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Choosing to play football, baseball: Dickinson High athletes make it official, sign with Dickinson State

Press Photo by Royal McGregor Dickinson High senior wide receiver Dylan Skabo, runs after a catch against Grand Forks Central during a nonconference game on Sept. 6 at the Biesiot Activities Center.

Baseball or football?

Football or baseball?

Choosing between the two sports is what Dickinson High senior Dylan Skabo thought about every week.

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In the end, Skabo received the best of both worlds by signing with Dickinson State to play baseball and football.

“Throughout the decision, it was back and forth on whether I wanted to play two sports or not,” Skabo said. “I had a lot of fun this (football) season and I had a lot of success. The season was probably turning point for college football for me.”

Skabo became the fourth Dickinson High recruit to sign with the DSU football team. The 5-foot-10, 155-pound wide receiver for football and middle infielder for baseball is excited about being able to play both sports at DSU.

Skabo said it would have been hard to let football go after being named a first-team all-state wide receiver in 2013. He was all-West Region for three straight years and was selected to play in this summer’s Badlands Bowl all-star game.

“The biggest factor was playing two sports,” Skabo said. “After having the football season we had this year, I just had a lot of fun and I wanted to try it in college. It would have tougher at (the University of) Jamestown. Football was the biggest factor.”

Though Skabo’s parents — Lee and Cill — are graduates of DSU, Dylan said they didn’t force a school upon him.

“They didn’t really push any college on me,” he said. “They were happy with whichever one I decided to go to. It was nice not having them force a college on me and whatever decision I made they would have been happy with.”

As for baseball, Skabo has played for the high school team since the end of the freshman season. During his sophomore season, Skabo was a second baseman. He moved to shortstop in his junior year.

Dickinson High’s head baseball coach Pete Dobitz said there is an immediate excitement when Skabo steps onto the field.

“From the first day he stepped on the field until now, you saw leadership right away, whether it was in word or action,” Dobitz said. “He had the ability and because he is a talent kid, kids followed him.”

Skabo can drive the ball out of the ballpark or in the gap for an extra-base hit, but his specialty is to drop a bunt down and leg out an infield single.

For the past two seasons, Skabo has been the leadoff hitter for the Midgets during spring ball and for the Roughriders — Dickinson’s American Legion baseball team — in the summer. During the 2013 Legion season, Skabo finished with a .373 average, nine doubles, three triples, 35 RBIs and 45 runs scored.

“He’s unbelievably fast and he swings from the left side,” Dobitz said. “He pretty much has the green light on the base paths and he can go whenever he wants to.

“When (other teams) know he’s going to bunt, he can still beat it out. That just goes to show how fast he is and his baseball instincts on where he needs to place the ball.”

The three other Dickinson High football players signed to play at DSU are Mitchell Mehrer, Aaron Sayler and William Schwindt.

DSU first-year head football coach Pete Stanton is excited about having players from Dickinson play at the next level in their hometown.

“We are very familiar with Dylan and we’ve watched him compete for a number of years in several sports,” Stanton said. “That’s one thing that stood out with Dylan is that he competes. He got that knack and those football instincts on the football field.”

In the baseball sense, DSU head baseball coach Jason Watson said Skabo will have the chance to play as a freshman, but will have to earn a spot on the team just like anyone else.

“Dylan is very athletic and he’s very fast,” Watson said. “That’s one of the things that was very appealing to me.

“He’s going to have the opportunity to earn a starting spot as a freshman. It’s my job to put the nine best guys out there and if he’s one of the top 12 or 13 players, he’s going to have a good shot of seeing some playing time as a true freshman.”