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ago, some of the offensive concepts used by the veteran coach were already in place. “We were running some of the same stuff, so it hasn’t been a big difference,” Beresford quarterback Tyler Kropuenske said. “For some of the plays, he has different terms.” As the team began work for the 2018 season, Likness brought in some reinforcements. “During the summer, Don Campbell came with me,” Likness said. Campbell is a former assistant coach for Likness, and was a state championship head coach for Brookings in 1983. “He really leap-started us in the right direction.” That direction, in many ways, is similar to what Yankton fans saw from Likness’ teams for the past two decades. “A lot of similarities,” he said. “I’m trying to put in things that I think fit their personnel. We don’t have big numbers. We have 25 ninth through 12th grade, so we want to stay healthy.” That ability to adjust systems to personnel — and opponents — is what has made Likness such an asset to the program, Ebert said. “He is so good at adapting, adjusting,” Ebert said. “He is so good with motions, shifting the backfield. “From a player’s perspective, it is very exciting to be in a system like that.” Among the changes that have occurred in Beresford is the addition of yoga, something his teams in Yankton did as a way to help both flexibility and focus. “We hadn’t been doing yoga before as a team. A few of the guys had been doing it on their own,” Peterson said. “Doing it as a team has definitely helped. It gets us focused, gets us loose. The whole program routine, how it’s different, we all really like it.” Though Ebert has plenty of experience himself — 15 years at Harrisburg (10 as head coach) and in his seventh at Beresford (third as head coach) — Likness has been a valuable resource for him as well. “Practice flow ideas, what can we change, what can we make better,” Ebert said, referring to some of the topics they have discussed. “Having the opportunity to have him here has been good for our guys and our coaches.” And not just from the standpoint of what Likness adds on the field. “It goes beyond ‘X’s and ‘O’s,” Ebert said. “It’s about the quality of man that he is, his faith, his care for the kids. “He’s just a quality, quality, quality, genuine person.” Though there have been challenges, Likness said that coaching staff has been “on the same page,” as have the players. “Right now it’s fun,” he said. “The kids are having fun. The staff is having fun. There is room to grow and get better.” The Season The 2018 season opened on Aug. 17 with a matchup involving two of the winningest coaches in South Dakota high school history. Bridgewater-Emery-Ethan, which lost in the state finals a season ago, is coached by Jeff Van Leur, who ranks fifth all-time and second among active head coaches. (Likness, who is fourth, is not currently a head coach. Sioux Falls Roosevelt’s Kim Nelson is the leader among active head coaches.) The Watchdogs opened the season with five straight opponents who were in the Class 11B playoffs a year ago — Sioux Valley (Aug. 24), McCook Central-Montrose (Aug. 31), Groton Area (Sept. 7) and Canton (Sept. 14) — before a bye on Sept. 21. Beresford opponents Elk Point-Jefferson (Sept. 28) and Mount Vernon-Plankinton (Oct. 11) were also playoff teams a season ago. Flandreau (Oct. 5) was not, but is traditionally a strong program. The Future Likness has committed to Beresford for this, his 40th season of coaching high school football. After that, things are up in the air. “We’ll see how everything plays out,” he said. “If they’re happy with the results we get, if they’re not. If I’m happy with all the driving, or not. And where my wife and I want to be a year from now. All those will come into play.” “Right now we’re just taking it one day at a time. It’s football time.” n HISVOICEvSEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2018v7

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