South Dakota football to hold spring scrimmage in Rapid City

South Dakota football to hold spring scrimmage in Rapid City In a continuing effort to reach out to the Coyote fan base in South Dakota, head football coach John Austin and his South Dakota football program will hold a football scrimmage in Rapid City as part of their spring football practice.

"From strictly an educational standpoint, this is a wonderful opportunity," said fourth-year head football coach John Austin, who is 14-18 in his career at South Dakota. "We will visit the Capitol in Pierre where we will have lunch. Then, we will travel through the Badlands and stay at Camp Rapid (National Guard Barracks) in Rapid City," said Austin, noting that the team will also visit Mount Rushmore on Friday evening (April 19).

Since Austin arrived at South Dakota in 1998, this football adventure west is the third planned trip that South Dakota football has made during annual spring football practices. Two years ago, the Coyotes played a scrimmage at McEnaney Field (O'Gorman High School) in Sioux Falls. A year ago, the Coyotes had a planned scrimmage in Sioux City, IA, canceled due to weather conditions.

The scrimmage, to be held at 1 p.m., Saturday, April 20, at O'Hara Field on the campus of the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in Rapid City, will feature honorary coaches that will include USD alumni as well as members of the media from the Rapid City-area. The festivities on April 20.

also will include a free football clinic for kindergarten to eighth-grade students.

At 11 a.m., the Coyotes will host a pre-game tailgate party, which will be followed by the scrimmage.

According to Austin, those attending the pre-game tailgate party will have a chance to meet the members of the Coyote football team.

"This event will be a great opportunity for our football team to thank the alumni and people of Rapid City who support our program. It is also an opportunity to showcase the five current members of our football team from Rapid City," said Austin.

Those area student-athletes include senior nose tackle Bill Gassen (Rapid City Central); junior linebacker Josh Gassen (Rapid City Central); senior linebacker Drew Barns (Rapid City Central), senior Clint Thome (Rapid City Central) and defensive end M.J. Sonnenfeld (Douglas, Ellsworth AirForce Base).

This fall, the Coyotes will have a total of eight Rapid City-area athletes on their squad. Matt Murphy and Luke Neely (Rapid City Stevens) and Luke Hofkamp (Rapid City Central) are incoming freshman to the USD football program.

Austin noted that the football will be spirited and competitive but it will also be held early in the spring football season.

"When we hold the scrimmage at O'Hara Field, it will be our seventh practice. It will be time for us to evaluate our team. After this scrimmage, players will have the opportunity to move up or drop down on the depth chart," said Austin, who noted that the Coyotes will begin spring practice on Monday, April 8.

The Coyotes will return to campus after the scrimmage on Saturday. The annual spring game will be held at 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 4 in the DakotaDome.

Schedule of events

10 a.m. � Free Football Clinic, Grades K-8

11 a.m. � Pre-game Tailgate Party

1 p.m. � Intra-squad Scrimmage (alumni, media honorary coaches)

For more information on Coyote football, go to www.usdcoyotes.com

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