton game, the Bucks struck first scoring on a 53 yard touchdown pass. Tim Halbur blocked the extra point but Yankton was up 6-0. Tea Area answered back as Sam Werdel ran it in from 18 yards out. The Titans’ extra point was also blocked, leaving the score 6-6.
Still in the first Yankton found the end zone once again, scoring on a three yard pass. The point after was good to give the Bucks a 13-6 advantage.
The Titans tied things up once again in the second quarter as Brenner Konrad connected with Werdel for the 31 yard score. Grifin Wiebenga kicked through the extra point, leaving the game 13-13.
Still in the second, Yankton answered back on a 40 yard touchdown pass. The point after was no good, but the Bucks regained the lead, 19-13.
However, Tea Area answered back before the half as Konrad kept the quarterback keeper and ran it in one yard for the score. The extra point was blocked, leaving the game tied at 19-19 at the half.
In the third quarter, the Titans took their first lead of the ball game as Konrad kept the quarterback keeper and ran it in for the one yard score. The two point conversion attempt failed, giving the Titans a 25-19 lead.
Yankton managed to score in the third quarter as well on a nine-yard pass. The point after was good giving them a narrow 26-25 advantage.
Despite their best efforts, the Titans were unable to score in the fourth and watched as Yankton found the end zone on a 21 yard pass. The point after gave them the 33-25 lead and eventual victory.
The two teams were evenly matched with the Titans finishing with 375 yards of offense (320 rushing and 55 passing) and Yankton finishing with 382 yards of offense (282 passing and 100 rushing).
In the air for Tea Area, Konrad completed four of his 12 pass attempts for 55 yards. He had two interceptions in the game.
Werdel grabbed one pass for 31 yards, Brock Ellingson one for 12 yards and Cole McKinney and Keegan DeYoung each had a catch for six yards.
On the ground, Konrad led the attack with 106 yards on 16 carries. DeYoung rushed for 98 yards on 18 carries, Werdel 91 on 12 carries and McKinney 25 on seven carries.
Defensively, Ethan Vis had an interception in the game. Werdel led the team in tackles with six. Carter Christensen, Dawson Eimers, and Tyler Rhead each had four tackles, Jessen Wiebenga three, and Andrew Opland two.
The Titans finished the season with a 7-4 record.