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Dickinson plays top 2 teams in Class 3A back-to-back

Press Photo by Royal McGregor Dickinson High senior running back Michael Cherwinski, middle, rushes for a touchdown against Grand Forks Central on Sept. 6 at the Biesiot Activities Center. The Midgets played and lost to No. 2-ranked Bismarck Century, 23-3, last week and have top-ranked Bismarck High at 6 p.m. today.

At the start of the season, Dickinson head football coach John Tuchscherer knew his team had a brutal road schedule.

The Midgets will play three of the top five teams in the Class 3A poll on the road, including back-to-back weeks against the Nos. 1 and 2-ranked teams.

Dickinson already played and lost, 23-3, to No. 2-ranked Bismarck Century last Friday. Now the Midgets return to Bismarck to play top-ranked Bismarck High at 6 p.m. today.

"We knew going into the season it was going to be a tough start, especially being on the road," Tuchscherer said. "To beat those quality teams on the road, you have to limit your mistakes and when we get chances, we have to take advantage and capitalize on them.

"Like I told them after the game (last Friday), 'You guys are a good football team. We played tough and competed.'"

Though Century handed Dickinson its first loss of the season, the Midgets knew the game wasn't going to be a walk in the park. The Patriots used a solid running effort from Hunter Babeck, who rushed for 197 yards and two touchdowns on nine carries.

On the flipside, the Midgets committed too many turnovers. Tuchscherer and the rest of the team said turnovers can't happen, especially not against the best teams in the state.

"We had a lot of opportunities to put the ball in the end zone," Tuchscherer said. "We turned them over three or four times. When you are playing a good football team like that and you get your chances, you've got to score touchdowns."

Despite the loss, Dickinson went back to work like any other Monday. Tuchscherer said he has been pleased with how the team has responded.

"We talked about it on Friday night that this was the first time that we've had to face any type of adversity," Tuchscherer said. "I kind left it up to the guys whether they want to come back, work harder and get better or are we just going to be OK with how we've done so far. The guys have responded and we've had a pretty good week of practice."

The Midgets' offense was able to move the ball well against the Patriots, totaling 196 total yards, though it was a far cry from the totals they put up in the first two weeks of the season.

"We were so close so many times," said Mitch Mehrer, an offensive and defensive lineman said. "We had three or four times that we were in the red zone. We just couldn't punch one through."

Nonetheless, senior receiver and safety Dylan Skabo said it was nice to see the offense move the ball against one of the top defense's in the state. Skabo caught four passes for 80 yards and had an interception on defense.

"We saw that we could move the ball against a good defense and we got in the red zone a bunch," Skabo said. "We just couldn't finish. We had too many turnovers."

The Demons have only allowed 21 points in the first three weeks of the season. Bismarck's offense has scored 31.3 points per game.

As for playing the top team in the state, Mehrer said has the ability to play with anybody in the state. The Midgets just have to put an entire game together.

"We love playing the big schools," he said. "It's going to be awesome if knock them off. Hopefully, we have the confidence to do that."

Skabo added with a smile: "I feel like it's everybody's hope to knock off the top team in the state."