Improved offense key for Dickinson High
Dickinson High football coach Dave Michaelson said his team has had enough of practice and is ready to play.
"When you can actually come out and start hitting someone else, that's what football is about," Michaelson said. "Preseason gets old."
The Midgets open their season on the road when they travel to Fargo North. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. today at Fargo North High School.
The Midgets bring an improved offense to the table after suffering a 32-13 loss to North at Whitney Stadium in last year's season opener.
Senior running back Mitch Kudrna returns to lead the offense. The 6-foot-1, 185-pound senior had 1,232 all-purpose yards last year. Only 772 of the yards came on the ground.
The return of Kudrna and several offensive starters is one aspect Michaelson loves about this season's squad.
"We're excited because we think we have more weapons this year just because kids are more experienced," he said.
Junior quarterback Ben Herauf and senior wide receiver Travis Tooley return to lead an improved aerial assault.
"We feel like we can throw the ball better than we did last year," Michaelson said.
Herauf and Tooley shared time at quarterback before Herauf took over for good in midseason.
While Dickinson seems to have found its signal-caller, North's hopes rest on a sophomore with little experience at the position.
After losing nearly 20 seniors and returning only seven starters, North coach Bret Sorenson's cupboards aren't entirely bare. But they're not stocked in preparation for a buffet either.
The Spartans will look to sophomore quarterback Ethan Schnabel to lead the underclassman-dominated team.
"We're going to look to him to make plays," Sorenson said.
Schnabel played significant minutes in North's final games last season because starter Nathan Dehne went down with a concussion. Schnabel was 13 of 28 for 200 yards and three touchdowns.
Still, Sorenson hopes for big things from the quarterback.
"He's extremely accurate and very-well gifted mentally," Sorenson said.
Schnabel will benefit from North senior Justin Lake, who returns to the wide receiver and outside linebacker positions.
"We feel, athletically, we're as good as we've been in a long time," Sorenson said.