Cowboys’ horses: Killdeer has used 4 RBs to establish its offense this year – and they’re all healthy againOn Aug. 25, the Killdeer football team left the Dickinson High School practice field and a scrimmage against Dickinson High and Dickinson Trinity in a bind.
By: Royal McGregor, The Dickinson Press
On Aug. 25, the Killdeer football team left the Dickinson High School practice field and a scrimmage against Dickinson High and Dickinson Trinity in a bind.
Sophomore Lewis Dobitz, who was expected to take a majority of the carries for Killdeer, suffered an arm injury.
“For me, sitting on the sidelines was really painful,” Dobitz said. “Coming back, it was just fun to be back out with the team again. We have a whole bunch of running backs, like John Knopik, that stepped up and played well.”
Killdeer had a multitude of running backs take his place and the Cowboys are now well-rounded as they prepare to travel to No. 1-ranked and defending Class 1A state champion Stanley-Powers Lake, the top seed from Region 3, in playoff quarterfinals at 12:30 p.m. Saturday.
“We know they haven’t lost a game in two years,” Killdeer head coach Lou Dobitz said. “They’re on a roll and have some good kids and they got confidence. At the beginning of the year, everyone expected a lot from them and they’ve stood up.”
Lewis Dobitz’s first game back was when Killdeer (7-3), the No. 2 seed in Region 4, upset No. 2-ranked Heart River on Sept. 28 and have rattled off six straight wins.
“We’re actually really confident,” Killdeer fullback/defensive end Riley Rohde said. “We have a big strong offensive and defensive line. We’ve played really good football. We just have to do our jobs and hopefully get the W.”
In Lewis Dobitz’s absence, sophomores John Knopik and Trenton Rohr, junior Blake Carbaugh and Rohde filled in to accumulate more than 1,300 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Each running back, no matter if they are a starter or backup, gives all the praise to Killdeer’s stout offensive line. The Cowboys average more than 235 pounds up front.
“I feel really comfortable with my line,” Lewis Dobitz said. “I couldn’t ask for a better line. They are the leaders of the team.”
“Really it’s our offensive line,” Rohde added. “They create huge holes. Biggest holes I’ve ever seen.”
Lou Dobitz said Knopik is back to nearly 100 percent after he sustaining a sprained ankle on Oct 5 in a 27-6 win over New Salem-Almont-Glen Ullin. Knopik has 88 carries and 538 yards rushing with three touchdowns.
Rohde also was bit by the injury bug with a concussion, but is back with full head of steam.
“It makes it more exciting for me, because last year I broke my leg and I know what it feels like to sit out the whole season,” Rohde said. “You work your butt off, because you don’t know if you are going to play the next game. There’s always a chance of getting hurt.”
The only lingering injury question for Killdeer is its starting quarterback situation.
Senior Christian Kulish, who sprained his ankle during a chest bump before the Cowboys opening playoff game against Velva, has been getting physical therapy and walking without crutches this week.
If Kulish isn’t able to start, freshman Hayes LeMieux, who went 6 of 7 for 48 yards and touchdown in the Cowboys 43-14 romp of Velva, will take snaps in the backfield.
“It’s going to be a day-by-day deal,” Lou Dobitz said. “We’re going to see if Christian can go, but we’ve got confidence in both. We know we can get the job done. If Christian is ready to go, he’ll play.”
Rohde said the team has confidence in whoever mans the quarterback duties against Stanley-Powers Lake.
“Both of them are great players,” he said. “Hayes is taking first-team reps right now, but we expect Christian back. Hayes always asks questions, so he’s very knowledgeable. Christian mentors Hayes really well.”
The Cowboys know they are the underdog heading up to Stanley-Powers Lake (9-0), but the coaching staff and team feels confident. Killdeer faced the Blue Jays in the opening round of the playoffs last year and lost 20-0.
“We do have a chance against them,” Lou Dobitz said. “We’re not going up there with wide-eyed thinking, ‘Oh my gosh, what are we going to do?’ We played against them up there last year and we played pretty well.”