Titans looking to bounce back in 2012It’s a refreshing time for the Dickinson Trinity football team. While most teams relish the start of a new football season, this one couldn’t come fast enough for the Titans.
By: Dustin Monke, The Dickinson Press
Titans’ upside: Trinity’s has some of the most experienced skill-postition players in Class 2A.
Titans’ downside: Despite having several experienced seniors, depth remains an issue. The team has just three juniors on its roster.
It’s a refreshing time for the Dickinson Trinity football team.
While most teams relish the start of a new football season, this one couldn’t come fast enough for the Titans.
After an injury-plagued 2011 season made worse by off-the-field events out of the team’s control, Trinity is starting the 2012 campaign fresh and with the objective of reviving a history-laden program that missed the playoffs for the first time in several years and hasn’t reached a Class 2A state championship game since 2006.
“They had an experience last year that they don’t want to have again,” said Trinity head coach Randy Gordon, entering his 26th season as head coach.
Last season, the Titans finished with a 3-6 record. This year’s group has no intention of letting that happen again.
“Like I’ve told a lot of people: We can’t compare this year’s team to last year’s,” said Trinity senior Ben Gordon, a three-year starter at quarterback.
The Titans return several starters and players who saw quality time last year — many of whom played more than expected because of injuries — and have a revamped offense that Randy Gordon said could get the team going early in the season.
“I don’t think anybody will really recognize us offensively,” he said.
The Titans will gear their offense around the arm Ben Gordon and the shifty feet of senior running back Brendin Steiner.
Gordon has protection up front — an experienced offensive line returns, led by senior all-West Region left tackle Jesse Kubik and left guard Alex Nielsen, a senior captain — and good targets to throw to in senior receivers Alex Binstock, Jacob Good and Mitch Meyer, as well as bulky senior tight end Isiah Binstock.
Steiner will handle much of the rushing load but will likely share carries with seniors Mason Heth, Lane Herberholz and Cody Heiser.
“It’s nice to be multi-dimensional,” Steiner said. “Last year, our passing game struggled and our running game struggled. As an offense, we kind of hit a wall there at the middle of the season. This year we’re multi-dimensional. We can throw. We can run. We can throw a lot of different things at teams. It’s good to know that whatever we have in our playbook, we can run the right way.”
Alongside Kubik and Nielsen up front, the Titans get behind senior center Dalton Soehren, senior right guard David Dvorak and junior right tackle Cody Woehl, the group’s lone new starter. No one on the unit comes in at under 210 pounds. Senior Nathaniel Knopik is also expected to lend a hand on both sides of the line.
In the secondary, Alex Binstock, Good and Meyer have solid experience.
The biggest question for the Titans defensively, Randy Gordon said, is figuring out what exactly the team should do at linebacker, particularly outside linebacker.
“Last year, my biggest frustration was people got outside us all the time,” he said. “That’s a big position for us.”
Isiah Binstock, at 6-foot-3, 200 pounds, is the likely answer at an outside linebacker spot.
Randy Gordon said he hopes inside linebacker can be handled by Steiner and the four H’s — Heiser, Heth, Herberholz and senior Travis Heidt.
“If we can get by with having two inside backers smaller in stature and put him (Isiah Binstock) on an end, I think we’re going to be better,” Randy Gordon said.
Trinity’s captains said this year’s team has a much better rapport with each other than in previous years, a trait they believe could help their chances.
“I think we’re more of a tight-knit group this year,” Nielsen said. “We’re closer together, which should help us. You’ve got to know who you’re playing beside while you’re playing.”
While camaraderie is one thing, playing the game is another.
Randy Gordon said he hopes the team can get off to a good start and stay healthy throughout the season. If they can do that, he believes the Titans can be pushing for a good playoff spot by October.
“If we can do that,” Gordon said, “I think we can match up with anybody, play with anybody and compete with them. We really did last year. When we were full strength, or even three-fourths strength, we competed with everybody.”
Dickinson Trinity Titans
Head coach: Randy Gordon (26th season)
Last season: 3-6, missed playoffs
Returners: Brendin Steiner, Sr., RB/LB, 5-7, 160; Ben Gordon, Sr., QB, 6-0, 185; Alex Binstock, Sr., WR/DB, 6-0, 155; Alex Nielsen, Sr., OL/DL, 6-1, 210; Jesse Kubik, Sr., OL/DL, 6-7, 290; Isiah Binstock, Sr., TE/LB, 6-3, 200; Jacob Good, Sr., WR/DB, 6-4, 170; Travis Heidt, Sr., LB, 6-0, 170; Cody Heiser, Sr., RB/LB, 5-9, 170; Mitch Meyer, Sr., WR/DB; David Dvorak, Sr., OL/DL, 6-0, 220; Dalton Soehren, Sr., OL/DL, 6-3, 220; Mason Heth, Sr., RB/LB, 5-9, 160; Lane Herberholz, Sr., RB/LB, 5-7, 155; Nathaniel Knopik, Sr., OL/DL, 6-1, 240.
Newcomers: Cody Woehl, JR., OL/DL.
Losses: Clarence Binstock, FB/LB; Dylan Fridrich, TE/LB; Austin Gawryluk, OL/LB; Mason Schiff, RB/DB; Brandon Sickler, RB/DB; Christian Olson, WR/DB; Nick Weir, OL/DL.