Liggins, Blue Hawks take down Valley City
VALLEY CITY — If it wasn't for Jay Liggins, Valley City State University might have completed its comeback.
The Dickinson State junior defensive back had two interceptions, three tackles and numerous pass deflections in the Blue Hawks' 30-21 win over the Vikings (0-1, 0-1 NSAA) Saturday at Lokken Stadium.
His first interception came with five minutes remaining in the first half. On the nine-play drive that followed, Karsten Mack Jr. ran in a 1-yard touchdown, bringing the score to 27-6 and concluding a strong first half for the Blue Hawks (2-0, 1-0 NSAA).
"Jay made some big-time plays," Dickinson State head coach Pete Stanton said. "Early in the game they got behind him once and we were fortunate he bumped the ball out and we got a big turnover on the goal line and then he made two unbelievable plays, interceptions. He's a tremendous player."
Dickinson got on the board in the first quarter with a 10-yard pass from sophomore quarterback Hayden Gibson to senior wide receiver Seth Ewoniuk, a combination that would prove successful three times throughout the first half.
Despite a pass from Gibson to Mack being intercepted and run in for a touchdown by Vikings defensive back Jesus Munoz, the Blue Hawks kept their feet under them as the half progressed.
Ewoniuk made two more scoring catches of 21 and 49 yards, contributing to a 20-point second quarter. The team captain finished the game with four receptions for 85 yards.
"Offensively we did a good job moving the ball and taking what they gave us," Stanton said. "We had almost 400 yards of offense. Hayden did a good job finding Seth on some open routes and finished it off."
At the conclusion of the first half, DSU led the Vikings 27-6. That quickly changed.
The Vikings scored a touchdown once in the third quarter and once more in the fourth, narrowing a 21-point lead to nine by game's end.
Valley City State quarterback Jalen Pfeifer, who threw for 252 yards, found tight end Tayler Lentz for a 21-yard touchdown early in the third quarter. The Vikings settled for a field goal in the fourth quarter after Pfeifer was sacked by Michael Almodovar on third down.
They tallied one more touchdown with two minutes left to play — a 2-yard rush from running back Louis Quinones.
"It was a little bit of a roller coaster," Stanton said. "I thought we did some pretty good things in the first half. We had that opening drive and then did a good job on that. There's a couple things we didn't do a very good job of. We didn't do a good job of tackling. We didn't do a good job taking care of the football in the second half and we just didn't finish. We needed to play harder and finish harder."
Valley City linebacker Nicholas McBeain, as Stanton expected, was a force to be reckoned with. The senior, who led the North Star Athletic Association in tackles last year, had 19 on the afternoon.
Other than fixing a few faults, Stanton said he doesn't plan on making any drastic changes to combat McBeain or the Vikings when they meet again on Saturday, Oct. 7 at the Biesiot Activities Center.
"We're just going to keep playing," Stanton said. "We're just going to keep doing our thing. We'll play them again, and I don't think there's anything different we need to do other than play more consistently."
Dickinson State 30, Valley City State 21
VC 6 0 6 9 — 21
DSU 7 20 3 0 — 30
DSU — Seth Ewoniuk 10 pass from Hayden Gibson (Cody Johnson kick good), 8:44
VC — Jesus Munoz 16 interception return (PAT blocked), 4:44
DSU — Ewoniuk 21 pass from Gibson (Johnson kick good), 13:31
DSU — Ewoniuk 49 pass from Gibson (Johnson kick no good), 5:07
DSU — Karsten Mack 1 rush (Johnson kick good), 0:44
VC — Tayler Lentz 21 pass from Jalen Pfeifer (PAT no good), 10:24
DSU — Johnson Field Goal, 6:00
VC — Landon Arredondo Field Goal, 12:02
VC — Louis Quinones 2 rush (PAT no good), 2:07
TEAM STATISTICS VCSU DSU
First downs 18 19
Rushes-yards 30-137 51-172
Passing yards 252 217
Comp.-Att.-Int. 16-30-2 13-19-1
Total yards 389 389
Fumbles-lost 2-2 3-1
Penalties-yards 3-20 9-48
Punts-Avg. 3-37 5-29.6
RUSHING: DSU, Karsten Mack 27-98 1 TD, Deonte Dixon 20-79, Randy Ivey 1-2. VC, Louis Quinones 15-119 1 TD, Anthony Logan 9-34, Jalen Pfeifer 6-18.
PASSING: DSU, Hayden Gibson 19-13-1 217 yards. VC, Jalen Pfeifer 30-16-2 252 yards.
RECEIVING: DSU, Seth Ewoniuk 4-85 3 TD, Tyger Frye 3-29, Randy Ivey 1-37, Nick Kottre 1-20, Seth Moerkerke 1-15, Dylan Skabo 1-15, Karsten Mack 1-9, Deonte Dixon 1-7. VC, Zackary Schmidt 5-34, Tayler Lentz 3-48 1 TD, Eli Luna 3-23, DJ Edwards 2-78.
TACKLES: DSU, Thomas Sease 9, Matt VandeBossche 8, Elijah Staton 8, Cain Boschee 6, Josh Kaiwi 5, MIchael Almodovar 5. VC, Nicholas McBeain 19, Jesus Munoz 14, Riley Fredrickson 9, Tyler Masat 9, Hunter Olson 8.
INTERCEPTIONS: DSU, Jay LIggins 2-0. VC, Jesus Munoz 1-16.