Larry Leeds

The Madison Bulldogs are one game away from something that hasn't been done since 2005.

With a win over the St. Thomas More Cavaliers in the semifinals of the Class 11A football playoffs on Nov. 4, the Bulldogs will be joining some elite company.

Madison would be making its fourth straight trip to the DakotaDome for the championship game.

This has not happened since 2005, when West Central qualified for its sixth straight championship game. Dell Rapids had a run of three years, from 2010-12.

It would be a huge accomplishment for the Bulldogs to get to their fourth straight championship game; with a win in the championship game, Madison would be the first back-to-back champion since Dell Rapids. The Quarriers won three straight championship games with the last one in 2012.

For the Bulldogs to make it in the elite company, they need to get past a long bus ride to Rapid City and then beat a very good St. Thomas More team.

Madison and St. Thomas More, for most of the season, were the 1-2 teams in the South Dakota Sportwriters Class 11A Poll. That was until Tea Area slipped past Madison 28-25.

Since that setback, Madison has whipped Milbank in the regular-season finale at Milbank and then in the first round of the playoffs.

Even though the ride is long and the Cavaliers are good, I have learned something very valuable in my five years here. Never count out the Bulldogs in anything.


ABOUT LARRY LEEDS

Larry Leeds was born and raised in South Dakota, graduating from Colman High School in 1974. He continued his education at USD/Springfield and Dakota State University and received a bachelor's degree in physical education and history in 1979. He later obtained a journalism degree from South Dakota State University.

Before coming to Madison, Leeds worked at weekly papers in Flandreau, St. James, Minn., Redfield and Hayti (Hamlin County Publishing with Castlewood and Estelline).

He has a passion for all sports, especially high school sports and amateur baseball, because these teams are filled with players who want to be playing the game.

His favorite teams are the Nebraska Cornhuskers, Chicago Bears, Minnesota Twins and Timberwolves, and New York Yankees.

Leeds is also a NASCAR fan whose favorite drivers are Dave Blaney and his son Ryan.