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DHS, Blue Jays battle for playoffs

Press Photo by Royal McGregor Dickinson High senior wide receiver Dylan Skabo, middle, runs a punt back for a touchdown during a West Region game against Mandan on Sept. 27 at the Biesiot Activities Center.1 / 2
Press Photo by Royal McGregor Beach senior running back Tyler Steffen, back, carries the ball against Hettinger-Scranton during a 9-man, Region 4 game on Aug. 31 in Beach. The Buccaneers play Center-Stanton for the fourth and final playoff spot in Region 4.2 / 2

The Dickinson High football team is treating Saturday's game against Jamestown like a playoff game.

The reason -- the Midgets need a win over the Blue Jays to keep their hopes alive to grab the final playoff spot in the West Region.

Dickinson hosts Jamestown at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Biesiot Activities Center.

"Saturday is really a playoff game for our team," Dickinson head coach John Tuchscherer said. "If we have any chances of making it into the playoffs, we have to win Saturday."

The Midgets (4-3, 1-3 West Region) are preparing for a well-balanced Jamestown team. Tuchscherer said like any close game it is going to come down to which team makes less mistakes.

"When you have two good football teams meeting and something is on the line, it's going to come down to who limits their mistakes," Tuchscherer said.

Though seven games, the Blue Jays (4-3, 2-3 West Region) have averaged 20.7 points per game and allowed 15.7. Jamestown is led by senior running back Taylor Orr and junior quarterback Ross Monson.

"They are a lot like we are," Tuchscherer said. "They are one of teams in (Class 3A) that have to play guys both ways. They got a good running back. He runs hard, he's pretty shifty and doesn't need a lot of space to make things happen."

Dickinson is coming off a 27-6 win over Devils Lake and junior quarterback Andrew Heckaman took the field after sitting out two weeks suffering a concussion against Bismarck High. Heckaman was happy to be back.

"It wasn't the nicest weather to come back to, but it was nice playing," he said with a smile.

The players and coaches alike know the magnitude of this game. Heckaman said the team is prepared to take the field and stay alive in the playoffs.

"This is a big game for us, we have to win this if want to have a chance of getting in," Heckaman said. "Jamestown is good, so they are doing the same thing that we are doing -- trying to get into the playoffs.

"We just have to be physical coming into the game. They are going to play a hard game and we have to play hard right back. It's smash mouth football. Coach says it's going to be game and it's going to be."

Beach, Center-Stanton fight for final playoff spot

The fourth and final spot in the 9-man, Region 4 playoffs will be decided on Saturday in Beach.

The Buccaneers host Center-Stanton with each team's playoff lives at stake at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.

"It's win and you are in or it's lose and you go home," Beach head coach Mike Zier said. "It's a good matchup. It should be a good game."

Beach and Center-Stanton is identical in every way. The two teams have defeated the same four teams and lost to the same three teams. The Buccaneers had nearly two weeks between games as the last time they played was on Oct. 7 in Bowman.

"We've played better the last couple of games and we've gotten healthier, so that helps," he said. "We are healthy going into the game. We also haven't had those critical mistakes that we had in our three-game losing stretch."

The Wildcats have averaged 35.7 points per game and allowed 30.1. The Buccaneers are scoring 26 points per game, while giving up 25.1.

Center-Stanton has changed its tides of fortune very quickly. In the last three seasons, the Wildcats had a combined four wins.

"Center is hungry and they haven't been in this position," Zier said. "They coach has done a great job getting them prepared and they want the same thing we do."