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Panic Button

I'm here because I'm a Sports Authority...THEE Sports Authority

With a week off, John Kludt and the Winner Warriors had time to do a few other things.

By Rich Winter

Alright, I've had Winner on the brain all day today. Kind of hard not to when you see that special, special video from South Dakota Public Broadcasting floating around talking about the pride that goes into Winner football.

There were a lot of impressive moments and thoughts from that video but the one that kept resonating in my mind, all day was the thirteen trips to the Dakota Dome (reaching state finals) and the 6 championships that have accompanied those trips to Vermillion.

"Dynasty" was what one of my Todd County brothers breathed back to me when I shared the link with him.

As I saw the shot of the championships, the one thing missing on that highly respected list of champions is back-to-back titles. With a title in 2015 already under their belts, and a 5-0 record while outscoring the opposition, 262-6 is beginning to generate a little buzz with GOAT (Greatest of all time) attached to said buzz.

Could they beat Black Hills State someone asked last week?

I'm not quite ready to venture down the road of GOAT just yet, but it's coming. Hard not to the way this team is rolling people this season.

John Kludt needed some love today:

Don't know this for sure but only guessing that John Kludt is a coach of a flag football team over in Winner...Too bad they are the Bears....JK.

I am always amazed by acts of good sportsmanship and in kind, kids that are going good things during their formative years. Was impressed at the end of the Todd County cross-country girls varsity race when Chamberlain's Ella Byers cheered for and yelled for Winner's Sidda Schuyler coming down the stretch of a terrific run. Was also impressed with a Crow Creek girl who stopped briefly during the varsity race to pat someone on the back that was really suffering from the race.

Saw a little Facebook post today with a picture of John Kludt with some congratulations for several recent accomplishments, all coming in about the space of a week.

1. Being named to the Winner Warriors Homecoming Royalty court

2. Passed Boy Scout Eagle Rank Review

3. And named to All State Choir.

Shut up...That's an impressive year, let alone a week.

I don't know these Winner kids as well as I'd like to and sometimes I sit over here in Mission and wonder what people think about this Panic Button guy writing nice things about the kids over that way, BUT, sometimes this stuff is really cool.

Football is such a big thing over in Winner, always has been, but five, ten years down the road, most of these Winner kids won't be playing football anymore. Nice to see someone like Kludt who was organized and steadfast enough to get his Eagle Scout. Employer looks at the resume, Eagle Scout - Yes please.

Pretty impressive fellas, have a good week getting ready for next week.

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The Winner Lady Warriors claimed their fifth title of the season Tuesday when they won the girls division at the Todd County Invitational.

By Rich Winter

Had a pretty terrific Tuesday, which is rare these days. Cross country race in the afternoon in my own backyard and a volleyball match between rivals Winner and Todd County, in Winner, with China Buffet prior to attending the game and broadcasting a bit with Jody Brozik on Winner Warriors Live - Twas a pretty good day.

That said, the day had a bit of a Winner Lady Warrior feel to it and right from the get-go the Winner cross country team laid down a big effort at the Todd County Invitational to win the team title, their fifth of the season so far.

Happy to see Chloe Bartles enjoying some team success: I'm afraid to talk to Chloe Bartles, there, I said it. Not sure why, but it's been really interesting to follow her career at Winner over the last six seasons. While she's carried the torch a little more solo in her first five years, her skills have not diminished and she's enjoying the success that comes from having a team to work with and a team to work for.

Bartles finished 4th in a very competitive varsity race, 5k time of 21:32

Chloe Bartles running with Todd County harrier, Karli Prue, checks the runners behind, looking to see where her Winner teammates are.

Sidda Schulyler - 2nd place - 20:20 - Okay, Schulyler ran her butt off yesterday and finished 58 seconds behind the Class A wrecking ball, Ella Byers of Chamberlain. She laid it all out there on the track and gave a good effort on what is a more difficult course than at first meets the eye.

While Winner's top two runners have been making plenty of noise, it was everyone else that really got the team championship ball rolling as just about everyone on the Winner squad looked good Tuesday.

6th - Samantha Schulyler - 21:49

8th - Jaclyn Laprath - 22:27

9th - Aryn Meiners - 22:34

15th - Saige Schulyler - 24 - minutes

Team points: Winner 20, Todd County 36

You do not want to see the Winner volleyball team staring across at you in the Class A playoffs:

Sorry, I'm a terrible volleyball photographer, but kind of a funny moment just before the match with Todd County started.

Alright, I'd seen the 4-9 record for Winner coming into the match, I'd also seen an early season schedule that was loaded with good teams like Bon Homme, Miller, Lyman, Mobridge/Pollock, Tea Area and Sisseton.

Like many of the teams in Region 7A, the Lady Warriors are young. Asked coach Jaime Keiser about that tough pre-season schedule prior to the match and she affirmed that it's been a bit of a challenge facing such a tough schedule with such a young roster. But, young rosters have a way of growing up by mid-season and Winner came to play in set one.

Really impressed with the hitting of sophomore,Abby Marts in that first set. Not only did she have the absolute ram it down your throat kill, but she had the misdirection kill, the down-the-line kill and the reach back and kill, kill, even when the set isn't perfect.

Winner clicked on all cylinders in set one and ran away with it, 25-6.

Todd county really battled though in set No.2 and the Lady Warriors had a little more trouble with the return game. Todd County led, 21-20 with sophomore, Alexis Richey serving, but just before the serve, Keiser called time.

Clutch serving down the stretch from Richey, who drove home five straight service points as Winner won, 25-21.

The third set, again, was a pretty good test for two teams playing at a good level. Marts started to find her range again, sister, Samantha Marts got active again, and Richey, just kept on being Richey.

Was really impressed with the hitting of No. 4, Madyson Frazier, who takes the cross court kill to a whole new level. Frazier isn't going to get all the sets but she handles enough to keep the blockers from ganging up on the Marts sisters. Most impressed with the play of outside hitter, Racher Sherman who is on the court despite suffering an ACL injury in basketball a year ago. Sherman does so many little things, tipped balls, blocks at the net, an effective hitter, and I think, someone who provides some much needed leadership for a youngish Winner squad.

Another tough contest, Winner prevailed, 21-19 to move to 5-9 on the season.

With the playoffs reseeding after teams reach their respective region finals, it will be interesting to see how much better/more dangerous Winner can get in the next month.

© 2016 All rights reserved. Interactive One Millennial

St. Francis lowering the boom on 11A football

St. Francis quarterback Shane Witt getting ready to hand the ball to fullback, Joe LaPointe.

By Rich Winter

If you would have told me prior to the start of the high school football season that St. Francis Indian School would be 4-1 on the season after five games I probably would have laughed. Pains me to use the word laughed, but seriously, I've been here a few years and the very idea that little ole St. Francis could string together this kind of season just hasn't been in the vocabulary.

Had a great moment with noted fashion icon photographer, Jerry Matthews during the St. Francis Homecoming over Todd County. Both of us have been around long enough to remember the days when it was pretty sparse on that St. Francis Indian School sideline. There were times when it would be me, Jerry, Bigginz, Coach Holy Eagle, eleven guys on the field and 2-5 little guys on the sideline just in case.

And in that Homecoming game, Jerry and I had to duck and weave through some extra bodies that have joined in this wonderful ride for this smallest of football towns in South Dakota that has NEVER made the high school playoffs.

I believe that we will win:

Wasn't it awesome seeing that many people in the stands at a St. Francis Indian School football game.

There was a moment late in that Homecoming win over Todd County when the St. Francis student section, all gathered together began chanting,

"I believe that we will win, I believe that we will win."

While part of me wanted to urge caution that the win hadn't been sealed yet, another part of me just turned around and smiled because after many, many years of long-suffering losses to Todd County, the St. Francis faithful had something to cheer about.

While this winning streak and 4-1 special season have breathed life into our small community here on the Rosebud, I would be remiss if I didn't mention a lot of people that put a lot of hard work and a whole lotta blood sweat and tears to get this program where it is today.

I watched through that losing streak and all of the pain and frustration that comes with that baggage. I watched a lot of seniors, hand their heads and look to the sidelines for help, even though there was no help from able bodies. And then, I watched when Bigginz Anderson took over as head coach. While the wins weren't as numerous, there was that first win to get an enormous monkey off the backs of the St. Francis Indian School football program. Then there were two wins in a season and a shutout.

Bigginz has taken over the junior high program and developed some of that young talent that Holy Eagle is now utilizing at the high school level.

My mind is drawing a blank but I recall guys like Derek Two Eagle, and Chey Pey's boyfriend (sorry, I'm weary this morning) and big guys on the line. Sorry I don't have the names but I have the faces and a lot of memories of guys that laid the foundation this team of 2016 is enjoying.

Head coach Ryan Holy Eagle has been extremely complimentary of assistant coach Roger Wonnenberg. Every time I talk with Ryan, and it's not nearly enough (I apologize for that), he's always got good things to say about Roger and how much he's brought to the program.

Ya know how we live in this bucket of crabs society where the moment someone has this glimpse of success, we start tryin to bring em down. Someone told me that St. Francis, in relation to their upcoming game with Belle Fourche would probably have a bunch of kids quit by halftime. Thought that was a terrible thing to say. I've seen this bunch since pre-season when Ryan was telling me about the strength of the front-7, and I see a lot of guys on that defense that won't quit, even if they're playing St. Thomas More or better.

There are some good football players on this team. Ty Arcoren is an exceptional talent at RB, and he's a heck of a defender and a big hitter from his position back at safety. Favorite player on the team is Draven Young. Small guy, everytime he's around the ball he's laying the wood. Joe Lapointe, Zane Hesse, Ashton DeCory, Thomas Molina, Danny Eagle Road. I still hear the pop, Maypiha Horse looking delivered with that block against Todd County. Lotta terrific athletes on this roster and there ain't no quit in Shane and Thane Witt.

So, St. Francis Indian School football team, you just keep on doing what you're doing cuz it's fun, it's impressive and it matter!

St. Francis Indian School with the win over Todd County

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