Diggers win Prospector Bowl

Lead-Deadwood quarterback Rocke Rainey steps back to pass. Pioneer photo by Jason Gross

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DEADWOOD — Lead-Deadwood held off Hot Springs 6-0 to win the annual Prospector Bowl, held Saturday at Ferguson Field in Deadwood.

“I think today, we finally started playing the way we’re capable,” said Lead-Deadwood head coach Tom Tieszen, whose team improved to 1-3 on the season. “Every week, we talk about getting better.”

Lead-Deadwood’s Ryan Rantapaa recovered a fumble on the game’s first play to give the Golddiggers the ball at Hot Springs’ 35-yard line. The Golddiggers had to punt four plays later.

The next Golddiggers’ possession started at their 47-yard line. Charlie Hanel ran 29 yards to give the team a first down at the Bison 19, but that drive stalled at the 14.

Three minutes remained in the first half; Lead-Deadwood had a first down at its 33-yard line. After three plays and two penalties, the Golddiggers were at their 44.

Quarterback Rocke Rainey found a wide-open wide receiver T.K. Rainey on a 56-yard touchdown play. A two-point conversion try was unsuccessful, but the Golddiggers still led 6-0 at halftime.

Lead-Deadwood’s Kiwanis Club chose Stan Angle as its Prospector Bowl honoree; his biography was read at halftime. Angle is a 32-year member of the Lead Kiwanis Club.

The Golddiggers used Rocke Rainey’s 17-yard run to gain a first down at their 49 midway through the third quarter. However, they were forced to punt.

Lead-Deadwood defensive back Tristen Fierbach intercepted a pass to end a Hot Springs drive. Rantapaa did likewise early in the fourth quarter.

Hot Springs took over at its 39-yard line with just under three minutes left. Garrett Rhoe’s 51-yard reception gave the Bison first down at the Lead-Deadwood 10.

A penalty gave Hot Springs fourth and goal at the 5. Lead-Deadwood’s defense stopped the Bison for a one-yard loss to seal the victory.

As the final score indicated, the Golddiggers’ defense had a significant role in the outcome.

“They have been playing at such a high level,” Tieszen said in describing that unit. “Coach (Mark) Jacobs and coach (Kip) Mau have been calling up great schemes, and those guys have really been executing it.”

Tieszen said linebacker Cody Rakow, defensive lineman Tyler Rohn, and linebacker Hanel — among others — have played phemonenally.

“This was the best football we’ve played so far,” Tieszen said.

A couple of Hot Springs’ defensive players excelled at winning one-on-one battles and helped stop the Lead-Deadwood offense, according to Tieszen.

The Golddiggers will return to action on Friday, Sept. 25, when they host Chamberlain.

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