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FALL SPORTS 2017: PAGE 3 PRESS & DAKOTAN ? PLAIN TALK Tennant Set To Lead Bucks Offense BY JEREMY HOECK jeremy.hoeck@yankton.net Garrett Tennant dreamed, like many youngsters in Yankton, of one day taking the field as the quarterback of his beloved Bucks. That’s not to say he didn’t want to become a lineman or a running back. No, he instead had visions of being the one under center. The one taking the snap. The one in charge. It’s now that time for Tennant. The senior takes over this season as the starting quarterback for the Bucks, who are looking to erase memories of last season (3-7 record, early playoff exit) and reclaim their spot as a title contender. “I’ve been waiting for this my whole life, and it’s finally here,” Tennant said before a preseason practice. “It’s been quite the roller coaster.” That’s how it is for every player with dreams of becoming a varsity starter. You typically have to work your way up the ladder — from the freshman team to the sophomore team to the junior varsity team, and eventually the varsity ranks. Tennant has done that. The 5-foot-11, 191-pound senior had a solid season for Yankton’s JV squad last season and saw action in six varsity games. He completed 3-of-8 passes for 14 Yankton setter Cameryn Specht is one of five seniors returning for the Ga- yards in that limited action as the zelles volleyball team. backup to Nate Stephenson. An opportunity to soak up as much knowledge from someone like Stephenson — who had guided Yankton to a state BY DYLAN HUGGINS having some other new faces, but they championship in 2015 — wasn’t seem to mesh really well as a group,” sports@yankton.net one Tennant said he was going to she said. waste. There are 13 girls on the varsity rosEDITOR’S NOTE: This article origi“He knew a lot about the game ter, including seniors Jennica Delvaux, nally appeared in the Aug. 22 edition of and had control of the offense,” Cameryn Specht, Kate Budig, Emily the Press & Dakotan. Tennant said. “It was more Oswald and Holly Mines. leadership, too; he was a great The junior class includes Caitlyn The Yankton volleyball team finleader.” ished with a record of 2-19 last season, Bargstadt, Maddy Hochstein, Jessica And that’s a trait Tennant has Reinhardt and Noel Kusek, while the but head coach Tiffany Beste said that carried over into his season as sophomores include Hailey Gokie, Ivy her team has stayed busy preparing the team leader, according to his Mines, Brooklyn Bernatow and Gabby for the upcoming season and that she coach. is hopeful the preparation will help the Pietila. “He did a lot of stuff in the “Our team chemistry seems to be re- summer to get himself ready,” Gazelles as the season goes on. ally good, but we have a lot to improve Yankton head coach Arlin Likness “We have had open gym a couple on from last season and hopefully we of days all summer long and attensaid. can start this season like where we dance has been great at those and we “He’s fairly confident right ended last season and improve as the have had most of the girls show up,” now, but we’ll have to see how year goes by.” she said. “We went to three different that confidence in practice carReinhardt led the Gazelles last team camps which gave our setters an ries over to a game.” season in digs with 247 and finished opportunity to work with others in an Sure, he’s confident, but even with 134 kills. Specht had 296 assists actual game setting and so hopefully Tennant said he’s been anxious to that time spent in the gym this summer and 222 digs on the season. Ivy Mines finally get out there on the field and the offseason is going to pay off for had 140 digs, Haley Mines finished with as the leader of his team’s offense 137 digs and Delvaux earned 109 digs. us this season.” — he’ll also play on defense in Hochstein and Budig each had 89 kills. the secondary. Beste said that there will be an Beste said that the serve and adjustment period due to having some “I’m already having trouble receive aspect of the game will be key new players, but that the girls have sleeping thinking about the first once again for the Gazelles. worked together well so far. couple games,” Tennant said, “We will have some new kids on the YHS VB | PAGE 4 with a smile. court so there will be some adjusting to Gazelles Ready To Turn A Corner YHS FB rounded,” Diedrichsen said. “And we’re working on some new techniques and things that help with pass FROM PAGE 2 protection and everything to keep Garrett safe.” opposing defenses to key in It became apparent on the aerial attack, Likness through the summer and the said. preseason practices that the “Last year, we had to offensive line looked stronthrow,” he said. “But I want to ger, according to Tennant be able to throw when I want — he takes the quarterback to and run when I want to.” reins this season. And the offensive line “It’s going to be a good was, as a result, an area of year for the line,” Tennant emphasis over the summer said. “They look strong and and through the preseason. fast and physical. It’s nice to The goal, according to Diedfeel comfortable back there.” richsen, is to avoid senior Yankton’s running game quarterback Garrett Tennant graduated its two top rushers being chased all over the from a year ago, but returns field after the line breaks senior Ray Wermers (129 down. yards, 2 TD), junior Caid Ko“We really tried to work on letzky (70 yards) and junior getting our offensive line a lot Levi Wiersma (11 yards, 1 stronger and more technically TD). Slowey Construction 2510 W. 31st. Yankton, SD (605) 665-8489 But it’s in the passing game where the Bucks return the most weapons. Back is leading receiver junior Rex Ryken (32 rec., 495 yards, 7 TD), as well as senior Oakley Palmer (17 rec., 156 yards), senior Cameron Krejci (11 rec., 122 yards, 1 TD), senior Casey Krejci (10 rec., 90 yards, 1 TD), Wermers (7 rec., 53 yards) and senior Josh Galvan-Hofer (6 rec., 50 yards). It’s those weapons around him that Tennant said makes him feel comfortable in his first season as a full-time starter. “It’s nice to know I have guys out there who can go make plays, even if I don’t necessarily make a great pass,” he said. On the defensive side of the ball, Yankton will be looking for new leaders to emerge. Roy Johnson Roofing, Inc. • Standard Seam • Repairing & New Roofs • Built-Up Roofing • One-Ply Roofing System FREE ESTIMATES 500 Burleigh Yankton • 665-7731 201 Pine St. Yankton, SD 57078 • jeff@jjbenji.com PH (605)260-0920 • Jeff’s Cell: (605)661-6351 FloorTec CERTIFIED Restoration Services “For Those Who Insist On The Best” Water • Smoke • Mold • Fire 665-4839 JEREMY HOECK/P&D Garrett Tennant attempts a pass during a Yankton football preseason practice. Tennant, a senior, takes over as the starting quarterback for the Bucks this season. “It’s very nerve wracking, but at the same time you have to go in with confidence and push through it.” Tennant now takes the reins of an offense that struggled to maintain a run game last season. Yankton averaged under 80 yards per game on the ground, but the Bucks did manage to average just under 200 yards (199.9) through the air. And as such, if every facet of the offense takes a step forward, Tennant’s job will be far less stressful, Likness said. “If everybody does their job, that makes it easier,” he said. The Bucks put a major emphasis over the offseason on strengthening and improving the offensive line, which struggled to the point that Stephenson was frequently forced out of the pocket. “This year hopefully we can The Bucks graduated their top six tacklers, but return Ryken (33 tackles, 6 INT), Cameron Krejci (32 tackles, 1 INT), senior Kobe Bowker (29 tackles), Palmer (28 tackles), Wiersma (28 tackles, 0.5 sacks) and Wermers (22 tackles, 2.5 sacks), among others. It’s not as though the Bucks are short on experience on defense, but they’re looking for that side of the ball to take a step forward, Likness said. Opponents last season averaged 199.9 rushing yards and 134 passing yards per game. As far as special teams, Yankton returns junior Michael Drotzmann (36.3 yards per punt, eight inside the 20-yard line) to the punting duties. At kicker, the Bucks return Cameron Krejci (14-of16 extra points) and junior Let us “Brighten” your way! B E Yankton rightway lectric LLC (605)665-8073 2507 Fox Run Parkway Yankton www.firstchiropracticcenter.com Locally owned * Proudly Serving South Dakota and Nebraska. Licensed Insured Warrantied Work Residential Commercial Service *Bucket Truck Available* Mike Suing • 605-760-3505 Rod McNatt • 605-661-9594 sit in the pocket when we want to and roll out when we want to,” Likness said. While Tennant may not have the mobility of Stephenson (who also rushed for 213 yards last season), he can certainly tuck the ball and run when necessary. “He’s a deceptive runner and throws the ball pretty well,” Likness said. “We’ll wait and see, but right now in practice his pre-snap reads are all pretty good.” So far, Tennant looks the part of a leader who can guide the Bucks to an improved 2017 season, but the coaches know his true impact will be known once he sees more action, Likness said. “We’ll see if the pressure of a game gets to him, but if it doesn’t, he’ll be pretty good for us,” Likness said. Cole Sawatzke (1-of-2 field goals), and also have junior Miles Carda on the roster. As Yankton looks to turn a corner this year and return to its place as a Class 11AA contender, the Bucks know certain steps have to be taken, according to Likness. One step, he said, would be to win a game away from Crane-Youngworth Field — which Yankton didn’t do a year ago. “We have to win on the road this year, and we didn’t do that last year,” Likness said. “This year we have five road games, and I think all five (teams) will be ranked during the year.” Plus, as he pointed, Yankton’s three games against Class 11AAA competition (Sioux Falls Roosevelt, Sioux Falls Lincoln and Brandon Follow @jhoeck on Twitter Valley) are all on the road. The Bucks open the season with road games at Brookings and Pierre, and might winning even just one of those games serve as a springboard for the rest of the season? “I sure hope so,” Likness said, “because we would need to win a couple of those games to get ourselves toward the top for the playoffs.” Although the Bucks aren’t expecting to go out and win a championship, they do have high expectations for the 2017 season. “I expect to go all the way and see what we can do in the dome,” Haak said. “We’re going to definitely be a competitive team.” Follow @jhoeck on Twitter Larry’s Plumbing WELFL 703 Burleigh 665-4322 665-3258 800 W. 23rd St. Construction Co.
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