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Titans ready for No. 1-ranked Lions

Press Photo by Royal McGregor Dickinson Trinity sophomore linebacker Zach Kubas (67) wraps up a Griggs-Barnes County runner on Aug. 13 at the Biesiot Activities Center.

The Dickinson Trinity football team is 0-3 and has lost by an average of 22 points.

Yet to an outside observer, the Titans aren't showing any signs of defeat.

Trinity will have its toughest task of the season traveling to West Region opponent and Class 2A top-ranked Minot Ryan at 4 p.m. today.

"The kids aren't looking at it any different than any other week," Trinity head coach John Odermann said. "We've made a couple different changes on defense that we think are necessary to make and counter what they are going to do on offense. Our kids have given us the same amount of effort this first month and a half of football. We don't have kids giving up.

"Being 0-3, it's definitely a concern of ours as a coaching staff are these going to be hanging their heads for the rest of year. Do we have to worry about kids quitting and things like that? It has definitely been nice to see the way these kids have responded."

Though the Titans are playing the top team in the state, senior offensive and defensive lineman Brady Sykora said the team isn't at their opponent's ranking or record -- just the game tape.

"We know it's going to be a tough game, because they are a good team," said Sykora, who will be making his first start at defensive end today. "We just have to try our hardest and not let them being No. 1 get into our heads too much."

In the first three games, Trinity is averaging 22 points. The Titans are scoring touchdowns through the air and on the ground. Trinity's starting quarterback Willy Jahner has seven touchdown throws, four interceptions and one rushing TD.

Trinity junior Mark Veverka, who plays fullback, said it's nice to have the luxury of passing and rushing.

"We don't have a problem with our offense in the game," he said. "If we do the little things right, it should be a pretty close game."

However, the Titans' biggest downfall in the first three games has been mistakes and miscues. Odermann knows those mistakes and miscues are going to happen with an inexperienced team, but he's seen the players continue to learn.

"Watching game film in the last three weeks, we've really killed ourselves," Odermann said. "It's death by 1,000 cuts. It's been one thing after another. It's about limiting our mental mistakes and finishing on defense."

Sykora added: "We just have to try to limit our mistakes as much as possible. It's pretty much impossible to be perfect, but we just know we have to keep them to a minimum."

Trinity's last opponent -- Griggs-Barnes County -- gave the team a little preview for what's in store at Minot Ryan. GBC had a pair of quick running backs, which Minot Ryan also possesses, but the backs for the Lions are bigger and stronger.

"We've got to control the ball as much as possible," Odermann said. "Our game plan is to try to keep their offense off the field, because they can score in bunches. If we can burn some clock and keep it close, we feel like we have a chance. If we get down, it's going to be tough to comeback against a team like Minot Ryan."