By Brett Nachtigall
EDGEMONT – Football fans of the Edgemont Moguls were treated to a preview of things to come last Friday night, Aug. 24, as they witnessed a first in the state of South Dakota in more than 60 years as the Moguls hosted the visiting Crawford (Neb.) Rams in a game of six-man football.
Despite the final score showing a decisive 58-28 victory in favor of the Rams, the game was much closer through the first three quarters as Edgemont actually held a 14-7 lead at halftime before giving up 38 points in the fourth quarter alone, as the Moguls struggled down the stretch.
Edgemont head coach Dustin Christensen however was very proud of his team's effort to start the game.
“We came out firing on all cylinders and went up 14-0,” Coach Christensen said. “I thought in the first half we were having fun, and on defense, we were playing as a team in regards to tackling. The one thing that hurt us though was we came out at half and did not have any energy and resulted in giving up 51 points in the second half.”
The South Dakota High School Activities Association (SDHSAA) currently has four classes of 11-man football (11AAA, 11AA, 11A and 11B) and three classes of nine-man football (9AA, 9A and 9B), each based on the enrollment.
Edgemont this year is continuing to compete in Class 9B like they have in the past, however, after the SDHSAA announced earlier this year that 9B schools could move to play in a new six-man class of football, they were allowed to take advantage of an opportunity to give the new style of football a try this year after Crawford was moved to six-man football in Nebraska this season.
In addition to fewer players on the field, other differences in play include a smaller field that is 80 yards long x 40 yards wide (instead of 100 x 50), teams start each series at 1st and 15 (instead of 1st and 10), field goals are worth four points (instead of three), PAT field goals are worth two points (instead of one) and running PATs are worth only one (instead of two). In addition, each quarter is 10 minutes long (instead of 12) and on offense, the ball must first be passed or handed off before it can be advanced.
“Overall, I thought our offense did very well as Caleb Simons threw for 101 yards with two passing touchdowns and one rushing touchdown,” Coach Christensen said. “Ryan Simons had 60 yards receiving with one touchdown catch. Kaleb Darrow had one touchdown catch to go on the night.”
Caleb Simons' two TD passes came on back-to-back drives in the first quarter, the first of which went to Kaleb Darrow after the left-handed Simons scrambled back-and-forth in the back field before finding Darrow wide open in the end zone.
An interception by Caleb's older brother Ryan during Crawford's next drive set up the next Mogul score as the brothers hooked up on a long 60-yard pass which hit Ryan in stride on his way to paydirt.
“On defense, Grant Darrow was a stud as he had 11 total tackles for us,” Coach Christensen added. “Chance Grill had 10 total tackles with 1.5 sacks; Ryan had a pretty good night as well with seven tackles, 1.5 sacks, and an interception. However, on defense, we will need to work on form tackling and not over pursuing the ball carrier as we got burned a few times for big plays.”
While the second half highlights favored Crawford, one very bright spot for the Moguls took place early in the third quarter, right after Crawford took their first lead of the night by a score of 20-14. That lead however was short-lived as Caleb Simons returned the ensuing kickoff 77 yards straight down the left sideline, directly in front of all his teammates and coaches, which put Edgemont back on top 22-20 with 7:14 left. The Rams however would answer that as well, with two more touchdowns of their own to retake the lead 32-22 heading into the fourth quarter.
“This week we have Hill City coming to town who will be a very good football team,” Christensen said. “We will be preaching form tackling and to keep being competitive for all four quarters.”
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.