For more than 35 years, the Argus Leader has honored the best high school football players in South Dakota with a spot on the Elite 45 team. The player of the year receives a special honor as the captain.
The 2021 Argus Leader Elite 45 captain is Harrisburg quarterback Jacob Knuth.
You can see the rest of the team below:
Alpers made his presence known this year on the O’Gorman defense. The 6-foot-6, 225-pound defensive end was second on the team with tackles with 59. He also forced nine fumbles. In his career with the Knights, he had 102 tackles — 39 for loss.
“He has outstanding abilities and athleticism,” head coach Jayson Poppinga said.
Alpers, a two-time all-metro selection who also played tight end for the Knights, has verbally committed to play football for South Dakota State University.
More:Elite 45 captain Jacob Knuth became a South Dakota football sensation by sticking to small goals
After establishing himself as a playmaker for Roosevelt in 2020 as a sophomore, Ashley made the move a couple blocks north and continued his dual threat excitement. He threw for 1,850 yards and 15 touchdowns while rushing for 417 yards and seven touchdowns while asserting himself as a leader on a brand new team that needed one.
“Taylen is dangerous whenever he has the football in his hands,” said Cavs coach Vince Benedetto. “He has a great arm and made some special throws this season while also being a threat running the football. Taylen is a competitor in every phase of his life.”
Herreid/Selby Area, WR/RB
Begeman put up incredible numbers for a Herreid/Selby Area team that fell short of an undefeated season at the DakotaDome. In just two years as an offensive starter, he amassed 4,527 yards from scrimmage (3,690 yards rushing) and scored 58 offensive touchdowns.
But his impact was arguably greater on the defensive side, where he picked off 23 passes in three years and even returned two punts for a touchdown.
“(He was an) impact player in all three phases of the game,” head coach Clayton Randall said. “(He has a) blue collar work ethic and is always looking for opportunities to get better.”
Previously:Who should be the 2021 Argus Leader Elite 45 captain? Have your say.
Beyer was a force on the defensive end for Howard, but also quietly turned in one of the best running back seasons in 9A. He had an incredible 173 tackles as a linebacker. His offensive production came on just 90 carries, but he took them for 957 yards and 11 touchdowns. He added five catches for 95 yards and a touchdown.
“Ty Beyer is one of the best linebackers I have ever coached,” Howard head coach Pat Ruml said. “He is a big hitter and makes plays on every down. He changes the game plan of the opponents offense with his physical play. He is definitely one of the best players in the state.”
A 6-foot-5, 270-pound senior, Brink was a rare four-year starter on the offensive line, a three-time captain and centered a unit that totaled over 3,300 yards of offense this season. In four seasons, the MSU-Mankato recruit helped pave the way for more than 13,000 yards of offense.
“Aiden plays with a physical style that offensive line coaches absolutely love,” said Washington coach Ryan Evans. “He challenges himself each and every play to do his job and command everyone else on the offensive line to do so also. He is an extremely intelligent football player and his knowledge of the game is amongst the top to ever go through our program.”
TE, Brandon Valley
When the Lynx advanced to their fourth straight championship-game appearance this season, coach Matt Christensen said Carroll was a big reason why. The 6-foot-4, 200-pound tight end finished the season with 29 catches, 438 yards and three touchdowns.
But even more important, Christensen said, is Carroll’s blocking and leadership abilities.
“He is a coach’s dream,” Christensen said. “He blocks unselfishly, never cares about targets or receptions — only winning. He is a leader during off-season and captain to look up to. Peyton Carroll has set the standard for our Brandon Valley program.”
More:Harrisburg wins first-ever South Dakota 11AAA state title game 27-0 over Brandon Valley
A 6-foot-6, 285-pound senior who’s headed to USD, Cotton was a two-year starter who established himself as the Rough Riders best blocker. The latest in a string of Rough Rider offensive lineman to go on to play Division I football, Cotton paved the way for an offense that averaged 400 yards per game with almost perfect balance between the run and pass.
“Joe has very quick and agile feet, became much more aggressive this season and was a physical force on our offensive line,” said Roosevelt coach Kim Nelson. “He was a dominant player at times and became a very effective leader for our team down the stretch.”
O’Gorman started the season 1-4, with losses to Harrisburg, Washington, Brandon Valley and Lincoln. Through the first five games, the offense had scored just 65 points. But then Dannenbring and the Knights flipped the switch.
Dannenbring, a junior, helped rally O’Gorman to four straight wins to end the regular season and a 11AAA semifinal appearance. During that second-half surge, Dannenbring threw 16 touchdowns and zero interceptions with a 75% completion rate.
Dannenbring threw for 2,475 yards with 22 touchdowns on just five interceptions. He ran for 540 yards with seven touchdowns on 117 carries.
More:Pierre rallies to nip Tea Area for fifth straight title in wild 11AA championship game
WR/DB, West Central
Dierickx took the reigns as West Central’s top receiving option after primarily acting as a blocker for a run-heavy team last season and thrived. He had 78 receptions for 1,001 yards and caught 10 touchdowns, an average of 100 yards per contest. Four times, he surpassed 120 receiving yards.
He led 11A in both receptions and yards and was a dynamic player in the new-look West Central offense.
“This year he was given a chance to make plays and he broke every receiving record West Central has,” head coach Chris Hernandez said. “He is one of the best players in South Dakota and is definitely the best receiver in 11A.”
Eben was a do-everything player for Canton. He played two positions on offense, returned both kicks and punts and was the punter for the C-Hawks. He caught 35 passes for 480 yards and five touchdowns, adding 98 carries for 748 yards and nine touchdowns. He added two kick return touchdowns.
“Payton has developed into one of the best wide receivers and punters we’ve had,” Canton head coach Rich Lundstrom said. “He was a weapon at both spots.”
QB/LB, Chester Area
Eppard was the heart of Chester Area’s offense, amassing 5,148 total yards in his career (2,828 passing & 2,320 rushing) and totaled 39 touchdowns (four rushing). He added a two-way presence, with 149 tackles, two interceptions and 11 sacks as a linebacker.
“Stratton is a great young man that I have had the privilege of getting to know over the past nine years,” Chester Area head coach Ken Prorock said, “first as a ball-boy, then as a friend to my family and this past fall as our senior quarterback, linebacker and leader.”
More:Madison caps perfect season with 11A football title, spoils Milbank’s bid for remarkable finish
RB/WR/DB/LB, De Smet
Garry was one of the most dangerous weapons in all of 9-man football, if not the entire state. He was a threat to score from all parts of the field, with 1,143 yards from scrimmage and 20 touchdowns.
He also returned two kicks for touchdowns while making an impact on the defensive side with 70 tackles and a pick.
“Kalen impacted all three phases of the game for us this year,” head coach Brendon Pitts said. “He always had the potential to make big plays when he was on the field. We moved him around to play multiple positions on offense and defense, and he excelled at them all.”
A two-year starter for the Patriots, Geerts finished the season with eight sacks, 47 tackles and 14 tackles for loss. Teammate Sam Hindbjorgen had 10 sacks, and Coach Jared Fredenburg said Geerts was a major reason why, as pressure from Geerts frequently forced the opposing quarterback out of the pocket.
Geerts had three sacks in the Patriots’ final two playoff games and sacked Argus Leader Elite 45 captain Jacob Knuth three times in two matchups.
“At 6-foot-3, 225 pounds, he is unblockable one on one and is always within a step of the QB on any given pass,” Fredenburg said. “Jackson is the guy on your team that will do anything you ask. He comes up big in big games.”
A two-year starter at linebacker, Goehring, a 6-1, 200-pound senior, became one of the state’s most prolific all-around contributors this season. On defense he recorded nearly nine tackles per game and scored on an interception return, while on offense he caught 41 passes for 566 yards and seven touchdowns in emerging as one of the Rough Riders’ top weapons. He also handled punting duties and averaged a solid 34.6 yards per punt.
“Matt has been our best athlete on the field and is a very versatile player,” said Roosevelt coach Kim Nelson. “He never got tired and rarely came off the field.”
More:Winner High School football completes dominant 12-0 season with repeat Class 11B state title
Gray was a go-to option for a Brookings team that shook the balance at the top of 11AA. Gray had 1,073 yards from scrimmage and 15 total touchdowns.
He averaged 9 yards per attempt and was a consistent option out of the backfield, catching 28 passes and averaging almost 10 yards per reception.
“Hunter is an X-factor on the field,” head coach Brady Clark said. “When we needed a big play we were able to turn to him. He does a great job of being patient and being elusive.”
A two-way force for the Patriots, Gutierrez scored nine touchdowns as a fullback and was the team’s leading tackler on defense with 78 stops, 14 of which went for loss. The junior blocked two punts, recovered a fumble and added one sack. He was named the Patriots MVP.
“Gabe is the vocal leader on the team,” said coach Jared Fredenburg. “At 6-3 and 215 pounds he is a physical specimen at linebacker in the box and runs well enough to cover running backs out of the backfield and run with wide receivers. He is a true sideline to sideline linebacker and has a bright future ahead of him on Saturdays.”
Hanson was the best player on both sides of the ball for two-straight Platte-Geddes 9AA state championship teams. On defense, he had 152 tackles, 14 tackles for a loss, two fumble recoveries, 10 forced fumbles and an interception.
On offense, he ran, caught passes and threw them himself. He amassed 3,529 total yards throughout his career.
“Grayson is our leader and has been a huge part in us winning back-to-back 9AA state championships,” head coach Bruce Hanson said. “He is like a coach on the field and is scary good at finding things on film and translates that to the field.”
Kayser was one of the best running backs in 11B, leading Bridgewater-Emery/Ethan back to the championship game for a rematch with Winner. Before the game, he rushed for 1,401 yards on 189 carries and 17 touchdowns.
He also contributed on the defensive end, totaling 52 tackles, an interception and three sacks.
“Koby has been a leader for us throughout his career,” head coach Jeff VanLeur said. “He has breakaway speed but always is a punishing runner. He’s been the lead running back for a team that has been to the DakotaDome five years in a row.”
Kienholz is rewriting the record books for the Governors, and he’s only a junior. He threw for more than 3,000 yards and ran for more than 1,000 as the Governors edged the previously unbeaten Tea Area 30-27 in the championship game. Kienholz threw for 347 yards with two TDs and ran for 190 yards with two scores in that game.
“Plain and simple, Lincoln is the best player on the football field in almost, if not every game this season,” Pierre coach Steve Steele said. “There are so many things he does in a game that don’t have statistical value, on top of the many that do. He’s a born leader and has the intangibles to takeover a game at a moment’s notice.”
Kindt established himself as maybe the best quarterback in Garretson history in his senior season. He set single-season school records in passing yards, attempts and, on the defensive side, intercepted more passes in a season than any Garretson defender ever has (nine, returning two for a touchdown).
His 2,995 yards of total offense (2,341 passing yards and 636 rushing yards) was a single-season record as well.
“Dylan rewrote the Garretson football single-season record book this year breaking five records along with establishing the career passing record for the Blue Dragons,” head coach Chris Long said. “Dylan’s intelligence and knack for making big plays were a key factor in Garretson’s advance to the 9AA quarterfinal game.”
In just nine games (he missed 1.5 games with a knee injury), Kirwan put up huge numbers. He rushed 146 times for 1,418 yards and 18 touchdowns. He even caught an additional 18 passes for 274 yards and four scores as well as throwing for a touchdown on a perfect 4/4 attempts for 96 yards through the air.
He defended seven passes and recovered two fumbles on defense, too.
“Carson was the most athletic person on the field for us,” Castlewood head coach Doug Ruesink said. “We did what we could to get him the ball as much as possible. He was willing to adjust and learn new formations/positions to help make the team better.”
RB/WR/QB, Timber Lake
Kraft has put together an incredible career for Timber Lake, with 5,676 all-purpose yards as a running back, wide receiver and quarterback. His 1,983 rushing yards and 24 touchdowns make him one of the top running backs in 9B, but he also added 187 yards and five touchdowns as a receiver.
On defense, he had 84.5 tackles, two interceptions, and two forced fumbles, scoring an 80-yard defensive touchdown, too.
“He truly shined any time he was in the open field, he is an elusive runner with big-time breakaway speed. But one tackler often won’t bring him down,” head coach Ryan Gimbel said. “Hank is an explosive player with high amount of talent. He played the game much bigger than his true size.”
A 6-foot-2, 200-pound senior, Larson was a major factor in the Tiger defense rising to the level of its prolific offense, culminating in a shutout in the state championship game.
Larson registered 118 tackles and three sacks during the year, giving him 218 stops for his varsity career.
“Cade is a true leader that plays for his teammates,” said Tigers coach Brandon White. “Cade is without a doubt going to be one heck of a football player at the next level. Tiger football will miss him dearly.”
QB/S, Potter County
Luikens nearly willed his team to a win in a two-overtime instant classic in the 9B title game. Luikens scored 49 touchdowns in the 2021 season alone, throwing for 25 and rushing for 24.
His 3,031 yards from scrimmage (1,954 passing) led the Battlers to the state championship game in a league that is more commonly occupied by run-heavy teams.
“Grant has been the starting quarterback for the Battlers since early in his freshman year, but missed several games in 2019 and 2020 due to injury and illness or his career stats would have been even better,” Potter County head coach Vern Smith said. “Grant has a strong and accurate arm and loves to throw the deep pass.”
Douglas struggled in 2021 and finished the season winless in Class 11AAA, but Maciejczak was a bright spot. The junior played linebacker, defensive end, offensive tackle, guard, center, fullback, long snapper and kicker.
“Jason is a very explosive player that at 320 pounds can play multiple positions on the football field,” head coach Dan Maciejczak said. “His dedication and hard work to the game has landed him numerous Division I opportunities and they will continue to add up going into his senior season.”
On defense, Maciejczak had 57 tackles (12 for loss), 15 quarterback hurries in just six games due to injury.
“I think he is the best lineman in our class,” Pierre coach Steve Steele said.
A 6-foot-4, 220-pound junior, Myers was a fearsome pass-rusher who could impact the running game as well, spearheading the Warriors defense all season long. Myers had 6.5 sacks, notched nine tackles for loss and forced two fumbles. He had 44 total tackles and his presence affected countless other plays when he wasn’t the one to make the stop.
“Abraham is an absolute force on the edge for us,” said coach Ryan Evans. “He disrupts nearly every play in some shape or form. His speed and quickness are attributes that aren’t normally seen on the defensive line and he can close on ball carriers as quickly as anyone.”
OL/LB, Dell Rapids St. Mary
Pica, who won the most outstanding lineman award at the 9B state title game, was a defensive force all season for the eventual champs. He led the team with 77.5 tackles, had one interception, three forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, and returned one interception for a touchdown.
He played guard on offense and helped DRSM rush for 3,000 yards this season.
“John is a great football player, but even better young man,” coach Ross Flemmer said. “His passion and competitive spirit to play football helped fuel our team to winning the state championship.”
Both a guard and tackle for a Winner team that was thoroughly dominant all year long, Pravacek led a Warriors offensive line that rushed for over 3,600 yards this season. He was almost as dominant a defensive presence for the Warriors.
He had 36.5 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks on a Winner team that rarely gave their opponents room.
“Charley was a phenomenal football player for us,” Winner head coach Trent Olson said. “He was always willing to do whatever he could to help the team. Defensively he was dominant. He played with incredible effort and technique. Was one of the best linemen I have ever seen in 11B.”
Prunty was one of the most dangerous athletes in 9AA. He took just six catches for 115 yards and a touchdown, his 19.2 yards per reception a demonstration of his explosiveness. In his primary position, running back, he took 158 for 1,503 yards and 17 scores. He intercepted two passes on defense.
“(Prunty’s) a threat every single play,” Parkston head coach Matt Grave said. “When his number is called, you held your breath because he was always capable of turning the game around with one run, and when he did, he set sail and was never caught from behind.”
QB/LB, Sioux Valley
Puetz was dominant for Sioux Valley. He thrived as a passer in a class that is dominated by run-heavy teams, throwing for 1,776 yards and 17 touchdowns in his senior season. He added 839 yards and 13 touchdowns on the ground as well.
In his career, he totaled 6,066 yards from scrimmage and scored 87 touchdowns (54 passing, 33 rushing). He will play baseball at North Dakota State in 2022.
“(Puetz) put up these impressive stats while playing two-ways, starting at LB for the Cossacks three of his four years,” Sioux Valley head coach Dan Hughes said of Puetz, who had 227 tackles and one pick-six as a linebacker. “He is one of only a handful of players in South Dakota HS football history to have over 4,000 yards passing, 1,000 yards rushing, and over 80 TDs.”
Ricke was the lead player in a dominant Madison offense, which finished off 12-0 where many games weren’t close. Madison head coach Max Hodgen said the offense goes only as far as Ricke takes them.
He flirted with 3,000 yards from scrimmage in his senior season, tossing for 2,065 yards and running for 836. He had 30 total touchdowns, 15 through the air and 15 on the ground.
“Nate has been a great leader and QB for the Bulldogs,” Hodgen said. “He is another in a long line of QBs that we have been blessed with. Nate brings a multiple-threat athlete to the position that has allowed us as an offense to be nearly unstoppable.”
QB, Aberdeen Central
Aberdeen Central coach Scott Svendsen used to coach against Vince Young in high school, and he says Rohlfs is very similar. Not just because of his stats, but because of how he moves and creates plays out of nothing in the backfield.
“He is a pure magician,” Svendsen said. “He got out of some bad situations on the field that, I believe, no one else in the state could do. I have seen him do things this year that I haven’t seen an athlete do in a long time. Sam has great athletic ability and works extremely hard.”
The 6-foot-4 senior ran for 647 yards with eight touchdowns and threw for 1,509 yards with 17 TDs. He threw a TD pass every 5.6 completions and accounted for about 81% of the team’s offense.
Rohlfs is committed to compete in track at SDSU.
For those who only skim the headlines, the Tigers may appear at a glance to be the Jacob Knuth show. But Ross was every bit as important a weapon, and surely took pressure off their Big Ten-bound quarterback.
The 195-pound junior rushed for 1,687 yards and 19 touchdowns, had another three touchdowns as a receiver, and topped off his spectacular campaign with 224 rushing yards in the state championship game. He’ll be one of the most highly sought-after recruits in the state going into his senior year.
“Gavin is an unbelievable running back,” said Tigers coach Brandon White. “He’s a high-character guy that flat out loves being a Tiger. We are very fortunate to have another year with Gavin.”
DB/RB, Dell Rapids
Ruesink was one of the most important players on both sides of the ball for Dell Rapids. On the defensive side, he had 51 tackles, four tackles for loss, two sacks, an interception and a fumble recovery.
Playing out of the backfield on the offensive side, he was a threat as both a runner and a receiver. He took 126 carries for 673 yards and 11 touchdowns while catching 19 passes for 425 yards and eight additional scores.
“Landon was vital to our football team in a variety of areas this year,” Dell Rapids head coach Jordan Huska said. “In all three phases he was not only a contributor but vital to the units being successful.”
Ryken had some heroic performances for Yankton, including a semifinal matchup with Tea Area where the signal-caller nearly led the Bucks back from down 35-7. That was routine for Ryken, Yankton head coach Brady Muth said. He was “an absolute gamer” who is “comfortable in uncomfortable situations.”
He completed 60% of his passes this season for 2,536 yards, throwing for 29 touchdowns. He also added 488 yards on the ground, rushing for one touchdown.
“We are lucky to have No. 14 on the field with us,” Muth said. “With Rug, you always know you’re going to have a shot to win the game.”
OL, Brandon Valley
Schunke is getting noticed at the offensive line position, and he’s only a sophomore. Lynx coach Matt Christensen says Nebraska and Notre Dome have already expressed interest. Schunke, who is 6-foot-5 and 290 pounds, was part of an offensive line that helped the Lynx to 3,479 total yards, including 2,140 rushing.
“Dominant blocking, great pulling, rare ability, special talent,” Christensen said in praise of Schunke. “He is a brutal giant who loves the physicality of football.”
In April, Schunke was ranked 18th nationally in the heavyweight wrestling division by trackwrestling.com.
Serr was yet another dominant two-way star in 9A. He rushed for 2,378 yards and 33 touchdowns in his career, adding 34 receptions for 579 yards and six touchdowns.
He has accounted for 274 points in his career on offense, then on the defensive side, amassed 258 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, 10 sacks, five interceptions, and two fumble recoveries.
“As an Academic-All-State athlete, he has been a stabilizing force on both sides of the ball for our program over the past four seasons,” Burke head coach Mike Sebern said.
Smith has thrived in his three years as a major contributor for Madison, first as a running back and the last two years primarily as a linebacker. In his senior season, he was able to focus on the defensive end and secure 147 tackles, 18 of which were for a loss, five sacks, two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery, two interceptions and five pass breakups.
He still managed 57 carries for 201 yards and 14 touchdowns despite a smaller role and was the team’s primary punter.
“Trey has been a leader of the Bulldogs the last two seasons and his teammates have the utmost respect for him (Team MVP last season – two-year team captain),” Madison head coach Max Hodgen said. “He leads by example and is always willing to do whatever it takes to help the Bulldogs win.”
DB, Brandon Valley
The Brandon Valley defense allowed just 189 points over 12 games, and Thompson was a big reason why. The 6-foot-1, 180-pound Thompson had 27 tackles, one interception, one sack and five quarterback hurries for a defense that allowed just 11 points per game in the regular season.
“He is a rare talent, accepts challenges maturely and loves to cover the best receivers on other teams,” Brandon Valley coach Matt Christensen said. “He will do whatever it takes to help the Lynx win—and at an elite level.”
Christensen also touted Thompson’s skills as a blitzer and kick returner.
Thompson has verbally committed to play at South Dakota State.
Van Overschelde ended his decorated career as a Kernel with 305 tackles, and he also served as a fullback and long snapper. Van Overschelde is a three-time Class AA all-state award winner and starred in two other sports: wrestling and baseball.
“Joe established himself as a leader of our football program at Mitchell,” coach Kent Van Overschelde said.
He plans on attending Dakota Wesleyan University.
FB/K, Tea Area
Van Tol was a featured runner on a Tea Area team that looked to establish the run. As a fullback, he was a change-of-pace option behind faster members of the Titans backfield, yet still possessed the speed himself to break big plays down the field.
He rushed for 946 yards on 7.8 yards per carry and nine TDs, chipping in a score in every other way for Tea: he caught a touchdown, threw for a touchdown and made six of his eight field-goal attempts, including a 51-yarder.
“He has a lot of speed to outrun you,” Tea head coach Craig Clayberg said, “but at the same time is a very hard runner who will just run you over.”
A leader on the field, and in the locker room and weight room, Viox was a key cog in a defense that started the season showing promise and ended it with dominance. He finished with 68 tackles and 12 sacks, totaling 25 sacks in his Tigers career. He was the leading tackler for the Tigers in their shutout of Brandon Valley in the 11AAA state championship game, capping off a senior year that saw him always in the right place at the right time.
“Ayden is a beast,” said Tiger coach Brandon White. “He is one of the hardest workers we have on our team. He is a weight room freak that loves being a Tiger. His future is as bright as they come.”
A big target who is a likely Division I prospect, Wilde caught 54 passes for 912 yards and 12 touchdowns, which would be enough to land on the Elite 45 team by itself. But he also added three kickoff return touchdowns, a touchdown pass, and 19 tackles and a sack in spot duty on defense.
“Griffin is an explosive football player,” said Jefferson coach Vince Benedetto. “He has a knack for making big plays for us when we needed it the most, whether that was a big catch, kickoff return, or defensive play when we needed him there. He is always finding ways to get better and practices at a very high level every day.”
TE/LB, Sioux Falls Christian
Witte followed in the footsteps of his older brother, South Dakota tight end Zach Witte, as Sioux Falls Christian’s offensive star, but the younger Witte now has a stronghold of the Chargers record books.
Witte owns SFC records for receiving yards in a career with 1,187, receiving TDs in a career with 13, and — on the defensive end — tackles in a season with 142 (2021 season). He never came off the field all season, Chargers head coach Jared Smith said.
“Jaden was the heart of our team,” Smith said, “his persistent effort will be told to future players for years to come.”
Aberdeen Roncalli — Jackson Isakson; Alcester-Hudson — Jovey Christensen; Arlington/Lake Preston — Nate Kersting, Caleb Clark; Avon — Brady Bierema; Baltic — Corbin Wirkus; Belle Fourche — Gabe Heck; Beresford — Ashton Tjaden, Isaiah Richards; Brandon Valley — Jordan Johnson; Brookings — Davis Engen; Canistota/Freeman — Riley Heiberger, Isiah Robertson, Tage Ortman; Canton — Marshall Baldwin; Custer — Gage Tennyson, Dossen Elmore; Dell Rapids — Landon Ruesink; Dell Rapids St.Mary — Gabriel Lindeman; De Smet — Rett Osthus, Colt Wilkinson
Elkton–Lake Benton — Ryan Krog, Aiden Erickson, Jack Hemmen; Elk Point–Jefferson — Jacob Lichtenberg; Faulkton Area — Hunter Niederbaumer; Flandreau — Tash Lunday; Florence/Henry — Ashton Hanson, Chase Kelly; Garretson — Cooper Long; Gayville-Volin — Andrew Gustad; Great Plains Lutheran — RJ Perry; Groton Area — Kaden Kurtz; Hamlin — Xander Sheehan; Hanson — Brock Tuttle; Harding County — Keegan Hett, Grey Golbert; Harrisburg — Lincoln Carlson, Jordan Larsen, Bryce Soli, Mason Jacobson, Andrew Walter, Carter Bahrenfuss; Herreid/Selby Area — Chance Gregg, Tray Hettich; Hitchcok-Tulare — Kyle Hamilton, Erik Salmen, Jacob Michlitsch, TJ Salmen; Howard — Jace Sifore; Huron — Jayden Beck
Ipswich — Zach Geditz, Luke Peterson; Jefferson — London Kolb; Kadoka Area — Reece Ohrtman; Lemmon/McIntosh — Tell Mollman; Lennox — Jackson Arlt, Steven Christion, Jacob Stubbe; Leola/Frederick Area — Mason Hinz; Lincoln — Jack Smith; Lyman — Colton Collins; McCook Central/Montrose — Cody Miles; Milbank — Marshall Voeltz, Bennett Schwenn; Mitchell — Josh Grosdidier; O’Gorman — Manny Struck; Oldham-Ramona/Rutland — Will Matson; Pierre — Jack Merkwan, Christian Busch; Platte-Geddes — Jackson Neuman, Royce Finney; Potter County — Cooper Logan
Rapid City Stevens — Ben Goldy; Roosevelt — Lane Ferguson, Jaxsen Gevengoed, Nelson Wright, Jackson Brouwer; SF Christian — Jaden Witte, Isaiah Young; Spearfish — Pierce Miller, Peyton Millis; St. Thomas More — Jedidiah Sullivan, Matt Larson; Sully Buttes — Jesse Schall; Sturgis — Konnor Brandt; Tea Area — Klayton Sattler, Thomas Ostrem, Jaxon Weber; Timber Lake — Jayce Lawrence, AJ Lindskov
Vermillion — Jack Kratz, Zach Brady; Wagner — Nolan Dvorak, Dustin Honomichl; Wall — Cedar Amiotte; Warner — Hunter Kramer; Washington — Josh Piper, Max Thomson, Matthew Agyeman; West Central — Logan Maras, Zach Madsen, Gavin Koch; Watertown — Ben Althoff, Cole Holden; Winner — Kaden Keiser; Wolsey-Wessington — Marty Gohn; W/WS/SC — Quinten Christensen; Yankton — Cody Oswald, Bodie Rutledge
Follow Sioux Falls Argus Leader reporter Michael McCleary on Twitter @mikejmccleary.
CORRECTION: Peyton Carroll has not committed to play at the University of Sioux Falls. That information was incorrect in an earlier version of this story.
For more than 35 years, the Argus Leader has honored the best high school football players in South Dakota with a spot on the Elite 45 team. The player of the year receives a special honor as the captain.