Monke: Intensity revs up as high school football returns with scrimmagesIn high school football, coaching intensity knows no age limit. Dennis Morris, whose playing days at Dickinson State are almost a decade ago, has been Dickinson High’s head football coach for three years.
By: Dustin Monke, The Dickinson Press
In high school football, coaching intensity knows no age limit.
Dennis Morris, whose playing days at Dickinson State are almost a decade ago, has been Dickinson High’s head football coach for three years.
Randy Gordon, who last strapped on the gray helmet of the Blue Hawks in the 70s, is entering his 26th season at the helm of Dickinson Trinity.
Both men were about as fired up as they could be for a scrimmage Friday evening at the DHS practice field featuring the Midgets, Titans and Killdeer.
“It’s like sitting on a stick of dynamite and you don’t know how long the fuse is,” Morris said.
Yep. High school football is back.
And this year could be a good one in southwest North Dakota.
Dickinson High and Trinity each have several returners and are picked by most pundits — media, coaches and otherwise — to be in the top half of their respective regions.
Both teams showed why Friday.
Of course there were mistakes on all sides as fans lined the sidelines for the rare opportunity to see the Midgets and Titans face against each other in a live setting. But neither team looked lost and both had their share of highlight moments.
“You go 10, 12 days of preseason, you don’t really see improvement until you come here for a test,” Gordon said. “Now we’ve got a week to prepare to get those things. You see a lot more things.”
The Titans and Cowboys played it close to the vest since they open their seasons against each other at 7 p.m. next Friday at the Badlands Activities Center.
Dickinson, meanwhile, showed most of what they plan to do — and it wasn’t much a surprise.
Offensively, the Midgets will start with the speedy combination of quarterback Dylan Skabo and running back Michael Cherwinski and go from there. The real surprises were sophomore running back Preston Theurer and junior quarterback Mac Rohr — backups, in a sense — who will see plenty of time on the field, Morris said.
The Midgets open their season on the road against Dawson County High School in Glendive, Mont., next Friday.
Their home opener is Friday, Aug. 31 against Custer County, Mont.
Morris said the scrimmage is a good way to make sure what’s working in practice actually works against competition.
“After practicing eight two-a-days, you need to see somebody other than yourself,” he said. “You need to see somebody at game speed. This develops a great taste in your mouth for next Friday night.”
High school football officially begins across the state on Tuesday. Here are some games to look forward to in the opening week:
– The BAC Jamboree is back for the second year as eight of the 10 teams from 9-man’s Region 4 meet up at DSU’s stadium for four games next Saturday. Mott-Regent and Parshall-White Shield open the games at 10:30 a.m. Shiloh Christian plays Trenton-Trinity Christian at 1 p.m. Beach faces Central McLean at 3:30 p.m. and Hettinger-Scranton takes on Center-Stanton at 6 p.m. to close out the action.
– Heart River, the co-op of Belfield and South Heart, heads north on Highway 85 to visit Watford City, its Oil Patch counterpart, in the opener at 6 p.m. MDT Friday. While not in the same region, both teams are expected to be Class A playoff contenders. It also provides a fun veteran coaches matchup between Heart River’s Dave Hendrickson and Watford City’s Fred Fridley.
– Hazen and Beulah kick off their seasons with the Coal Bowl at 6 p.m. MDT Friday. Hazen is the near unanimous pick to win Class A, Region 4 while Beulah is viewed as one of top teams in Class 2A’s West Region.
– Richardton-Taylor-Hebron is one of many teams to play two games in the first week. The Raiders begin their season against the Bismarck Century junior varsity at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the BAC and then host Lewis & Clark-Our Redeemers at 5 p.m. Saturday.
– Rivals Standing Rock, on the Standing Rock Reservation, and New Town, on the Fort Berthold Reservation, open their seasons against each other at 6 p.m. Thursday at the BAC.
Monke is the sports editor of The Dickinson Press. He can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at monkebusiness and read his blog at areavoices.com/monke.