It’s not very often a team would look forward to facing a four-time defending state champion, but head coach Brady Muth and the Bucks are hoping to take down the Pierre Governors at Friday night’s homecoming game at Crane Youngworth Field.
“I don’t think I’d ever say that I was thankful that we were playing Pierre, but it’s good to have a quality opponent like Pierre on your homecoming,” Muth said. “It keeps everybody focused. It’s a tough task for sure.”
The Bucks (2-2) fell to Sioux Falls Jefferson 38-35 last week. The Bucks played a lot of the game from behind, but were able to keep things close and interesting throughout. The Bucks are outscoring opponents 99-2 in their two wins, but have been outscored 78-63 in the losses.
With homecoming week and the midpoint of the season upon the Bucks, the focus is getting over the hump. Muth said he has a strong team, but the scoreboard just hasn’t gone in the Bucks favor in close games against tough opponents.
“The two teams we lost to are two pretty good football teams with some pretty dynamic players,” Muth said. “I don’t want to take anything away from the teams we played. The teams we’ve played had good games against us, we’ve got to be better at competing.”
The Bucks offense is averaging 4.9 yards per carry this season, a stat that surprised Muth this week. He said he still feels there is a lot of work to be done rushing the ball, but is happy with the offense’s balance.
“If you would have told me that we would be averaging five yards per carry and we’re running the ball more than we are throwing it, that’s where we want to be,” Muth said. “I think we can be a little bit better running the ball.”
The Buck defense will look to limit the big plays this week against Pierre, something Yankton struggled with against both Aberdeen Central and Sioux Falls Jefferson. The Bucks also lost the time of possession battle this season, but Muth said his offense’s four plays per minute pace attributed to that number quite a bit.
“We’re getting blown out in time of possession, but that’s okay because we’re running nearly four plays every minute and the other teams are running two,” Muth said. “If we’re going to be more successful and want things to go the way we want them to, we’re going to have to get off the field on defense.”
For Pierre, Lincoln Kienholz is the star Yankton will be looking to stop at Crane Youngworth.
“Stop Lincoln Kienholz is number one,” Muth said. “They run a unique offense and it puts our defense mentally in tough places. You’ve got to make sure that you’re diagnosing exactly what’s going on on the field.”
The Bucks and Govs kick-off at 7 p.m. at Crane Youngworth Field in Yankton.
“I think what you see with us is a team that’s really close,” Muth said. “Unfortunately we just haven’t done enough to get the scoreboard to go our way.
“We’ve had a good week of practice, and we’re going to find out Friday if it was enough.”
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Pierre (3-1) at Yankton (2-2)
7 p.m., Crane-Youngworth Field
SERIES (since 1981): Yankton holds a 33-12 lead.
LAST MEETING: Pierre avenged a regular season loss to Yankton, beating the Bucks 21-12 in the semifinals on the way to a fourth straight Class 11AA title.
LAST TIME OUT: Yankton dropped a tough 38-35 decision to Sioux Falls Jefferson. Pierre rolled past Douglas 43-0.
NEXT UP: Yankton hits the road for the first time since Sept. 3, heading to Mitchell. Pierre hosts Huron as the Governors celebrate their homecoming.