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Dickinson Trinity senior quarterback Ben Gordon, shown making a throw against Killdeer on Aug. 24 at the 
Badlands Activities Center, has thrown nine touchdown passes and rushed for another in his first three games this season.
Dickinson Trinity senior quarterback Ben Gordon, shown making a throw against Killdeer on Aug. 24 at the Badlands Activities Center, has thrown nine touchdown passes and rushed for another in his first three games this season.

Trinity QB Ben Gordon coming into his own this season

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Ben Gordon is at the point in his high school football career when everything seems to be falling into place.

Dickinson Trinity's 6-foot, 185-pound senior quarterback and son of head coach Randy Gordon has been the catalyst behind his football team's strong start and hopes the Titans can keep building tonight when they face another tough test against Minot Ryan in a Class 2A, West Region game at 7 p.m. at the Badlands Activities Center.

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Ben Gordon is coming off a career-best performance in which he threw for 231 yards and three touchdowns while rushing for 57 more yards and the game-winning touchdown in a 25-24 overtime win over No. 3-ranked Carrington.

"We showed what we were capable of," Ben Gordon said of the win over Carrington. "Now this week is about proving what we can do it week in and week out, not just doing it one week and then lay an egg the next week. If we can get by Minot Ryan and Carrington, we can put ourselves in a pretty good position to hopefully get a home playoff game -- if we can win out."

A win tonight would be another step in what is becoming a stellar senior season for Ben Gordon.

He has thrown for 498 yards and nine touchdowns with just one interception while rushing for 136 yards while helping Trinity to a 2-1 record.

In his first two years as a starter, Ben Gordon threw for 1,821 yards, 21 touchdowns and 15 interceptions while completing 51 percent of his passes. He had eight touchdowns and eight interceptions as a junior.

But sometimes, all it takes for a quarterback to improve that last little bit is a scheme change.

For Ben Gordon, that change is Trinity's new pistol offense, which allows him to line up three to four steps back from center with a running back behind him and more receivers to target. It's a major change from the I-formation and pro sets the Titans had run for years. Randy Gordon said the pistol set gives his son more time to throw and better field vision.

"It helps to open it up. It's a lot easier to see everything," Ben Gordon said. "This year, a lot of our plays are four people running a route instead of a tight end or a receiver. Where you had two options, now you have four -- plus a back running a route."

Jacob Good, a 6-foot-4 senior receiver who has nine catches for 150 yards and two touchdowns this season, said his quarterback is much improved over his junior season when he started off strong but began sputtering after throwing three interceptions in a road loss at Ryan.

"Last year, he started off well and kind of hit a wall," Good said. "This year, it's been good."

Ben Gordon said his job as quarterback is made easier by receivers like Good, senior Jacob Volk and senior tight end Isiah Binstock.

"It doesn't have to be a perfect ball," Ben Gordon said. "In Carrington, Jacob Volk made two of the nicest catches I've seen in a long time -- that I've thrown anyway."

Trinity coaches said what's nice about Trinity opening up its passing game through Ben Gordon is that, sooner or later, it will force opponents to play cautious against the pass defensively, which should help open up the Titans' running game.

"We just need to keep doing what we're good at and what he's good at -- and that's throwing the ball," said Jacob Odermann, Trinity's offensive backfield coach.

Ben Gordon said he has also learned much from Odermann and assistant coach Andrew DesRosier.

Odermann, who was a Class 2A all-state quarterback in 2001 when he helped the Titans to the second of back-to-back state championships, has high praise for the senior quarterback.

"Ben is making fantastic decisions right now as a high school quarterback," said Odermann, the Titans' offensive backfield coach. "When they give us the short one, he's taking it. When they give us the long one, he's taking it."

Ben Gordon said he rarely consults with his dad on the sidelines.

Randy Gordon said things work better when the two keep their father-son dynamic off the sidelines and defer most of Ben's coaching to Trinity's assistants.

"I don't say much," Randy Gordon said with a smile. "They can handle that part of it. I don't say much when it comes to coaching him because that doesn't work. The father-son thing doesn't work very well."

Yet, Ben Gordon said his dad is the first person he usually finds on the sidelines following touchdown drives.

"It makes it that much more fun when you do it with your dad on the sidelines," Ben Gordon said. "Not many kids get to score a touchdown and run over and the first person you high five is your dad."

The ultimate goal, Ben Gordon said, would be the win a state championship with his father.

"It'd be fun for him to win another one or do well with me and my class," he said.

He has thrown for 498 yards and nine touchdowns with just one interception while rushing for 136 yards while helping Trinity to a 2-1 record.

In his first two years as a starter, Ben Gordon threw for 1,821 yards, 21 touchdowns and 15 interceptions while completing 51 percent of his passes. He had eight touchdowns and eight interceptions as a junior.

But sometimes, all it takes for a quarterback to improve that last little bit is a scheme change.

For Ben Gordon, that change is Trinity's new pistol offense, which allows him to line up three to four steps back from center with a running back behind him and more receivers to target. It's a major change from the I-formation and pro sets the Titans had run for years. Randy Gordon said the pistol set gives his son more time to throw and better field vision.

"It helps to open it up. It's a lot easier to see everything," Ben Gordon said. "This year, a lot of our plays are four people running a route instead of a tight end or a receiver. Where you had two options, now you have four -- plus a back running a route."

Jacob Good, a 6-foot-4 senior receiver who has nine catches for 150 yards and two touchdowns this season, said his quarterback is much improved over his junior season when he started off strong but began sputtering after throwing three interceptions in a road loss at Ryan.

"Last year, he started off well and kind of hit a wall," Good said. "This year, it's been good."

Ben Gordon said his job as quarterback is made easier by receivers like Good, senior Jacob Volk and senior tight end Isiah Binstock.

"It doesn't have to be a perfect ball," Ben Gordon said. "In Carrington, Jacob Volk made two of the nicest catches I've seen in a long time -- that I've thrown anyway."

Trinity coaches said what's nice about Trinity opening up its passing game through Ben Gordon is that, sooner or later, it will force opponents to play cautious against the pass defensively, which should help open up the Titans' running game.

"We just need to keep doing what we're good at and what he's good at -- and that's throwing the ball," said Jacob Odermann, Trinity's offensive backfield coach.

Ben Gordon said he has also learned much from Odermann and offensive coordinator Andrew DesRosier.

Odermann, who was a Class 2A all-state quarterback in 2001 when he helped the Titans to the second of back-to-back state championships, has high praise for the senior quarterback.

"Ben is making fantastic decisions right now as a high school quarterback," Odermann said. "When they give us the short one, he's taking it. When they give us the long one, he's taking it."

Ben Gordon said he rarely consults with his dad on the sidelines.

Randy Gordon said things work better when the two keep their father-son dynamic off the sidelines and defer most of Ben's coaching to Trinity's assistants.

"I don't say much," Randy Gordon said with a smile. "They can handle that part of it. I don't say much when it comes to coaching him because that doesn't work. The father-son thing doesn't work very well."

Yet, Ben Gordon said his dad is the first person he usually finds on the sidelines following touchdown drives.

"It makes it that much more fun when you do it with your dad on the sidelines," Ben Gordon said. "Not many kids get to score a touchdown and run over and the first person you high five is your dad."

The ultimate goal, Ben Gordon said, would be the win a state championship with his father.

"It'd be fun for him to win another one or do well with me and my class," he said.

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Monke came to The Dickinson Press in July 2006 as the newspaper's sports editor and was hired as its managing editor in March 2013. During his tenure at The Press, Monke has won multiple awards for sports reporting, feature reporting, column writing, page design and photography. He was a key part of The Press winning the North Dakota Newspaper Association's General Excellence and Sweepstakes awards in 2009 and 2012, and oversaw The Press' Sweepstakes and General Excellence wins 2014. As the newspaper's editor, he writes an occassional Sunday column, contributes feature stories and breaking news, designs pages, and oversees the day-to-day operations of the newsroom and editorial staff.
(701) 456-1205
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