Blue Hawks win conference battle against Vikings
Despite accumulating six points in the first half, Valley City State didn't score a touchdown. The Dickinson State defense stopped two Viking drives in the red zone. Both led to field goals rather than a touchdown and the Blue Hawks led 14-6 at the half.
Offense for both sides kicked up a notch in the second half, but the Blue Hawks would prevail with a 35-20 win Saturday at the Biesiot Activities Center.
"It was a good stop to hold them to two field goals in those situations," head coach Pete Stanton said. "It was really big at that point. ... We're still a work in progress defensively. At times we're playing really, really well, and then at times we just do some undisciplined things. We have to do better as a team. I have to do better as a coach to make sure we're playing really sound and solid all the time. We played hard and when our backs were to the wall, we really stepped up."
The Blue Hawks (5-1, 4-0 NSAA) earned a few more defensive accolades with four sacks against Vikings (2-4, 1-3 NSAA) quarterback Jalen Pfeifer, the first coming from senior defensive lineman Hunter Moore.
"I had a stunt called so when I come down, I'm supposed to read what the guard does," Moore said. "If he comes at me I go underneath him. If he steps down, I go right behind him. He came at me so I did what I do every day in practice, I hit underneath it and he didn't block me and I chased him down."
Senior wide receiver Dylan Skabo earned two touchdowns, the first and last of the showing. The first came halfway through the first quarter off a 27-yard pass from quarterback Hayden Gibson.
Skabo's second came late in the fourth quarter. He caught the ball just in front of Gibson and ran down the field and was able to make it to the end zone thanks to a key block by junior wide receiver Randy Ivey.
"Out of the corner of my eye I saw the safety coming over, so I knew I was going to get hit," Skabo said. "I just tried to make the catch and I kind of spun off the hit and Randy was over on the sideline waving me over like this and I was, like, 'yup, I'm coming to you.'"
Skabo led the team with four receptions for 74 yards.
"Dylan's the real deal," Stanton said. "He is just so smart and has such a great feel and knows what to do when he gets the football. He's been a big part of what we've done in the last couple weeks. He's made some big plays for us."
Ivey added two touchdowns of his own. The first came in the second quarter with the Blue Hawks in the red zone. The Vikings defense held off the Blue Hawks three times, so Stanton made the call to go for it on fourth down.
"When we got down on that we just decided, we got to get our points right there, going for it on fourth down," Stanton said. "The other thing, the ball was on the right hash and the wind, even with our back to the wind, it was a really tough kick so we just decided we're going to go for it here."
The wind, which was expected to disarm the passing game, only mildly affected the game. Gibson completed 20 of his 32 throws, accumulated 222 passing yards with two interceptions. Pfeifer completed 15 of his 36 tosses, good for 178 passing yards and also threw two interceptions.
DJ Edwards scored the only two touchdowns for the Vikings. The senior wide receiver caught passes of 7 and 8 yards to start the scoring in each of the final two frames.
The Vikings leaned towards the ground game, though, with sophomore running back Louie Quinones gathering 115 yards over 23 carries.
"There was a couple of big screen plays they got on us," Moore said. "At halftime we definitely talked more about, especially when they're going into the wind and they can't throw the ball very far down the field, so we would have to just spy the running back a little bit more. We always try to stop the running game and force them to throw."
Meanwhile, Dickinson State's running backs Deonte Dixon and Karsten Mack Jr. totalled 120 rushing yards between the two of them.
"Props to Valley's front seven," Skabo said. "They're a great team. They're very physical. They did a good job of shutting down our run game. We had to look to our passing game, which we were very well prepared for."
Dickinson State 35, Valley City State 20
DSU 7 7 14 7 — 35
VCSU 0 6 7 7 — 20
DSU — Dylan Skabo 27 pass from Hayden Gibson (Cody Johnson kick), 8:34
VCSU — Landon Arredondo 28 field goal, 12:43
DSU — Randy Ivey 2 pass from Gibson (Johnson kick), 7:06
VCSU — Arredondo 27 field goal, 0:55
VCSU — DJ Edwards 8 pass from Jalen Pfeifer (Arredondo kick), 10:33
DSU — Gibson 3 rush, (Johnson kick), 7:42
DSU — Ivey 33 pass Gibson (Johnson kick), 6:11
VCSU — Edwards 7 pass from Pfeifer (Arredondo kick), 12:31
DSU — Skabo 39 pass from Gibson (Johnson kick), 5:47
TEAM STATISTICS DSU VCSU
First downs 14 18
Rushes-yards 32-124 45-162
Passing yards 222 178
Comp.-Att.-Int. 20-32-2 15-36-2
Total yards 346 340
Fumbles-lost 1-1 0-0
Penalties-yards 5-49 7-40
Punts-Avg. 5-33 5-30
RUSHING: DSU, Deonte Dixon 14-63, Karsten Mack 15-57, Hayden Gibson 2-4. VCSU, Louis Quinones 23-115, Anthony Logan 9-24, Jalen Pfeifer 9-24, Jake Peterson 1-3.
PASSING: DSU, Hayden Gibson 20-30-2 222 yards. VCSU, Jalen Pfeifer 15-36-2 178 yards.
RECEIVING: DSU, Dylan Skabo 4-74, Randy Ivey 5-61, Seth Ewoniuk 3-37, Jordan Walker 1-21, Chase Andersen 2-7, Deonte Dixon 1-7, Tyger Frye 1-6, Karsten Mack 1-5, Nick Kottre 1-3, David Spinner 1-1.
TACKLES: DSU, Thomas Sease 4-6, Mitch Mehrer 4-0, Elijah Staton 3-12. VCSU, Gavin Kolden 5, Steven Lopez 4, Tony Ilaoa-Sa'o 4.
INTERCEPTIONS: DSU, Una Masaiani 1-16, Derick VandeBossche 1. VCSU, Travon Smith 1-51, Andrew Hanretty 1.