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DHS looking at Braves as a must win

Press Photo by Royal McGregor Dickinson High senior running back Michael Cherwinski, left, runs past a Grand Forks Central defender on Sept. 6 at the Biesiot Activities Center. The Midgets are looking at Mandan at 5 p.m. today as a must win.

After dropping back-to-back West Region games to the Nos. 1 and 2 teams in the state, the Dickinson High football team is in need for a conference win.

For the Midgets, the game against Mandan is a must win to keep their playoff hopes alive.

Dickinson hosts the Braves at 5 p.m. today at the Biesiot Activities Center.

"We knew coming into the season the start to our WDA season was going to be a tough one," Dickinson head coach John Tuchscherer said. "If we want to make the playoffs, Friday is a must win for us."

Dickinson senior running back Michael Cherwinski added: "It's definitely a must win. We need to come out here and prepare like we have been every week to come out and play."

On the last two Fridays, the Midgets traveled to Bismarck back-to-back to play No. 2-ranked Bismarck Century and No. 1-ranked Bismarck High. The result of those road trips were back-to-back losses. The Midgets (2-2) gave up an average of 33.5 points, while scoring 7.5.

However, Dickinson isn't looking at the previous two games as just defeats, but also learning experiences.

"Every week we've been coming out here practicing as hard as we can," Dickinson senior running back Michael Cherwinski said. "We are getting better. We cleaned some stuff up, but we still got some stuff to clean up for sure.

"It was tough (playing the top two teams in the state). We came into practicing knowing it was going to be a tough two weeks. We went out there played our best and now we know what we have to clean up to get better."

Charles Splichal, who was penciled in as the quarterback to start the season, suffered a concussion before the first game. The junior quarterback was finally able to step back onto the playing field against Bismarck on Friday.

"It's was very nice to be back," Splichal said. "I could have done a lot better, but I'm just getting back into things. I paid attention during practice, so you really never get out of it that much as long as you are here. I'm always excited for Friday."

The Midgets' quarterback throughout the first three weeks was junior Andrew Heckaman. He started the game last Friday, but suffered a concussion against the Demons. In four starts -- including the start against Bismarck -- he had five passing touchdowns and two rushing TDs.

Though Splichal is the starter this week, Tuchscherer was hoping both of his starting quarterbacks could be healthy at the same time.

"It's nice to have Charles back," Tuchscherer said. "I thought Andrew did a great job and it would be nice to have them both healthy at the same time. It's nice when you have two quarterbacks that you can rely on and that are dependable guys. So, if one goes down, there's not a big drop off with the second guy."

All eyes focused on Mandan not on its 0-4 overall record. Mandan has lost by an average of 36.75 points.

However, the Midgets can't discount any team right now. Tuchscherer feels the team has made strides in the right direction after back-to-back losses.

"We have a pretty experienced group of guys and two losses isn't going to ruin our whole season," he said. "They showed up on Monday and worked hard. I expect they are going to do that through the end of the week and do whatever they need to do to get a win on Friday."