Chemistry makes young, yet experienced Midgets team clickThe Dickinson High football team is a little older, a little wiser and much stronger.
By: Royal McGregor, The Dickinson Press
Midgets’ upside: Dickinson High has great speed, decent size and enough experience to make a run at the Class 3A playoffs.
Midgets’ downside: Despite having a boatload of juniors who have seen plenty of action, the team has only six seniors.
The Dickinson High football team is a little older, a little wiser and much stronger.
The team has just six seniors but one of them, Jordan Krieg, said there is a different vibe around the team this year.
And different is good.
“It’s just a different type of focus this year, a different type of energy,” said Krieg, a 6-foot-4, 220-pound tight end and defensive end. “We have expectations. It’s not the typical, ‘I hope we get a win.’ We’re going to get wins.”
The Midgets return junior quarterback Dylan Skabo (5-11, 165) and junior running back Michael Cherwinski (5-8, 170) to the backfield. Junior running back Jace Dukart (6-1, 175), who is also a standout defensive back, also returns.
Skabo, who shared time with Luke Hanel at the beginning of the season, said it’s great to already have chemistry with Cherwinski and the rest of the returning players.
“It’s nice, because we have that chemistry,” said Skabo, one of a handful of players who missed the first few football practices because of their roles with the Dickinson Roughriders’ American Legion baseball team and its unexpected run in the Central Plains Regional Tournament.
“Last year, it was kind of new for us because (before that) we didn’t see a lot of varsity time.”
Despite having a 2-7 overall record in 2011 and a 1-5 mark in Class 3A’s West Region, a starting lineup filled with underclassmen ended up working to Dickinson’s advantage.
“It’s big,” Dickinson head coach Dennis Morris said. “We did some great things last year with sophomores on the field. They weren’t physically or mentally ready, but we were able to develop a lot confidence with them that they can play at the varsity level.
“They had a great summer in the weight room and a great summer in camps. Just a year older, stronger, faster and smarter are all benefits for our team.”
In Morris’ mind, the defensive line might be one the Midgets’ strong suits this season.
“Our defensive line, I think, is the best we’ve had in years,” Morris said. “It’s not the biggest we’ve had, but we have eight solid guys.”
Mitch Mehrer (6-3, 215), Jordan Wanner (6-1, 225) and Blake Vance (6-2, 215) lead the solid junior class on the defensive and offensive lines.
Mehrer, an all-West Region returning starter, said they are much further along than last year and have much higher aspirations.
“We’re trying to make a run,” Mehrer said. “We’re all trying to make a run to the state championship. That’s our goal. Camp went real well for us. We were ahead of schedule.”
Another strong suit for Dickinson this year is going to speed.
Joining the already speedy Cherwinski in the backfield is sophomore Preston Theurer.
“He might be one of the quickest kids I’ve ever been around,” Morris said. “He’s working in the first string with Michael.”
Though the Midgets don’t pass too often, they have a big target on the field when they do in Krieg, an all-West Region third-year starter.
Dickinson also has senior wide receiver Taren Staudinger, junior wide receiver Levi Jordheim and senior running back Alec Stieg to look upon as offensive threats.
“Jordan is a great big kid, a great big target and he’s got soft hands,” Morris said. “When we do throw the ball, we are looking for high completion passes.”
Krieg said building a relationship with Skabo over the past two years has made play on the field more comfortable and the chemistry continues to grow.
“It’s nice,” Krieg said. “He knows where to get me the ball and where I like it. He’s a smart player. He makes the right reads and doesn’t really do anything wrong.”
The Midgets have depth at the quarterback with junior Mac Rohr and sophomore Charles Splichal.
“They are coming along really well,” Morris said. “They are both guys that can play when need be.”
Morris said having a multitude of returners makes the learning curve easier and he knows they have some speed on the field.
“We know we have athletes and we have a ton of speed,” Morris said. “The kids we have we know are hard workers. We know they are hard-nose. We know they are physical kids. We didn’t have the physical strength as a team last year to do it. I’ve got to watch them in weight room all summer long. It’s all the same guys with 20 pounds on their body with a year of experience under their belt.”
Dickinson High Midgets
Head coach: Dennis Morris (third season)
Last season: 2-7, missed playoffs
Returners: Jordan Krieg, Sr., TE/DE, 6-4, 220; Taren Staudinger, Sr., WR/DB, 6-0, 160; Alec Stieg, Sr., RB/LB, 6-1, 200; Michael Cherwinski, Jr., RB. 5-8, 170; Mitchell Mehrer, Jr., OL/DE, 6-3, 215; Dylan Skabo, Jr., QB/S, 5-11, 165; Jordan Wanner, Jr., OL/DL, 6-1, 225; Jace Dukart, Jr., RB/DB, 6-1, 175; Levi Jordheim, Jr., WR/LB, 6-1, 170; Blake Vance, Jr., OL/LB, 6-2, 215.
Newcomers: Preston Theurer, So., RB; Mac Rohr, Jr., QB.
Losses: Luke Hanel, QB/DB; Jamie Kuntz, TE/LB; D.J. Weismann, RB/LB/K; Vance Volesky, TE/LB; Mason Frank, WR/DB; Taylor Kraenzel, WR/DB; Tyrell Parker, TE/RB/DE; Thomas McCarty, OL/DL; Seth Leno, OL/DL.