(The following blog is by Dan Genzler of Sioux Fall, SD, who writes The Genz at www.genzmania.blogspot.com)

Sounds of the fall are ringing.

In a few hours (August 26), bands will be unleashing their best “On Wisconsin” rendition or some other school song; grandstands will be outlined in uniformity in color and action; coaches will parade the sidelines with nervous energy; enthusiastic and adrenaline-filled players will hit the field with a high-fevered roar emitting from the supporters all over the stadium. Teams will have structured pre-game calisthenics and drills, referees will hold the coin toss as captains offer a sportsmanship-like handshake to their opponents, National Anthem renditions will be uncorked, and horns signaling the start of the game end the pre-game routines, followed by the crunching of pads, whistles, scoring of touchdowns and horns honking where venues allow parking around the field’s perimeter. Post-games smiles will crease the faces of winners and frustration and sad looks will lock on the other side’s state of expression.

As prep teams prepare for the start of games this week in South Dakota, the passion and enthusiasm of football has returned. It is sense of renewal, in a cavalcade of colors and voices. As teams prepare for kickoff tonight, players, coaches and supporters all feel a rush of adrenaline, albeit a bit different depending on whether you play or watch.

While pre-game routines have changed or evolved, depending on your point of view, football on opening day Friday has always generated smiles and environments of joy, no matter the ultimate result. In recognition of tonight and past opening nights, the Genz blog takes a look back at some of the interesting records and performances, game, season and career in prep football history in South Dakota.

(Source for this blog was www.sdsportshistory.com, an informative and unique website that offers sports history on nearly every sport in South Dakota – check it out).

Leber’s magic… Jason Leber of Vermillion led the Tanagers to the 1992 title in Class A by rushing for 283 yards in a 46-27 win over Winner at the DakotaDome. Leber later played for the University of South Dakota Coyotes, where he set the record for most TDs with 38 and set (now tied) the all-time scoring mark at 236 points. He will be inducted into the Coyote Sports Hall of Fame in September. Playing for Gary Culver at Vermillion High, he became one of the legends of South Dakota prep football, Leber set the 11-man record for 100-yard games with 25. The next closest performer sits at 16. He also owns the the 11-man career mark for rushing yards with 5,305, which is nearly 1,000 yards more than the next closest player. In 9-man football, Jim Williams of Hanson set the record with 6,010 yards. In fact a total of seven SD players (six in 9-man) have had 5,000 or more rushing yards.

Carrying the load…Records indicate that a combined four players in 9-man and 11-man had carried the ball 50 times in a game. Another 20 players have carried the ball at least 40 times in a game. In 11-man, Mitch Breen of Wagner in 2009 and Cameron Pudwill of Redfield/Doland in 2010 toted the rock 50 times. In 9-man, Jordan Haar of Freeman in 2005 had the most every carries in a game with 52. Jordan Connor of Bridgewater/Emery/Ethan also had 50 carries in a 2010 game.

Rushing for paydirt…Nine players in South Dakota prep history have scored over 60 rushing TDs during their careers. A total of 16 players have accumulated 51 or more career rushing TDs. The record is owned by Joe Evenson of Garretson who scored 92 TDs from 1993-97. Jim Williams had 88 TDs for Hanson (2002-05), Seth Walter had 79 for Freeman (1997-2000) and Lucas Van Laecken of Sanborn Central had 70 (2006-09). The only player in 11-man to score over 60 career rushing TDs was Jason Leber of Vermillion with 61 (1990-92).

Six by ground. In terms of rushing TDs for a season, 13 players have scored 28 or more. Just six players, all 9-man standouts, have over 30 TDs in a season. Blake Hojer of DeSmet (2003) owns the record with 37. Jeb Olson of Canistota had 35 a year ago while Jim Williams of Hanson had 34 in 2005. Pierre Smith of Hanson had 31 TDs in 2010; Josh Hofer of Freeman had 30 in 1996 as did Jeff Berens of Avon in 2009. The 11-man season leader for rushing TDs is share by by three players including Mitch Breen of Wagner (2009), Mike Galliger of West Central (2007) and Gannon Moore of Sioux Falls Lincoln (2008) with 29.

Cracking 2K…23 high school athletes have rushed for 2000 yards or more in a season. 9-man standout Joe Evenson of Garretson is the all-time leader with 2,517 in 1997. Bryce Carson of Langford had 2,488 yards in 1998s (9-man); and Jared Berg had 2,456 for Grant Duel in 2004 (9-man). The top 11-man total is 2,282 yards by Tony Lesnar of Milbank in 2005.

Breaking air… Fifteen quarterbacks in SD prep history have thrown for more than 400 yards, including a high of 611 in 2009 by Ryan Toelle of Sisseton. Both Tate Bruckner of Menno in 2008 (512) and Matthew Raba of New Underwood in 1996 (506) broke the 500-yard mark.

Throwing for nearly a mile and half…Just eight SD prep quarterbacks have passed for more than 2,500 yards in a season and only one has bettered 3,000 yards in a single campaign. Austin Sumner of Brandon Valley is the only quarterback with over 3,000 yards passing in a single season, and he did it twice. Sumner had 3,332 yards in 2008 and 3,184 yards in 2009. Sioux Falls Lincoln’s Alex Schultz had 2,950 yards in 2010, which ranks third. Ryan Toelle of Sisseton had 2,932 yards in 2009 and is the only player with over 2,900 yards in a season. The 9-man all-time leader is Menno’s Tate Bruckner with 2,769 in 2008.

Game up QBs…36 quarterbacks have thrown 5 or more TDs in a single game in the two classifications. The state record is held by Dustin Lotzer of Sisseton, who threw nine TDs in a 2008 game. Two players have thrown for six TDs in a game. Mathew Raab of New Underwood (1996) and Corey Jacobsen of Viborg/Hurley (2010) had eight TDs in a game for the 9-man record. A year ago, Nick Mears, who will be a senior at Milbank this year, had six and five TDs in two different games. Tate Bruckner of Menno had five or more TDs three times, including six TDs twice during the 2008 season.

Two break 7K in passing yards…In South Dakota, 11 players have accumulated more than 5,000 yards in career passing yards. Just five players have more than 6,000 for a career. Only two prep quarterbacks have over 7,000 yards and they include Nick Wald of St. Thomas More (7.952 yards, 1993-97) and Austin Sumner of Brandon Valley (7.628, 2006-09). Dustin Lotzer of Sisseton (6,642, 2005-08), Cory Jacobsen of Viborg/Hurley (6,472, 2006-10), and Tate Bruckner of Menno (6,156, 2003-08) have over 6,000 career passing yards.

Breaking 30 mark in pass TDs…A total of nine players have thrown for 30 or more TDs in a season. Another 57 quarterbacks have tossed for 20 TDs in a season. Austin Sumner of Brandon Valley (11-man) in 2009 and Tate Bruckner of Menno (9-man) in 2008 own the SD prep record with 38 TDs in a season. Corey Jacobson of Viborg-Hurley (9-man) in 2010 and Dustin Lotzer of Sisseton (11-man) in 2008 both had 35 TDs in a season.

Noonan does it – 500 yards rushing… Just one South Dakota prep has had over 500 yards rushing. Dan Noonan of Howard had 527 yards rushing in 2009. A total of seven players have cracked 400 yards rushing. In 11-man football, 14 players have bettered 300 yards rushing with the most recent Brycen Nelson of Brookings with 310 in 2010. In 9-man football 30 players have better 300 yards.

Nine TDs in a game…9-man standouts Joe O’Hara of Montrose in 1974 and Jared Berg of Grant-Deuel in 2004 scored nine TDs in a game to share the all-time record (TDs by rush, pass, reception or special teams). Three others have scored eight in a game and they include John Brookhart of Sunshine Bible in 1963, Jim Jessen of Tulare in 1979 and one 11-man football player Curly Campbell of Flandreau in 1926.

Picking ‘em off… Two players recorded 12 interceptions in a season. The two players did it 10 years apart. They included Kelby Klosterman of Spearfish in 1997 and Jeff Fish of Milbank in 2007.

Over 1,250 in receiving yards…A total of 21 players in 9-man and 11-man ranks have at least 1,250 yards in career receiving yards.

Only three with 2000 yards receiving…Devin Tohm of Sisseton finished his career with 2,644 yards and is one of three players in state history with 2,000 yards receiving. Allan Schmaltz had 2,230 yards for Rapid City Central and sits 2nd in 11-man ranks. Jace Jensen of Harding County, who graduated in 2010, finished his career with 2,065 receiving yards which is the most in 9-man competition.

Niklason cracks 1,400 in receiving yards for season… Darren Niklason of Brandon Valley had the greatest receiving season in history in 2008 when he had 1,455 yards and 17 TDs. His receiving yards is the best all-time. He is one of three players in history with 1200 or more yards receiving. Trey Frederick of Sisseton had 1,234 yards for Sisseton in 2008. Trent DesLauriers of Clark in 2006 had 1,215 yards. In total 15 players had 1,000 or more receiving yards in a season.

Catching 10 or more TDs… A total of 27 players have caught 10 or more TDs in a season in either 9-man or 11-man football. Eight players have 15 or more TDs receiving, including the all-time leader Darren Niklason of Brandon Valley with 17 in 2008. In 11-man, four other players (besides Niklason) had 15 or more TDs in a season, including Shane Burnison, Spearfish, 1997, 16; Josh Stalder, Spearfish, 2003, 16; Dustin Nowotny, St. Thomas More, 2006, 16; and Devin Tohm, Sisseton, 2010, 15. In 9-man, Dennis DeNei of Viborg/Hurley set the record with 16 TDs a year ago. He will be back this season. Dave Kayser of Emery/Spencer, 1985, and Jace Jensen of Harding County, 2010, both had 15 TDs receiving.

Shutting down opponents… In the 2006 season, the Aberdeen Roncalli Cavaliers set a state record with 11 straight shutouts. However, Roncalli’s bid to finish a season “perfect” (no points allowed) was ended by St. Thomas More. Roncalli won the 11B title game, 27-13. The 1987 Platte team finished with nine shutouts and Miller’s 1946 team had eight straight shutouts in an unbeaten season.

Six picks in a game… In 2002, Tyrell Pierce of Little Wound had six interceptions in a game. Solomon St. Pierre of Wagner had five in a game in 2008.

Kicking it…Josh Hansen of Watertown holds the career record for most field goals with 19 during 2004-07. A total of 20 prep kickers have a 50-yard field goal or better with Kevin Hansen of Sioux Falls Washington owning the longest kick with 58-yards in 1998. Trevor Cook of Sioux Falls Washington had a 56-yard field goal in 2005 while Ryan Jastram of Sioux Falls Roosevelt booted one from 55 in 2006. The nine-man record for longest field goal is held by Jason Larson of Woonsocket in 1989 and Dakota Hulm of Bison in 1999 with 47-yard kicks.