VERMILLION – The Hawks did it again.
Except this time, they posted the first undefeated season in school history.
Bodee Groos helped Colman-Egan (12-0) get off to a solid start and Kade Groos polished off the victory down the stretch during a 42-28 defeat of top-seeded Sully Buttes (11-1) in the Class 9B State Football championship game Thursday at the DakotaDome.
“Both teams are good teams. It was a fun game to coach, a fun game to play in,” said CE coach Chad Williamson, whose team took the Class 9A title after posting an 11-1 record a year ago.
The Hawks built a 30-6 halftime lead and totaled 300 rushing yards for the game.
Kade Groos was named the Joe Robbie MVP after scoring four touchdowns.
He ran seven times for 124 yards – a 17.7 average – and three TDs while adding three receptions covering 40 yards. The senior added 79 yards on two kick returns, including a 77-yard dash to paydirt, and 29 yards on his lone punt return.
He recorded seven tackles and a forced fumble.
“It stinks to have it your last game but when you end it like this, it’s a great feeling,” Kade Groos said. “During the whole game, I was like, alright, one play at a time; you just have to score here, score this drive, have to stop them. And when that happened, it was a great feeling.
“Back-to-back is awesome. Just one is sweet, and then two is unbelievable. It’s a great feeling.”
Bodee Groos was the Most Outstanding Back.
The senior quarterback rushed for 154 yards and a score on 16 attempts and finished 6-of-9 for 73 yards with a TD through the air. He made 10 stops defensively.
“Sully Buttes is a really physical team,” Bodee Groos said. “Their line is really big, so we had to fight through their blocks to get to their back.
“It feels about the same as last year, you know, we’re happy we got the win and we’re the first team in Colman to have an undefeated team, so that’s nice.”
Colman-Egan had a touchdown called back by a penalty during its opening drive, before eventually turning the ball over on downs at the Chargers’ 22-yard-line.
However, a bad snap by Sully Buttes resulted in a fumble recovery for Colman-Egan’s Dalton Voelker soon thereafter. Kade Groos then capped a six-play, 39-yard drive with a 1-yard scoring scamper out of the Wildcat formation with 20 seconds to go in the opening period.
The Hawks forced a punt early in the second quarter and Bodee Groos took off for a 54-yard touchdown run up the middle a play later. His throw to Keith Crisp on the two-point conversion made it 14-0 with 7:07 showing on the clock.
“Bodee always plays great,” Williamson said. “He does a nice job, he plays hard; he’s a great leader; he’s tough. He took some hits, and the same thing on defense, he made some great defensive plays. So it was a big deal for how well he played. He had a big night.”
Alec Landis, the game’s Most Outstanding Lineman, recovered a fumble deep in Charger territory two plays later.
Bodee Groos hooked up with Dalton Voelker for a 20-yard touchdown toss and added the two-point pass to Crisp to push the margin to 22-0 with 5:33 to play in the second.
The teams exchanged turnovers later in the stanza – Kade Groos stripped Nick Wittler and Nate Tolley recovered for the Hawks, while Wittler pounced on Bodee Groos’ fumble for the Chargers.
Sully Buttes found the scoreboard with 56 seconds left in the half as Devan Kleven hit Wittler for a 20-yard touchdown.
Kade Groos fielded the ensuing kickoff and proceeded to take it to the house.
“The two gunners on the left were coming pretty hot and I knew if our outside guy got that block, I just had to fit in the hole,” he said. “When I got in the hole, I knew I just had to beat the guy next to me in a foot race. I just took off from there.”
Crisp’s two-point run made it 30-6.
“It’s always a nice thing to score on special teams,” Williamson noted. “It’s always a big deal. You’d like to think your offense would have driven the ball down and scored and taken some time off the clock, but for him to do that – it’s always good to put points on the board.”
Sully Buttes made things interesting with consecutive touchdowns in the second half as Morris Hofer found paydirt from 2 yards out with 4:54 to go in the third and Kleven found Grant Johnson for an 8-yard TD with 7:54 remaining in the game. Kleven’s two-point conversion run cut the deficit to 30-20.
Kade Groos came up with a pair of big plays after that.
He scored on a 53-yard rush on the next play from scrimmage and added the two-pointer, putting the Hawks on top 36-20 with 7:42 left.
Kleven and Wittler connected again for a 3-yard score with 4:38 showing on the clock. The duo combined for a successful conversion, as well, pulling the Chargers within 36-28.
Kade Groos broke through the left side of the line for a 50-yard touchdown run on the next play from scrimmage to provide for the final margin with 4:26 to play.
“I knew our line was going to get the blocks and when they got the blocks, the holes were huge,” Kade Groos said. “And right when the holes opened up, I just took off. I broke a couple tackles and got in the end zone.”
Added Bodee Groos, “He’s one of our best players. People underestimate him; they don’t know he’s that fast and then we just use that against them. And, like you saw, he scored two easy touchdowns right away.”
Colman-Egan never seemed to panic when Sully Buttes cut it to a one-score game.
“They don’t get shook up,” Williamson added. “Our team isn’t really that emotional about things like that, they just know to play hard and stay together. They didn’t really get shook up, it was more of just we had to start getting our act together and playing harder and doing what we’re taught to do.”
Crisp paced the Hawk defense with 12 tackles and Hemmer added 11.
Landis made nine stops. Ty Hiller recorded a pair of sacks, both of which came late in the game.
For Sully Buttes, Kleven broke the 9B championship-game record for completions (21) and pass attempts (39) while throwing for 250 yards and three touchdowns.
Wittler racked up 107 yards and a pair of scores on a 9B championship-game record 10 receptions. He had seven kick returns for 116 yards.
Johnson added 97 yards and the TD on eight catches. MacKenzie Weinheimer picked up 72 yards on the ground.