PIERRE, S.D. — The head coach for undefeated Pierre T.F. Riggs told his players to stay off social media after his team beat winless Spearfish 103-0 in the first round of the Class 11AA playoffs on Thursday, Oct. 31.
The Governors lead 96-0 after three quarters. The lopsided victory isn’t even the biggest blowout in the state, as according to maxpreps.com, Miller defeated DeSmet 118-0 in 1918.
After Govs head coach Steve Steele had a few days to think about it, he said the game was polarizing for all involved.
“It was one of the most polarizing mixture of emotions we’ve ever had at the conclusion of any game,” Steele said. “Being so proud of every kid that stepped onto the field for us for giving every play their very best and earning the success that they experienced throughout the game, while also feeling sick for how the other sideline had to be feeling. Knowing what it feels like to be on that sideline really makes your heart hurt for their players, coaches, and community. But at the same time again, you are so proud of each and every Gov that represented our community in a great way as well.”
The score of the game received a great amount of attention from media outlets throughout the state, and even nationally in Minneapolis. Paul Papst, a producer of “The Dan Patrick Show,” tweeted about the game, saying “C’mon Spearfish!”
A running clock was implemented for the fourth quarter.
Currently, there is no mercy rule in Class 11AAA and Class 11AA. SDHSAA executive director Dan Swartos responded to some of the criticism of that rule by tweeting that both classes have resisted a mercy rule due to travel. There is a provision in the NFHS rule book that allows for games to have shortened quarters or be ended early, but coaches and officials have to agree to it.
The Governors host Mitchell at 7 p.m. Friday night. The Govs defeated the Kernels 75-7 during the regular season.
Steele told his players after the game to stay off social media, because there would be a lot of people saying negative things about him and his team based on the score. Despite all the negativity that has persisted the past few days, Steele said that he is thankful for the support him and the team have received.
“There is nothing in this world that going home, hugging your wife and children, and spending time with God can’t fix,” Steele said. “No matter what happens in our lives, having a support system that you know loves you and is always there waiting with open arms is what matters in life, and our coaching staff models that and prays for everyone one of our players to have that right now as kids, as well as in their adult lives someday. We are all very thankful to have those right now and know that nothing people say define who we are as people or a football family.”
According to Steele, several people have reached out to him and his team to lend their support. The community has rallied around the team and come to the Govs’ defense, be in publicly or privately.
“It’s been impossible to completely shelter ourselves from all of it, but we owe a gigantic thank you to everyone (players, coaches, school and community) for playing their part in making this program what it is, a family,” Steele said.