For the final time this season, heartbreak struck Dickinson football yet again. This time against Bismarck Legacy with a late lead exchange in the fourth quarter.
Dickinson (1-6) held the lead for over 40 minutes against the Sabers (4-3) in its final game of the season. Going into the final quarter with a 21-14 lead, the Midgets had their spirits high and were fired up about the potential upset. But clutch plays made by the Sabers, including strong moves by senior quarterback Clay Feland, allowed for the Sabers to take a late 26-21 lead that made the Midgets’ hopes drop quicker than the temperature on Fisher Field. Dickinson was unable to regain the lead, and ended the night with a tough loss.
“Obviously the goal was to walk off the field as the winning team tonight, unfortunately that didn’t happen” head coach John Tuchscherer said. “Give credit to Legacy, they made some big plays in the second half.”
Offensively the Midgets were heavily led by senior quarterback Landon Aman and junior running back Troy Berg. Berg ran the ball 23 times and finished with 125 rushing yards and recorded one touchdown. Aman limited his passing, but ran the ball 18 times for 74 yards, scored a rushing touchdown in the second quarter and despite not having large passing numbers, threw a 24-yard touchdown in the third to senior wide receiver Chase Henderson for the team's only score in the second half.
“We fought, we competed, we played four quarters for the most part, but we just came up short,” Aman said. “But we played all through the game but we just came up short.”
Defensively, the team limited Feland’s offense through most of the game. The defense was unable to record any turnovers in the second half, but had two key fumble recoveries in the first half. Both fumble recoveries resulted in a Midgets touchdown. The first by Junior running back Luke Mavity, the second by Aman.
Dickinson was on the verge of closing out the Sabers. But Feland and the rest of Bismarck Legacy were prepared to battle until the very end. Feland ended with over 200 passing yards and three touchdown passes. The senior quarterback also scrambled 19 times for 136 yards.
The game changer seemed to come from a high snap when the Midgets were attempting to punt the ball away in the fourth quarter, allowing for the Sabers to get the ball back in the red zone. Bismarck Legacy capitalized by scoring a touchdown but the PAT was blocked by Dickinson. Still, Bismarck only trailed 21-20.
After forcing another punt, the Braves converted on its next drive with Feland throwing his third and final touchdown of the game. Dickinson was unable to come back were forced to give up the hope of earning the upset win.
“I think it just came down to us defensively giving up those big plays,” Tuchscherer said. “It’s something that we preached all year. Defensively for (Bismarck Legacy), they got tougher in the second half with their pressure.”
Along with the emotional loss came time to bid farewell to the seniors that walked off Fisher Field as Midget football athletes for the final time.
“This is by far the toughest part of the job,” Tuchscherer said. “I’m just so thankful for everything that these 21 seniors have done for our program, I really wish we could have won this game for them tonight.
“But I’m so proud of all of our kids,” Tuchscherer added. “They did everything we wanted them to do. We came out, we battled, and I'm just proud of the effort and how I thought we played tonight.”