Titans survive Yankton, bring perfect record to State



After claiming the Class 11A State Championship title last year, the Tea Area High School football team is headed back to the DakotaDome— this time competing for the Class 11AA State Championship.

The Titans hosted Yankton on Friday, Nov. 5 in semi-final action and after leading 28-7 it looked like Tea Area was going to cruise into the Championship game; however, Yankton had other plans. The Bucks scored 14 unanswered points in the fourth quarter and attempted a throw into the end zone as time expired which failed, allowing the Titan faithful to breathe a sigh of relief. Tea Area held off Yankton’s come back attempt and took the 35-28 victory to remain undefeated on the season at 11-0. The Titans advance to the State AA Championship game scheduled for this Friday, Nov. 12.

“I was happy with how our guys came out and really played well for the first 2-3 quarters. They gutted it out in the 4th quarter and hung on for the win,” said Titan head coach Craig Clayberg. “This year’s team has great character and battled as hard as they could. Going up against teams that don’t have a lot of guys going both ways is really tough for us. They put the pressure on us with their hurry up offense, but our guys hung in there.”

Against Yankton, the Titans struck first as Cael Lundin found Klayton Sattler in the end zone on a 30 yard pass. Van Tol’s point after gave the Titans a 7-0 lead. Yankton answered back in the opening quarter as they connected on a two yard pass. The point after was good leaving things tied up at 7-7 heading into the second quarter.

In the second, Lundin connected with Sattler for the duo’s second touchdown of the night, this time on an 11 yard pass. Van Tol’s point after gave the Titans a 14-7 lead.

The Titans managed two more scores before the half as Lundin found Nathan Babb for a 37 yard pass and Lundin found Van Tol for a 50 yard touchdown pass.

Van Tol’s points after gave Tea Area the 28-7 lead at the half.

In the third, Lundin scored his fifth touchdown of the night, this time running it from five yards out on the quarterback keeper. Van Tol kicked through the extra point, giving the Titans the 35-7 lead.

However, before quarter’s end Yankton got on the scoreboard again as they completed a nine yard touchdown pass. The point after left the score 35-14 heading into the fourth.

In the fourth, Yankton scored twice, once on a two yard run and again on a six yard pass. The Bucks managed to have the ball with time running out and got a pass off into the end zone, but the Titan defense stood firm and the pass was no good, ending the game with Tea Area up 35-28.

The Titans finished the night with 371 yards of offense, gaining 225 in the air and 146 on the ground. Yankton racked up 470 yards offensively, gaining 313 in the air and 157 rushing.

In the air for the Titans, Lundin completed ten of 19 pass attempts for 225 yards. He had four passing touchdowns and one rushing touchdown.

Lundin connected with Sattler four times in the game for 77 yards, including two touchdowns. He hit Jaxon Weber four times for 61 yards and connected with Van Tol once for the 50 yard score and Babb once for the 37 yard score.

On the ground, Van Tol and Weber led the rushing attack. Van Tol rushed for 66 yards on 12 carries and Weber rushed for 58 yards on 15 carries.

Defensively, Isaac Johnson forced a Yankton fumble that was recovered by Reis Kirschenman. Johnson and Kirschenman both recorded sacks in the game and Griffen Schnider and Trevor Taylor combined for a sack. Van Tol had an interception in the game.

Leading the Titans in tackles was Jackson Smythe and Van Tol, each of whom had 11. TJ Krietlow had ten, Jeff Worth, Babb, and Weber each had five and Johnson and Parker Mulder each had three. Kirschenman, Schnider, and Taylor finished with two apiece and Hayden Hindberg, Lundin, Sattler and Ethan Vis each had one.

The 2021 Class 11AA State Championship game will be held at the DakotaDome in Vermillion this Friday, Nov. 12. It will feature the highly anticipated match-up of Tea Area vs. Pierre.

“Pierre is a well-coached team that has won the last four 11AA championships. We are really going to have to play within our game plan and trust each other on both sides of the ball. I think both teams are going to do what we do offensively and defensively,” said Clayberg.

Kickoff for the 11AA Championship game is set for 7:30 p.m.