TEA, SD – The Tea Area Titans used a devastating ground game and an aggressive defense to grind out a 39-13 win over the Sturgis Scoopers in a first-round 11AA playoff matchup.
The Titans came into the game as the #3 seed, hosting the #6 seeded Scoopers for the second time in the last three seasons.
Tea Area started their opening drive in the first quarter with good field position at the Scooper 44-yard line. Titan running back Cole McKinney capped a six-play drive with an eight yard touchdown run, giving Tea Area a 6-0 lead after the extra point attempt was blocked.
The Scoopers answered on their first drive of the game as quarterback Aiden Hedderman found a seam in the Titan defense and scored from 12-yards out to give Sturgis a 7-6 lead with 7:33 left in the first quarter.
From that point on through the remainder of the first half it was the Keegan DeYoung show for Tea Area. The senior running back took over, scoring three times on touchdown runs of five yards, 26 yards and five yards, giving the Titans a 25-7 halftime lead.
Tea Area extended their lead to 39-7 following two quick third quarter scores by Riley Svanda and Sam Werdel.
Sturgis finally got on the scoreboard in the second half with a seven yard touchdown strike from Hedderman to Dalyn Dschaak with 1:48 left in the third quarter.
The Scoopers moved the ball to the Tea Area 20-yard line on their final drive and threatened to score but were thwarted by the Titan defense, ending the game with a 39-13 Tea Area win.
The Titans finished with 425 yards of offense, 353 yards on the ground and 72 yards passing. DeYoung finished with 13 carries, 99 yards and three scores.
Sturgis had 213 total yards of offense. The Scoopers ran the ball 23 times for 89 yards and were led by Hedderman, who had 16 carries for 71 yards and a touchdown. Hedderman completed eight passes for 124 yards and one score. Jadon Blair collected 11 tackles for the Scoopers, who fell to 6-4 on the season.
Tea Area improved to 7-3 and will travel to Yankton to take on the #2 seeded Bucks at Crane-Youngworth Field on Friday. The #1 Pierre Governors host the #4 seed, the Watertown Arrows at Hollister Field.