Hawks want payback against No. 18 VCSU
The seeds of resent were sown the moment Valley City State began celebrating their victory over Dickinson State on Fisher Field.
Given two-tenths of a second to work with at the DSU 5-yard line following two questionable calls by officials, Vikings quarterback Tommy Zinke found Nick Schoenecker in the end zone for the game-winning touchdown.
In a flash, VCSU had stolen a 28-26 victory from the Blue Hawks and sparked what is now a five-game win streak.
But when the Vikings rushed the field at the Badlands Activities Center and celebrated the game-winning touchdown in the end zone on Sept. 10, it only served to fire up the Blue Hawks for their eventual rematch.
"Payback is going to be good," DSU junior quarterback Dave Velasquez said on Thursday.
The Blue Hawks get another shot at the now 18th-ranked Vikings at noon Saturday at Lokken Field in Valley City and VCSU head coach Dennis McCulloch knows the Blue Hawks are going to come in looking for a little revenge.
"That first game they played us, I know how they feel," McCulloch said. "They won the game -- but .2 seconds."
Naturally, Saturday's game holds more weight for both teams than their earlier meeting.
VCSU has a 5-1 record and needs to keep winning to have any hope to earning the lone postseason bid awarded to NAIA independents.
"It's an important game for us," McCulloch said. "We know the quality of football team that's coming here Saturday. There's no overlooking or thinking we're that much better. We know we're very evenly matched, very similar, and it's going to be a great game."
DSU, meanwhile, is 2-4 and one loss away finishing the season without a winning record for only the third time in Hank Biesiot's 36-year career as head coach.
Biesiot said while playing a team twice in a season isn't ideal, though DSU has fared well against teams it has played a second time in a season after losing the first game.
Last season, DSU lost to Black Hills State at home and handedly won the rematch during the Dakota Athletic Conference Jamboree at the Fargodome.
In 2008, they lost a nonconference game to Minot State at home and then won the conference game rematch in Minot. The same situation happened in 2007 against Dakota State.
"You lose a close game to somebody, I think the natural reaction for anybody is that you want to play again," Biesiot said. "This is our chance, in the same season. We don't have to wait a year for that. We'll see how that enters in."