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Midgets ready to play Valley City

Press Photo by Royal McGregor Dickinson High junior Michael McChesney, right, tackles a Grand Forks Central kick returner during a Class 3A game on Sept. 6 at the Biesiot Activities Center.

The Dickinson High football team opened the 2013 season with a dominating 48-0 win over Valley City.

Yet, Dickinson second-year head coach John Tuchscherer said last year’s game has no bearing for today’s game against the Hi-Liners.

The Midgets open the regular season against Class 2A opponent Valley City at 5 p.m. at the Biesiot Activities Center.

“I don’t really think we can take anything from the game last year,” Tuchscherer said. “We kind of got on a roll there toward the end of the first half and scored a couple times defensively. I don’t think the score was a good indication on how the game went. They are returning a lot of guys. I don’t think last year’s game is going to have any impact on this year’s game.”

Dickinson senior kicker and wide receiver Tony Kostelecky connected for six extra points against Valley City. Kostelecky knows after the team graduated a wealth of seniors — including a majority of its offensive and defensive line, wide receivers, running backs and linebackers — the Midgets have a very different look than a year ago.

“This year it has changed a lot, because we lost a lot of seniors,” Kostelecky said. “The main focus is to worry about ourselves and worry about this year. There were doubts in our mind about losing all those seniors, but I think we did a pretty good job. Our linemen really stepped up and showed us that they can at this level.

“It’s nice that people are stepping up and filling in their roles. We have our skill guys coming back and that helps a lot too.”

Senior defensive back Ben Twist said the younger players have been willing to learn. Twist finished with team-highs for defensive backs in tackles (25), pass break-ups (six) and interceptions (three). Twist and senior Carter Blackwell are returning defensive backs for the Midgets.

“I’m really anxious,” Twist said. “Usually for every first game, I get the butterflies but that only lasts until after the first step. I’m really wanting to get this W.

“We just tell the younger guys to get reps on the first-team defense, so they can see what they’ll be expecting during a game. If they have questions, they ask Carter and I.”

Tuchscherer said the mutual feeling around the team is they are ready for the season opener.

Not only is the team physically prepared for the opener, but mentally as well.

“There’s a lot of excitement, which is good,” Tuchscherer said. “There’s a lot of excitement from the players and the coaches. We get to put these guys into a game-time situation and we don’t have a ton of guys that have had that experience before. It’s a lot of excitement for them and for the coaches to see how they respond.”

The Midgets ended the 2013 season with a 5-4 and failed to reach the postseason.

Twist doesn’t want to miss the playoffs for a second year in a row.

“It definitely fueled us more to put more effort in the offseason to try to get (to the playoffs) and further,” he said.