Warrior football opens season

Dan Bechtold/Winner Advocate Photo
Returning lettermen on the Winner High School football team are in front from left Charlie Pravecek, Landon Thieman, Ethan Vesely, Brady Fritz, Oscar Pravecek, Phillip Jorgensen and Loren Moeller. Second row from left are Jackson Vesely, Kaden Keiser, Kaleb Osborn, Owen Duffy, Ashton Klein, Zach Bohnet, Preston Norrid, Evan Farner, Kolbie Osborn. In back from left are Joren Bruun, Adam Bohnet, Achilles Willuweit, Sam Kruger, Aaron Gilchrist, Ryder Mortenson, Bosten Morehart, Jacob Clay, Joey Cole, Owen Monk, Aaron Monk, Jackson Hanson, Finn Bartels, Trevor Peters, Zane Mandl and Michael Olson.

By Dan Bechtold

Forty-eight Winner High School football players are ready to get after it when the season opens on Friday.

The Warriors will open at home with Stanley County on Aug. 23. Game time is at 7 p.m.

Coach Dan Aaker is starting his 18th year at the helm of the WHS football program.

The team includes 11 seniors, 11 juniors, 14 sophomores and 12 freshmen
The Warriors have 32 returning lettermen including: Charlie Pravecek, Landon Thieman, Ethan Vesely, Brady Fritz, Oscar Pravecek, Phillip Jorgensen, Loren Moeller, Jackson Vesely, Kaden Keiser, Kaleb Osborn, Owen Duffy, Ashton Klein, Zach Bohnet, Preston Norrid, Evan Farner, Kolbie Osborn, Joren Bruun, Adam Bohnet, Achilles Willwueit, Sam Kruger, Aaron Gilchrist, Ryder Mortenson, Bosten Morehart, Jacob Clay, Joey Cole, Owen Monk, Jackson Hanson, Finn Bartels, Trevor Peters, Zane Mandl and Michael Olson.

Last year the Warriors ended the season with a 7-3 record and 6-2 in the regular season. The only two regular season losses were to Sioux Falls Christian and Mount Vernon-Plankinton.

In playoffs, Winner defeated Custer and then lost again in a close game 14-12 to Sioux Falls Christian.

The Warriors lost 10 seniors due to graduation but many skilled people are returning. All skill people on both sides of the ball are returning. Among some of them are Brady Fritz at quarterback, Sam Kruger at runner back, Trevor Peters at running back Phillip Jorgensen and Joren Bruun as wide receiver.

Up front on the offensive line, Oscar Pravecek is the true returning starter. Morehart played a lot on the line last year. Ethan Vesely played tight end and got hurt. “He has experience coming off an injury,” said Aaker.
Playing in the secondary will be Trevor Peters, Joren Bruun and Brady Fritz.

Leading the offense will be Fritz. Aaker said as a sophomore a year ago, Fritz did a good job. “I have never started a sophomore in that position in my 18 years. Brady is a good athlete and has the legs that can beat anybody and is really a smart football player,” said Aaker.

Fritz will be a junior this year and coach plans to use more of him this season.

The area the team will focus on the most is up front on the offensive line. “We are going to be young but we hope as they get more reps they will have a lot more experience by mid season,” said the coach.

He said Willuweit, Duffy, Thieman, Charley Pravecek Jackson Vesely along with his brother have looked good.

The coach said Sam Kruger is an athlete who needs to be on the field. He has been moved to linebacker and will be a big contributor.
Aaker says Thieman will play multiple positions defensively. Senior Ryder Mortensen will be in the mix.

Cailob Week, who transferred from Colome, will give depth in the backfield and secondary. Kaden Keiser has looked good at running back and in the secondary.

Like all Class 11B teams injuries are a concern and the coach hopes the team will stay injury free.

“We have a nice mix of junior and seniors who are fighting for positions and that has elevated our practices,” said the coach.

The Warriors play in the SESD Conference. Aaker said the two teams that return the most are Chamberlain and Mt. Vernon-Plankinton.

In Class 11B, Aaker looks the top teams to be Bridgewater-Emery/Ethan, MVP, Winner and the coach sees Sioux Valley as a sleeper.

Each year the team comes up with a motto and this year it is “Earn it.”
Aaker noted nothing is given to you free, and that incudes things in life.
Some of the goals are to be lead by the defense, win the giveaway takeaway battle by a fair margin and offensive efficiency.

Aaker is proud of his assistant coaching crew. They include Trent Olson who calls the defense and works with the defensive line; Kevin Keiser who works with the offense and running backs, Sam Olson, defense and offensive line. Volunteer coaches are Austin Calhoon, Ben Connot, Glenn Carlson and Larry Aaker.

The 2019 football schedule includes:
Aug. 23—Stanley County, home
Aug. 30—St. Thomas More, home
Sept. 6—at Wessington Springs
Sept. 13—at Wagner
Sept. 20—Valentine, home
Sept. 27—Mt. Vernon-Plankinton, home (homecoming)
Oct. 4—at Chamberlain
Oct. 11—at Miller
Oct 24—first round of playoffs
Oct. 31—second round of playoffs
Nov. 8—Semifinals
Nov. 15—State football

Kinzer Signs with Dakota State

By Colton Hall

Staff Writer

Colome’s Jackson Kinzer, The Daily Republic’s 2018 Football Player of the Year has signed to play college football for the Dakota State Trojans. (Matt Gade / Mitchell Daily Republic)

One of the best all-around athletes in the state of South Dakota has signed a letter of intent to play college football.

  Jackson Kinzer, Colome, will be playing for the Dakota State Trojans this year, and he won’t be alone. Kinzer will join his former high school teammate, Chase Dufek.

  Kinzer will be playing quarterback for the Trojans one year removed from a 12-0 season as quarterback of the Colome Cowboys where he received many rewards including an all-state selection, and Ben Connot as his coach.

  Kinzer gained 2,834 all-purpose yards, scored a total of 46 touchdowns, and helped lead the Cowboys to a state title in 2018.

  While Kinzer is known to be dangerous with the ball in his hands as a runner, he excelled as a passer as well. Kinzer finished with about 1,396 passing yards, and 24 touchdowns with no interceptions.

  Not bad for a quarterback that hadn’t played the position since 7th grade.

  While he is obviously a great football player, Kinzer was also a standout basketball player who scored over 1,000 career points for Colome High School. Kinzer received a second-team all state selection while averaging over 18 points a game in 2019. 

  Kinzer polished off his impressive athletic resume while being an even better baseball player. Kinzer was rewarded for his efforts by being a first-team all-state selection in 2018 and 2019.

Elks Rodeo Results

People came from near and far to attend the 50th annual LifeScape Benefit Elks Rodeo in Winner.

There were four generations representing each of the families of Vince Hollenbeck, Bill Dillon and Dick Kazda, who along with Harold Jans, founded the Elks Rodeo in 1969. Family members were either working at the rodeo, participating in the rodeo, including mutton busters, or were spectators. The families of these men came from CA, WY, GA, SD, NE & OK to be a part of the history of this rodeo. Bill Dillon also served on the board of directors of Childrens Care Hospital & School, now known as LifeScape. Other spectators attending the rodeo were from AL, FL, India and the Netherlands.

For the rest of the story, pick up this week’s edition of the Winner Advocate or subscribe to the Winner Advocate at 1-605-842-1481!

Jr. Legion Heads to State

By Dan Bechtold

Winner Junior Legion baseball team will be advancing to the state tournament.

The team played Wagner in the championship game July 29 and was defeated 6-4 in extra innings. On Sunday, July 28, Winner defeated Belle Fourche 14-3 which assured Winner a spot in the state meet.

The state tournament will be Aug. 9-11 in Groton. Winner takes a 13-10 record into state and will be the No. 2 seed.

Winner will play Elk Point/Jefferson at 5 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 9.

“I am excited to be going to state,” said coach Shane Phillips. “If we continue to hit the ball and have our pitching down we will be tough to beat.”

Phillips noted Winner needs to cut down on its errors to be successful. Winner had five errors against Wagner.

In the championship game in Redfield, Winner scored in the top of the 7th inning to tie the game 4-4. In the 9th inning, Wagner scored on a two run home run to win the game.

Landon Thieman, Joey Cole, Ashton Klein, Jacob Beckers, Adam Bohnet, Zach Bohnet, Evan Farner, Aaron Glichrist and Bosten Morehart managed to have one hit to lead the junior Legion team.

Evan Farner pitched seven innings for Winner and Joey Cole came in and pitched one inning and took the loss.

In the Belle Fourche game, Phillips said the team hit the ball well and Kameron Meiners did a great job of pitching.

Phillips said the team will have depth in pitching at state.

The junior Legion team and the Winner/Colome Legion team held a scrimmage on July 31 as both teams prepare to compete in their respective state tournaments.

Legion Going to State

By Colton Hall
Staff Writer

The odds might have been against them, but that didn’t matter. The Winner/Colome Royals are going to state.

Winner/Colome Royals Legion baseball team overcame constant adversity including fighting through the “losers bracket”, injuries, and a shortage of pitching to ultimately take home a 17-3 win over Gregory in the Region 7B Championship at Leahy Bowl Saturday.

“It wasn’t easy,” Foss said after his team’s win. “Having to come back all the way around to win was tough. We played a good Spearfish team the last couple days as well as having to beat Gregory twice. It was a tough battle all three days, but I’m proud of our boys.”


The Royals started it’s road to state off with a 6-3 victory over Spearfish on Thursday. Spearfish would jump out to a 2-1 lead after two innings, but the Royals scored two more runs to take the lead in the third inning.

Spearfish would tie the game at three in the fourth inning, but that’s when Winner/Colome took control of the game and wouldn’t let it go. The Royals scored three runs in the fifth inning, counted on Jackson Kinzer to last his allotted 105 pitches to close out the game.

Kinzer also showed up at the plate, and 2-for-3 in game one with two RBI. Oscar Pravecek led Winner/Colome with three RBI.

Kinzer went seven innings, and allowed only three runs while striking out six batters.


In an 11 inning heartbreak ending, the Winner/Colome Royals suffered a 9-7 loss to Gregory in it’s first game on Friday at Leahy Bowl.

The loss would make the road to state difficult for the Royals as they would have to win through the losers bracket to be able to take on Gregory once again to advance to state.

Although Winner/Colome jumped out to a 1-0 lead through two innings, Gregory answered with a run in the third and fifth innings to take a 2-1 lead. Needing a run in the seventh, the Royals got it and pushed the game to extra innings.

After surrendering two more runs in the ninth, the Winner/Colome Royals once again found itself answering the bell. This time, Carter Brickman singled which sent in two runs.

In the 11th inning, Winner/Colome scored three runs but it wasn’t enough.

Brickman finished with three RBIs while Kinzer added a couple RBI of his own. Brickman pitched six innings, and allowed five hits, two runs, with three strikeouts. Layton Thieman went four and 2/3 innings while aligns six hits, seven runs and striking out four batters.

Nolan Sachtjen closed out the game for Winner/Colome.

Winner/Colome 6 Spearfish 3

With the only option to win out to get to state, Winner/Colome started by beating Spearfish once again, 6-3.

The Royals jumped out to a 4-1 lead through four innings, but Spearfish wasn’t done yet.

Spearfish answered with two runs in the fifth, but Winner/Colome put the game out of reach by scoring two runs in the sixth inning.

Joren Bruun and Kinzer registered three hits for the Royals with both finishing with an RBI.

Jacob Beckers and Bruun pitched for Winner/Colome. Beckers lasted 4 1/3 innings while allowing eight hits, three runs, and struck out two batters. Bruun pitched 2 2/3 innings, and allowed two hits while striking out four more batters.


Winner/Colome wanted a rematch against Gregory after a heart-breaking loss in day two. They got it.

The Royals pulled out the first of two victories over Gregory with a 17-8 win at Leahy Bowl on Saturday.

Gregory found itself ahead 4-2 going into the third when Winner/Colome had seen enough.

The Royals went on to score 11 unanswered runs before Gregory scored four runs in the fifth. Still, the Royals went on to score five more runs that Greogry couldn’t match to close out the game.

At the plate, Pravecek proved to be vital to Winner/Colome’s success by hitting in four runners. Bruun also finished his day with two RBI.

Although Winner/Colome was running short on pitchers, they didn’t pannick. Calvin Ringing Shield, Aaron Gilchrist, and Nolan Sachtjen showed up for the Royals. Ringing Shield went 1 2/3 innings while allowing three hits and four runs while striking out one batter.

Gilchrist then came in and worked his magic for 4 1/3 innings while allowing five hits, four runs while striking out three batters. Sachtjen closed out the game once again, and didn’t allow a hit or run and struck out one more Gregory batter.


Redemption wasn’t good enough in game one for the Royals. They wanted to go to state.

The Winner/Colome Legion closed out it’s weekend with a 17-3 win over Gregory to advance to state on Saturday.

The game looked as though it would be a dogfight once again when Gregory took a 2-1 lead early in the game. Winner/Colome wasn’t going to let this game get away, and summoned it’s offense for the rest of the game.

Winner/Colome exploded for sixteen runs while Gregory could only muster one. At the plate Pravevek, Thieman, and Dalton Baker each finished with three RBI for Winner/Colome. The Royals also enjoyed timely hitting from Phillip Jorgensen, who sustained an injury in day two, but who went 2-for-three from the plate.

“Phillip’s a gamer,” Foss said. “He came back after being a little banged up, and he looked great. We didn’t know if he was going to play, and we played the situation by ear. I made him hit, and tried to get him loosened up before the game. It meant a lot to our team for him to play like he did, and he showed up when we needed him.”

Shea Connot also finished with two timely hits for the Royals.

Pitchers were thin, but players like Baker stepped up throughout the game to help Winner/Colome hold on. Baker went five innings, and allowed five hits, three runs, and struck out four batters.

Throughout the tournament, players like Ringing Shield and Baker proved to be vital to Winner/Colome’s success.

“Those two played great,” Foss said of Ringing Shield and Baker. “Calvin really showed up for us as well as Baker did. Both stepped up on the offensive and defensive ends when we need them the most.”

As far as state is concerned, the Royals will need to bring that same fire and resilience that took them through the losers bracket to go to state.

“There’s a total of eight teams that are the best in the state,” Foss said. “We’re going to face the best teams in South Dakota. Our thing is that we have to swing the bats, we have to throw strikes, and we have to play solid defense. If we’re healthy, and all of us swing the bat, we can be competitive.”

Pheasants Clinch Second Seed

Staff Reports

It’s tough when you’re opponent jumps on top right away, but it’s just part of the game.

The Winner/Colome Pheasants weren’t able to overcome an early 5-0 gap that would ultimately result in a 7-2 road loss to the Alexandria Angels in a recent game.

At the start, Alexandria got hot.

Alexandria hit a home run in the first inning that sent in two batters. In the second, the Angels scored three runs to give them a 5-0 lead early. But the Pheasants weren’t done yet.

In the fourth inning, JJ Farner helped to score the only two runs for the Pheasants which would give him his two RBI on the night. No other Pheasant players would finish with an RBI.

The Angels put the game away by hitting their second homerun of the even which helped score two runs.

Kelly O’Bryan and Connor Hopkins pitched for the Pheasants. The duo would combine to go eight innings, allow seven hits, seven runs and strike out eight batters.

A win is a win.

The Winner/Colome amateur baseball snuck out a 5-4 win over the Platte Killer Tomatoes last Thursday night at Leahy Bowl.

The Pheasants grabbed a 4-0 lead after five innings, but the Killer Tomatoes weren’t done yet.

Platte scored three runs in the eighth inning, and added one more run in the ninth to tie the game at four. The Pheasants needed someone to step up at the bottom of the ninth.

Dillon Lambley stepped up.

Lambley hadn’t had a single hit at four trips up to the plate, but the only hit that he would garner on the evening couldn’t have come at a better time.

Lambley hit a walk-off fielder’s choice that may have gotten himself out, but got the win for the Pheasants in crunch time.

Reed Harter also had himself a big night. Harter hit got three hits on four at-bats on the night. Harter finished with an RBI, a triple and a double.

Derek Graesser had a solid overall game as the Pheasants lone pitcher. Graesser pithed all nine innings for Winner/Colome and allowed only four runs. Graesser would also silence 11 Platte batters.

The Winner/Colome Pheasants continue to real in the wins.

After a 7-1 win over the Wagner Rockets in Wagner, the Pheasants are now 13-3 on the season.

The Pheasants scored seven runs in the first nine innings before Wagner put up a run in the ninth.

Derek Graesser lead the way for Winner/Colome by going 2-for-4 from the plate. Graesser would lead the Pheasants with two RBI. Reed Harter, Zach Harter, Austin Calhoon, and Connor Hopkins all finished the game with an RBI.

While the hitting was fantastic, the pitching for the Pheasants mighty have been on a whole other level.

JJ Farner pitched a no-hitter, and went all nine innings. Farner would pitch a total of 145 pitches while striking out 17 batters.

Winner/Colome 4-Mt. Vernon 2
Winner/Colome Pheasants defeated Mt. Vernon 4-2 on Thursday at Leahy Bowl.

The game was tied at 2 with the Pheasants battling in the bottom of the sixth inning when Dillon Lambley singled on a 1-1 count scoring two runs.
Winner/Colome got on the board in the first inning when Zach Harter grounded out scoring one run.

The Pheasants took the lead for good scoring three runs in the sixth inning.
Connor Hopkins pitched Winner/Colome to victory. He surrendered two runs on four hits over seven innings striking out five. Kelly O’Bryan threw two innings in relief.

Reed Harter had a triple and Austin Calhoon belted a double. Calhoon led the local team at the plate as he was 3-4.

The next action for the Pheasants will be in the Sunshine League tournament in Parkston on July 25 at 8 p.m. The Pheasants cinched the No. 2 spot.

Harter ‘Stepping Up to the Plate’

By Colton Hall
Staff writer

Reed Harter is a good baseball player.

In fact, he’s so good that there doesn’t really seem to be a pitcher in South Dakota Amateur baseball that has had an answer for the soon-to-be senior at Dakota Wesleyan University.

Harter has had two performances in which he has had three home runs in a game, and now leads the Winner/Colome Pheasants amateur baseball team with seven home runs on the season.

Harter is proving to be a big reason for the Pheasants 10-2 start on the season. Things just seem to be going right.

“He’s playing on another level,” Winner/Colome head coach Kevin Graesser said. “He puts so much hard work into his game, and he was ready to take off this summer season. He’s all baseball.”

While home runs obviously prove to be a vital stat for success for any team, Harter has proven to come through for his team by tying for the lead in RBI with his brother, Zach Harter.

Not many players in amateur baseball have ’stepped up to the plate’ like Harter has this season.

“He does so much for our team, and it’s not just about his production on the field,” Graesser said. “He’s a leader with how he plays, and acts. As far as our team goes, we expect him to produce like he has done, but two games with three home runs just doesn’t happen.”

It shouldn’t come as a shock that Harter has exploded for Winner/Colome especially considering the strong season that he had for the Dakota Wesleyan Tigers.

For the Tigers, Harter has recorded 62 career RBI, 35 of which came in his junior season. Harter also tied for the team lead with three other Tiger players by hitting two homeruns, bringing his career total to (5).

Success for Harter and the Tigers didn’t start in the beginning. It’s been building for the last three years.

In his freshman year at DWU, Harter and the Tigers went 18-31 and 12-16 in the Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC). Things took a turn for the worst in 2019 when the Tigers finished 11-28 (7-19 in GPAC).

It seems that the Tigers found the light at the end of the tunnel in 2019. The Tigers went 23-23 (16-12 in GPAC). Needless to say, Harter is looking forward to his senior season.

“We (the Tigers) really came together last year,” Harter said. “Winning 12 more games was huge for our team. I want to continue to improve on that, and my goal as a team is to make a regional tournament. For us to do that, we have to win the GPAC. I just want to finish strong.”

As far as his senior season goes, Harter’s sets goals like he tries to swing. For the fence.

“I want to be the GPAC Player of the Year next year,” Harter said. “Playing amateur baseball has really given me a great opportunity to continue to sharpen my skills and get better. If you want to be good, you have to set big goals.”

If Harter steps up to the plate in his senior season like he’s stepped up for the Pheasants, that goal won’t seem so lofty.