DSU senior QB Dave Velasquez out 3-4 weeks, backups Harkless and Lane begin preparingDave Velasquez almost made it his entire football career without having to sit out a game because of an injury.
By: Dustin Monke, The Dickinson Press
Dave Velasquez almost made it his entire football career without having to sit out a game because of an injury.
Though Velasquez’s season likely isn’t over, Dickinson State’s senior quarterback said doctors have told him he must sit out at least three to four weeks after suffering a severely sprained left ankle in Saturday’s 42-6 loss against Carroll College at the Badlands Activities Center.
“This is my first time I’ve ever sat out of a game since I was in junior high,” said Velasquez, who is in a soft cast and on crutches.
Though Velasquez hasn’t been amazing on a stat sheet, DSU head coach Hank Biesiot said the Blue Hawks will greatly miss the 6-foot-1, 225-pound signal-caller who is just as apt at hitting a receiver deep down field as he is using his scrambling ability to get first downs and punch in touchdowns.
In five games, Velasquez has thrown for 591 yards, four touchdowns and three interceptions while completing just 41 percent of his passes. He has also rushed for 63 yards and three TDs. He ranks sixth in the Frontier Conference in total offensive yards per game.
“He’s the guy, one of the main reasons we’ve ha8d a chance to win some of the games we have,” Biesiot said. “He’s played well all year.”
Biesiot said the Blue Hawks (1-4, 1-4 Frontier) will now likely turn to Matt Harkless, Velasquez’s backup of two seasons, to handle most of the snaps for Saturday’s homecoming game against No. 13-ranked Montana Tech (4-1, 4-1 Frontier).
DSU fans have already seen flashes from the small but speedy Harkless, a 190-pound sophomore from Hot Springs, S.D., who likes to uses his legs more often than his arm but has shown the ability to throw the football.
He took over after Velasquez went down late in the third quarter and completed one pass for 21 yards, setting up a Chad Bryant field goal, and rushed for 25 yards on five carries.
Harkless, who is listed on the roster at 6-foot tall but is really about 5-10, is 4 of 8 for 28 yards on the season while carrying the ball 17 times for 71 yards.
Last year, he was 4 of 8 for 45 yards passing in mop-up duty while rushing for 64 yards on three carries. That included a 54-yard scamper late in a home win against Mayville State.
“At times, I think I might run a little bit more than Dave,” Harkless said. “If I see an opening, I’m going to take the yards that are there.”
Redshirt freshman Thad Lane could also see time in a couple series, Biesiot said. Lane hasn’t played this season and spent last year as a scout-team quarterback.
“He’s got a pretty good feel in the pocket,” Biesiot said of the Cheyenne, Wyo., native. “He’s coming on as of the last couple weeks, which is good because we’re going to need all hands on deck once again.”
While Lane could play, Harkless will undoubtedly get the start and see the majority of snaps.
Velasquez said the Blue Hawks should feel completely comfortable with Harkless on the field.
“He’ll fill my shoes easily,” Velasquez said. “He can keep plays alive with his feet and everything. His arm strength is fine. He can get it done. He should be fine. He knows the playbook inside and out. That shouldn’t be a problem either. It’s everyone trusting each other back there.”