Pittsley, linemen take lead for KilldeerThe Killdeer football team is going to have to rely on many young players to fill important voids this season.
By: Royal McGregor, The Dickinson Press
Cowboys’ upside: Built around all-state senior Brock Pittsley, Killdeer has talented and experienced offensive and defensive lines.
Cowboys’ downside: The team returns very few veterans in the backfield as a new crew takes over.
The Killdeer football team is going to have to rely on many young players to fill important voids this season.
However, there are two areas where the Cowboys won’t need many young players: their offensive and defensive lines.
Killdeer has four of its five offensive linemen back and all five of its defensive linemen are returning seniors.
The biggest name on the both lines is 6-foot-1, 265-pound senior Brock Pittsley.
“There are a lot of other guys that do such a great job there and their names aren’t as well-known as Brock’s,” Killdeer head coach Lou Dobitz said. “Riley Rohde and Konner Chinn are going to produce a lot. Brock is a mainstay and he’s quite a player, but we have some other guys that will try to do the same things.”
While their line is deep and talented, the Cowboys need to find a running back to take the place of Grady Houghton, River Voigt and Lane Oversen after a 4-5 season that ended in a loss to eventual Class A state champion Stanley-Powers Lake in the first round of the playoffs.
The team’s projected running back is sophomore Lewis Dobitz, who had 48 carries for 233 yards and two touchdowns last season.
“All the way around we are kind of thin in numbers,” Lou Dobitz said. “We don’t have a lot of depth anywhere. We’re going to be young in the backfield. We’ve got some young guys playing this year.”
Killdeer will have experience at the quarterback position with senior Christian Kulish taking over duties for two-year starter Austy Sadowsky.
“We had Ben Pelton before Austy Sadowsky played and now we have another senior,” Dobitz said. “We’re lucky that we have a senior coming in. He’s a good person that will manage our offense and he’ll get the ball to the right people. That’s what we need to get done.”
Other than their quarterback, offensive and defensive lines, the Cowboys are young and will need to rely on juniors, sophomores and possibly even freshmen to fill in key spots.
“It will be an eye-opener for them right away, because they are expected to produce a lot for us,” Dobitz said. “They won’t be just getting a play or two here or there like a sophomore normally does. They’ll have to contribute a lot, but they have some confidence going in, because they have a good offensive line.”
The road back to the playoffs will be tough and Dobitz said Hazen is the top dog in Region 4.
“The team to beat in our region has to be Hazen,” Dobitz said. “Heart River and Grant County-Flasher are tough teams. We’ll be fighting all three of those. It’s going to be a dogfight all the way through.
Killdeer opens its season at 7 p.m. Friday against Dickinson Trinity at the Badlands Activities Center.
“We are going to take one game at a time. We have a tough opponent for our first game — Dickinson Trinity — then we have Hazen in our third game. It’s going to tough road right away. We’ve got to be ready to go right away at the beginning of the season.”
Head coach: Lou Dobitz (4th season)
Last season: 4-5, lost to Stanley-Powers Lake in the playoffs
Returners: Brock Pittsley, Sr., OL/DL, 6-1, 265; Calum Blankenship, Jr., TE/DE, 6-3, 170; Riley Rohde, Sr., OL/DL, 5-9, 185; Kinner Chinn, Sr., OL/DL, 6-0, 255; Brey Gegelman, Sr., OL/DL, 5-10, 255; Christian Kulish, Sr., QB/DB, 5-11, 180; Trenton Rohr, So., WR/DB, 5-10, 150; Lewis Dobitz, So., RB/DB, 5-10, 150.
Newcomers: Cristian Hernandez, Sr., OL/LB, 5-6, 150; David Wright, Sr., OL/DL, 6-0, 240; Mitchell Grove, Sr., OL/DL, 6-0, 240; Wil Kling, Sr., TE/DE, 6-2, 215; Cody Johnson, Jr., TE/DE, 6-3, 170; Lane Gaugler, Jr., OL/DL, 6-1, 170; Dillon Haman, Jr., FB/LB, 5-10, 175; Chance Lundberg, Jr., FB/LB, 5-11, 165; Bryce Boepple, Jr., RB/DB, 5-7, 145; Shawn Benz, Sr., WR/DB, 5-7, 135; Brad Hanzel, Jr., WR/DB, 5-9, 150.
Losses: Grady Houghton, LB/RB; Lane Oversen, RB/LB; Tate Harris, OL/DL; Nick Klatt, OL/DL; Lewis Keller, WR/DB; Ethan Olson OL/DL