When the question of if sports was going to be happening this season, majority of sports fans were mainly hping for football. The aggressive, competitive, week-to-week game had fans begging for a season. Luckily, sports fans got the answer they want to hear, football is back!

And, after a solid nine months of no Dickinson State football, the Blue Hawks are ready to once again show re-stake their claim as the best team in the North Star Athletic Association and hope to clinch its sixth consecutive NSAA title. Starting on Saturday.

Due to COVID-19 shutting down the non-conference play, the Blue Hawks will be going on the road for the first game of the regular season and playing against the Dakota State Trojans.

Last season, the Blue Hawks only played against the Trojans once in which Dickinson State came away with a 31-14 victory. However, this season the two teams are scheduled to do battle twice.

Pete Stanton, the head coach of the Blue Hawks, talked about how the team has been preparing for the game, while dealing with the emotions of being able to play college football this season.

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“We’ve talked about it, and I think right now with everything going on, we’re just ready to play football,” Stanton said. “We’ve talked a lot about this precaution and that precaution, and we’re going to continue to be very serious about it. But I think now the excitement of the new season being here, I don’t think we’ll have any issues.

“Our coaches are excited, our players are excited and they’re going to be ready to go and they’re not going to take it for granted,” Stanton added. “They know that they’re one of the few that are out there playing this weekend in college football and we’re excited to do it.”

The Blue Hawks will be making some key adjustments this season, including at the helm of the team with a new quarterback. With former quarterback Hayden Gibson and former running back Amad Andrews Jr. having recently graduated from college, the offense will be looking for Drew Boedecker to be the starting quarterback and forces such as running back Derek Tabor and wideout Tyger Frye to continue to lead the team.

Luckily, the team will have a strong contribution coming back on the defensive side of the ball.

“I think that’s going to be the key early on,” Stanton said. “We just got to do a good job of stopping the run and giving the offense lots of opportunities and I think that’s how we’re going to do well. Just feed off with our defensive front and our offensive line like it always is.”

Going into this season, the Blue Hawks were once again picked on the coaches poll to lead the NSAA and clinch the title. Stanton acknowledged the target, but also wants the players to focus on this season, than the last five.

“Every year we tell the guys, ‘this is this season,’ that’s been our emphasis since last March,” Stanton said. “We always say, ‘put away the 2019 team, the 2018 team,’ and so forth … that’s how we go about it. We tell this is the opportunity for you to make your mark with the 2020 team and that’s what we push.

“Our theme this year is that we just got to be really hungry, we just got to be that team that doesn’t sit back and is content but be the team that is going to be hungry game in and game out.”

The Blue Hawks will kick off the 2020 season on Saturday, Sept. 12 at 1 p.m. MST