Kernel Gameday: Mitchell football kicks off 2023 season at ESD rival Yankton

Aug. 23—MITCHELL — The wait for the 2023 debut of the Mitchell High School football team is nearly over.

After missing out on the postseason last season, the Kernels' pursuit of returning to the playoffs enters full swing on the road Friday night, as Mitchell meets up with Eastern South Dakota Conference rival Yankton.

Here's what to know ahead of the contest:

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Where: Crane-Youngworth Field, Yankton.

Records: Mitchell 2-7 last season; Yankton 6-5 last season.

Last meeting: Mitchell hosted Yankton to open the 2022 schedule on Aug. 26, 2022, at Joe Quintal Field. That evening, the Bucks ran away with a 45-6 win.

Last week: Friday marks the season opener for both sides, as neither was in action during the first weekend of the 2023 season.


* Yankton ranks No. 3 in the Class 11AA preseason poll, while Mitchell did not receive a vote in preseason poll.

* This season marks the third time since 2014 that the ESD rivals open the season against one another, with the Bucks winning the prior two by a combined score of 73-8.

* Dating back to the 2014 season-opener, Yankton has won seven of 10 in the series. Mitchell last defeated the Bucks in 2019, with the two other wins coming in 2016 and 2017.

About the Kernels:

* Mitchell enters the 2023 season with a new head coach for the first time in nearly two decades. Pat Larson, a longtime MHS assistant, will make his head coaching debut on Friday.

* Running back Mick Dailey, a senior on this year's MHS roster, accounted for 86 total yards against the Bucks last season, rushing for 23 yards and adding a 63-yard reception out of the backfield. Dailey and now-junior running back Parker Denne combined for nearly 600 total yards in 2022.

* In last season's matchup in Mitchell, the Kernels allowed nearly 400 yards of offense to the Bucks. For the season, Mitchell allowed 377 yards per game to opponents while gaining 269 yards per game on offense.

* A 2-7 record last season left the Kernels on the outside of the Class 11AA playoff picture looking in. It was the first time in 10 years that MHS had missed out on the postseason.

* The Kernels' last trip to the DakotaDome for the state championship game was during their 2016 title-winning season. Mitchell is the last team other than Pierre to win a Class 11AA championship.

About the Bucks:

* Yankton went 5-4 during the regular season in 2022, earning the No. 4 seed in the Class 11AA playoffs. The Bucks rolled through Brookings 49-14 in the quarterfinals before falling to eventual champion Pierre 59-31 in the semifinals.

* The Bucks are in search of their fifth-straight season-opening win, having won three in a row by a combined score of 193-18, including last year's defeat of Mitchell.

* Like Mitchell, Yankton graduated several key contributors from last year's team, including all-state talents Rugby Ryken, Tyler Sohler, Cody Oswald and Trevor Paulson.

* In last year's meeting in Mitchell, now-senior Shaylor Platt came off the bench to rush for 48 yards and a touchdown along with 34 yards receiving, as the Bucks racked up nearly 400 yards of offense. Another returner, Matthew Sheldon, caught a touchdown in the win.

* The last time Yankton visited the DakotaDome was in 2015 when the Bucks polished off the second of back-to-back state championship seasons.

Next: Mitchell makes a West River road trip to face Sturgis on Friday, Sept. 1, while Yankton hosts Spearfish, also on Sept. 1.