NORTH SIOUX CITY, S.D. (KCAU) – In recent years, the Dakota Valley Panthers have been a playoff primed team powered by upperclassmen. After their Class 11A defeat in the first round last year though, the Panthers lost their hopes of a state title run, along with a prolific group of seniors. But the team’s rebuilding over the summer, has recharged the team’s efforts heading into this fall.
The Panthers graduated nearly all of their starters from a season ago, most notably starting quarterback Chayce Montagne, leading rusher Kobey June, and offensive lineman Chris Merchant, all of whom were members of the 2020 SDFBCA 11A All-State team. The sole starter coming back is 6-foot-2, 240 pound senior Evan Van Scoyk, who returns to the offensive line for his senior year. That said, Dakota Valley will display 21 new starters for this season, but the experience coming back to the roster isn’t panicking the Panthers.
They didn’t start the first snap of the 10-game season, but the team has a number of impact players on both ends. Senior Andrew Fredericksen will provide some options on the ground while Brody Ballinger and Ethan Anema battle for the quarterback spot. Senior defensive ends Jaxon Mayer, Mason Albenisius, and Charlie d’Auguste anchor the defensive front. In the secondary, senior outside linebacker Ben Stoakesbary and junior Randy Rosenquist add to the Panthers’ playmaking abilities.
The Dakota Valley defense allowed an average of 184 rushing yards per game and 125 in the air, but the new talent could make this fall a special one for head coach Jeff Vandenhul and the Panthers.
Dakota Valley begins their 2021 season with a home opener against Tri Valley on August 27.