Push to the Playoffs: Where Class 11AAA Teams Stand Past Halfway Mark
Only four weeks of the regular season remains for South Dakota Class 11AAA football. Here's where each team stands as the finish line approaches.
As we have documented throughout the season, Class 11AAA is playing a full round-robin schedule this season. With that schedule setup, we will all have the best method to seed out teams and seed them fairly based on head-to-head wins. Eight out of the ten 11AAA teams makes the playoffs.
The final four weeks of the season will be a crazy run to secure the top seed of the class. Brandon Valley, Harrisburg, Lincoln, and Roosevelt are all 4-1 to start the season. O'Gorman is sitting right behind that group at 3-2. O'Gorman is the dividing line for the class right now, as there are four teams that are separated by one game battling for the final three spots.
Abbreviations for rest of article: Roosevelt (RHS), Brandon Valley (BV), O'Gorman (OG), Lincoln (LHS), Washington (WHS), Harrisburg (HHS), Aberdeen Central (AC), Rapid City Stevens (RCS), Rapid City Central (RCC), Watertown (WAT)
Roosevelt is in a great spot following a win over Harrisburg in Week 5. The Rough Riders are through the gauntlet of teams in 11AAA and will play its final four games against teams that are a combined 4-16 this season. Roosevelt should be considered the favorite to grab the #1 seed for the 11AAA playoffs.
- Wins: BV (Week 1), LHS (Week 2), RCS (Week 4), HHS (Week 5)
- Losses: O'G (Week 4)
- Ahead: @ AC (Week 6), @ RCC (Week 7), vs WAT (Week 8), @ WHS (Week 9)
Brandon Valley (4-1)
Brandon Valley is the class favorite and they have proven through the first five weeks that they should be in that conversation. The Lynx dropped the first-week game against Roosevelt, but since then they have outscored opponents 159-71. Brandon still has Lincoln and Harrisburg on the back end of the schedule but should be right in the mix for the top seed.
- Wins: O'G (Week 2), AC (Week 3), RCC (Week 4), WAT (Week 5)
- Losses: RHS (Week 1)
- Ahead: @ LHS (Week 6), vs. WHS (Week 7), @ HHS (Week 8), vs. RCS (Week 9)
The question surrounding the Tigers entering the Roosevelt game in Week 5 was regarding how strong the team really was. The opening four weeks of the season were played against teams in the bottom of the 11AAA standings. Harrisburg showed that they belong in the top of the class conversation in the close loss to Roosevelt. Important matchups for the Tigers at the back end of the schedule against Lincoln, Brandon Valley, and O'Gorman will determine where the Tigers fall going into the playoffs.
- Wins: RCC (Week 1), WHS (Week 2), RCS (Week 3), AC (Week 4)
- Losses: RHS (Week 5)
- Ahead: vs. WAT (Week 6), @ LHS (Week 7), vs. BV (Week 8), @ OG (Week 9)
If you would have asked any of the other 11AAA coaches entering this season for a team they thought could surprise and scare everyone, most would have answered Lincoln. The Patriots have the ability and talent on the first-team depth chart to make noise. Lincoln fell to Roosevelt in Week 2, but the game was closer than the score indicated. The highlighted win for Lincoln was against O'Gorman on September 20. We're going to learn a lot more about the Patriots in the next two weeks when they play Brandon and Harrisburg.
- Wins: WAT (Week 1), WHS (Week 3), OG (Week 4), AC (Week 5)
- Losses: RHS (Week 2)
- Ahead: vs. BV (Week 6), vs. HHS (Week 7), @ RCS (Week 8), vs. RCC (Week 9)
The Knights are dealing with injuries this season with multiple players that have missed games over the last few weeks. Getting healthy will be important to O'Gorman in the final few weeks. At almost full strength, they dominated Roosevelt at Presidents Bowl. Losses to Brandon and Lincoln could keep O'Gorman in the middle of standings entering the postseason, but the final four games set up nicely for the Knights in regards to the opponents they will play.
- Wins: RCS (Week 1), RHS (Week 3), RCC (Week 5)
- Losses: BV (Week 2), LHS (Week 4)
- Ahead: @ WHS (Week 6), @ WAT (Week 7), vs. AC (Week 8), vs. HHS (Week 9)
Rapid City Stevens (2-3)
Rapid City Stevens picked up a 3OT win over Washington at home during Week 5. The Raiders have been looking for a statement win to help turn around the direction of the school. That win may have done that. They will face city-rival RCC in Week 6, but then have to travel to Aberdeen, host Lincoln, and travel back to the east side of the state to face Brandon Valley. RCS has struggled against the top Sioux Falls metro area schools outside of Washington, but they should be near the 6-7 seed in the playoffs once they arrive.
- Wins: WAT (Week 2), WHS (Week 5)
- Losses: OG (Week 1), HHS (Week 3), RHS (Week 4)
- Ahead: @ RCC (Week 6), @ AC (Week 7), vs. LHS (Week 8), @ BV (Week 9)
We knew that entering the year that the Washington Warriors would be young and that development would take some time. The team has faced some injury issues, and now starting quarterback Max Thomson could be out a couple of weeks after a hit he took at the end of the RCS game. It won't get any easier for the Warriors, as they have meetings left with O'Gorman, Brandon Valley, and Roosevelt ahead. Wins over Aberdeen and Watertown, and if they are able to beat RCC at home in a couple of weeks, should put Washington into the postseason. This roster may struggle throughout the rest of this year, but they could be a very good football team in 2020 and 2021.
- Wins: AC (Week 1), WAT (Week 4)
- Losses: HHS (Week 2), LHS (Week 3), RCS (Week 5)
- Ahead: vs. OG (Week 6), @ BV (Week 7), vs. RCC (Week 8), vs. RHS (Week 9)
Aberdeen Central (1-4)
Outside of an opening season 35-0 loss to Washington, Aberdeen Central has kept games interesting. The Golden Eagles have fairly close losses to Brandon (29-21), and Lincoln (25-13). Aberdeen's playoff lives will depend on the upcoming games against Rapid City Stevens and Watertown. They finish up a strong stretch of games against the top of the class this week against Roosevelt.
- Wins: RCC (Week 2)
- Losses: WHS (Week 1), BV (Week 3), HHS (Week 4), LHS (Week 5)
- Ahead: vs. RHS (Week 6), vs. RCS (Week 7), @ OG (Week 8), @ Watertown (Week 9)
Outside of a win over Rapid City Central, Watertown has struggled against the rest of Class 11AAA. The next three weeks will be tough with games against Harrisburg, O'Gorman, and Roosevelt. If Aberdeen doesn't pull away, the playoff hopes for Watertown could ride on the final week of the season when they take on the Golden Eagles.
- Wins: RCC (Week 3)
- Losses: LHS (Week 1), RCS (Week 2), WHS (Week 4), BV (Week 5)
- Ahead: @ HHS (Week 6), vs. OG (Week 7), @ RHS (Week 8), vs. AC (Week 9)
Rapid City Central (0-5)
Three of the five losses for the Cobblers have been within one possession. They played Harrisburg, Aberdeen, and Watertown down to the wire, but were blown out by Brandon and O'Gorman. Style points don't matter in the win/loss system, and the Cobblers will need to beat RCS this week, maybe pull off an upset against RHS/WHS/LHS in the final three weeks, and get some help to get into the playoffs this season. The downside to the schedule for them is that they will have to travel to Sioux Falls back-to-back weeks in Week 8 and 9. If they were to qualify for the playoffs, they could potentially have to travel back to town for the quarterfinals.
- Losses: HHS (Week 1), AC (Week 2), WAT (Week 3), BV (Week 4), OG (Week 5)