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Time up for grabs: Blankenship shares time between sports, but football is No. 1 priority

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sports Dickinson, 58602
The Dickinson Press
(701) 225-4205 customer support
Dickinson North Dakota 1815 1st Street West 58602

Calum Blankenship is a busy man.

The senior doesn’t leave the football field on Friday nights and he gets up early for Killdeer’s cross country meets on Saturday morning.

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But football was always the top priority.

“Football was always No. 1,” Blankenship said. “The beginning of the season was no the most fun, but after a while you got used to it. Every day you would have the running sore and then the football sore.”

For the Killdeer football team, Blankenship plays tight end and linebacker. Killdeer head coach Lou Dobitz said it’s tough to take Blankenship off the field.

“He’s a tough guy to pull off the field, because he’s such a good guy of reading what’s going on,” Dobitz said. “He helps us out defensively so much because he’s in the right place at the right time.”

After Killdeer compiled a 7-1 record and finished the season ranked No. 3 in Class 1A, Blankenship couldn’t have asked for a better senior season.

“It’s pretty cool to see how far we’ve gotten, but hopefully these next four weeks treat us well,” he said.

As a tight end, Blankenship ended the regular season with a team-high 12 catches for 233 yards and two touchdowns. On the defensive side, he had 12 unassisted tackles, two sacks and two interceptions.

One player who went through the cross country and football seasons with Blankenship was Lewis Dobitz. The junior running back said the first week was the toughest.

“It was just really hard at the start, but we just worked into it slowly,” said Lewis Dobitz, who finished the regular season with 574 yards on 55 carries and 11 touchdowns.

The Cowboys begin the first round of the Class 1A playoffs against Velva at 6:30 p.m. today at the Biesiot Activities Center.

Killdeer, the host team, moved to the BAC because of poor field conditions. This is the second year the two teams meet in the first round of the playoffs at the BAC. Last year, the Cowboys defeated the Aggies 43-14.

“They are a much improved team than they were last year,” Lou Dobitz said. “They are probably one of the best prepared teams because they have a great coaching staff. With it being at the BAC, is a treat for both teams.”

Blankenship is in agreement with Dobitz about Velva being a different team from last year. This year the Aggies have a 5-3 record and are riding a four-game win streak.

“They are a whole different team now,” Blankenship said. “They throw a lot of things at you, you just have to be ready for it.”

This season has been a little change of pace for the Cowboys. Killdeer, which has been known for big, tough offensive linemen, had to rely on its speed more this season.

Lou Dobitz introduced the new offensive scheme to his players about two hours before the team played its first snaps at the Dickinson State football camp in the summer.

Killdeer didn’t have any hiccups getting the offense down quickly. Blankenship said everything just clicked.

“It was weird, it just clicked right away,” Blankenship said. “We went to camp and the first day that we ran it, it kept working, so we kept running it. We never thought twice about not doing it.”

Lou Dobitz said reasoning behind everything clicking quickly is the team’s athleticism and smartness.

“It clicked right away because the kids are athletic and smart enough to understand it,” he said.

At the beginning of the season, Lewis Dobitz and Trenton Rohr split time at the quarterback position. As the weeks went on, Rohr took more snaps at quarterback, but Dobitz wasn’t out of the backfield as he is Killdeer’s main running back. On the season, Rohr is 40 of 88 for 684 yards with five TDs and five INTs.

Lewis Dobitz said he perfectly fine not being under center.

“I haven’t got to be quarterback in a while and I’m OK with that,” he said with a smile. “Trenton and I are really good friends and we work together extremely well.”

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Royal McGregor
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