New Salem-Almont’s football team has made it back to the semifinals for the fifth time in the last seven seasons, an achievement not many teams can claim.

But the Holsteins are ready to break through and get back to a Dakota Bowl for the first time since 2018. They’ll get a chance to defend home field in the semifinals once again this year… and they’re using last season’s ending as motivation.

“We’ve got to stay focused,” says senior Kane Grinsteiner. “We can’t get our heads too big. We don’t want an upset game or anything like that, so we have to stay focused and play like we always do.”

There’s one big difference for the Holsteins at this point in the season, playing close games. Something they’re not used to with an average margin of victory of nearly 33 points, But they say this team is ready for whatever tests will be thrown their way.

“We feel like we’ve done a great job of conditioning the kids but there’s nothing like game reps that are live against another opponent,” says HC Steve Kleinjan. “You know, these kids have good mindset and so we’re counting on the fact that they’re going to be mentally ready to play those four quarters and that’s going to help get us through those situations where we need to dig a little deeper and find that little extra burst of energy.”