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Titans host rival Watford City

Press Photo by Royal McGregor Dickinson Trinity junior running back Coltyn Nelson, right, attempts to run past a group of Griggs-Barnes County defenders during a Class 2A, West Region game on Sept. 13 at the Biesiot Activities Center.

If a high school football game lasted 42 minutes, the Dickinson Trinity football team might be in better shape with its wins and loss record.

But, a high school football game is 48 minutes and the Titans are 0-7 on the season.

Trinity's plan for hosting Watford City at 7 p.m. today is putting together a complete game.

"You take six minutes out of each one of our games and we've got a lot better record probably," Trinity head coach John Odermann said. "The biggest killer of us all year has been ourselves. We've shot ourselves in the foot. The thing we've been focusing on is deciding we are going to be a good football team.

"We've got to play a complete game. That's what it ultimately comes down to. It's speaks to these kids' character that they haven't given up."

Watford City, a team which competed in Class 1A last season, is a longtime rival of the Titans. Odermann, who played for Trinity's back-to-back state Class 2A state title teams in 2000 and 2001, remembers playing Watford City during his high school career.

This is a game he and his coaching staff want real bad. Trinity's assistant coaches Jacob Odermann and Kyle Steffes were the quarterback and running back, respectively, on those state titles teams.

"They are a longtime rival of ours and the kids know that even though they haven't played Watford City," John Odermann said. "As a coaching staff, we want this game just as much as the kids do."

Not only is Trinity playing Watford City for the first time since 2008, but the Titans are playing their second game in five days. Beulah, who is ranked No. 5 in the Class 2A poll, defeated Trinity 49-14 on Friday.

The Titans don't have any qualms about the quick turnaround, because after today's game Trinity has nine days before hosting Stanley-Powers Lake next Friday.

"We came back during the weekend and practiced," Trinity junior offensive and defensive lineman Jacob Lantz said. "Not many teams would do that."

Trinity junior running back Coltyn Nelson is just glad to be back. Nelson sat out in Trinity's 14-6 loss to Turtle Mountain on Oct. 4. He was injured against No. 2-ranked Bismarck St. Mary's the week before.

"It was really hard to watch," Nelson said about missing the week against Turtle Mountain. "Knowing that you couldn't go in there and play was tough. It was definitely hard."

Nelson didn't leave any doubt he was happy to be back as he rushed for a career-high 197 yards including the team's first touchdown against Beulah.

"That was a big tribute to our linemen and wide receivers," Nelson said. "They made me look pretty good."

As far as the mental lapses during games, Trinity players know it is one area the team working on. Nelson said the team is there physically, but it has stay mentally sharp for all 48 minutes.

"We practice for four days and it is fantastic," Nelson said. "Then there's that six or seven minute stretch where we can't and that might be a mentality thing. We can't take a step back, because every play is a dogfight."

Lantz added: "You make mistakes so you can get better. There's always room for improvement. We've come a long way since the first week."

In Watford City's transition back to Class 2A, the Wolves haven't struggled. Watford City was ranked No. 5 in the Class 2A poll for multiple weeks. The Wolves are 4-2 on the season and their two losses are against Nos. 1 and 2 Minot Ryan and St. Mary's, respectively.

"Some people thought that Watford City might have trouble completing coming back up to Class 2A and they haven't missed a beat," Odermann said. "They've won a lot of games at this Class 2A level. Coach (Fred) Fridley is going to have his guys ready and we have to do our best to get our guys ready."