Hawks snap losing skid

The smiles, hugs and handshakes illustrated the relief Dickinson State football players and coaches felt Saturday afternoon after ending their three-game losing skid and winning just their second game of the season.

The smiles, hugs and handshakes illustrated the relief Dickinson State football players and coaches felt Saturday afternoon after ending their three-game losing skid and winning just their second game of the season.

Paced by a pair of Caleb Midura first-half touchdown passes and a 47-yard interception return for a touchdown by Phil Leck in the third quarter, the Blue Hawks claimed a 31-7 Dakota Athletic Conference victory over Mayville State at Whitney Stadium.

"We just wanted to play with a lot of high intensity," Leck said. "Overall, we played pretty good as a whole team, offensively and defensively."

Leck's interception came at an opportune moment for the Blue Hawks (2-6, 2-3 DAC).

Leading 13-7 with less than 11 minutes remaining in the third quarter, DSU's offense was still reeling from two missed field-goal attempts.


Kicker Shawn O'Brien missed a 40-yard field goal as time expired at the end of the first half and had a 37-yard attempt blocked on the previous series.

However, Leck stepped in front of Dustin Hagans' pass intended for Keith Christopher and scampered down the left sideline to give his team a 20-7 lead and a shot of energy it desperately needed.

"I kind of got burned on the same play earlier in the game," Leck said. "I knew they were going to run the same route. I just jumped it and after I caught it, it was just open field."

The Blue Hawks added to their lead on the second play of the fourth quarter with a James Macey 4-yard touchdown run on an option pitch from Leck, who was inserted at quarterback to give DSU speed at the position in the red zone.

Macey, who finished with 88 yards rushing on 20 carries, set up the score by breaking three tackles on a 23-yard run on third-and-10 deep inside MSU territory.

"We needed one on a third-and-long, he had a very good individual effort to get a first down," Dickinson State coach Hank Biesiot said. "He runs with power. He's getting better, he's getting a feel for things and getting his confidence. The guys are getting some confidence in front of him. If they stay on him, he's got a chance of getting extra yards."

The third time was the charm for DSU on the two-point conversion after penalties stopped the previous two. Midura finally found freshman receiver Max Pearson in the end zone on the third attempt to give DSU a 28-6 lead.

O'Brien added to DSU's lead with a 35-yard field goal with 3:03 left in the fourth quarter.


The Blue Hawks built a 13-0 second-half lead thanks to strong passing by Midura.

The junior quarterback, who split time with Matt Gittings, capped a five-play, 67-yard drive on DSU's second offensive series with a 37-yard pass up the middle to senior fullback Punk Humphrey. O'Brien's extra point was blocked, giving the Blue Hawks a 6-0 lead.

While Gittings was under center the majority of the time in the second quarter, Midura made the most of an opportunity before halftime.

After Macey was denied a first down on three runs inside the Comets 30-yard line, Midura was inserted at quarterback on fourth-and-3 and found Pearson open for a 20-yard touchdown pass down the right sideline.

"We're not doing anything different," said Midura, who was 8 of 15 for 160 yards. "We just made some plays today and everybody did a real good job of staying focused and playing hard."

The Comets (1-7, 0-5 DAC) staved off the shutout after Humphrey fumbled on the first play of a late second-quarter drive. MSU junior linebacker Johnny Stilwell recovered the bobbled ball and returned it 15 yards to the DSU 25-yard line.

Six plays later, Hagans found sophomore tight end Andrew Jacobson for a 9-yard touchdown pass.

It was the first touchdown pass of the season for Hagans, a 6-foot-3, 215-pound junior who gave the Blue Hawks trouble with both his arm and his feet. Hagans scrambled for 39 yards and completed 17 of 41 passes for 173 yards.


"It's tough to contain a guy like that, but I think we contained him for the most part," Leck said. "He killed us a couple times, but we did alright."

Comets coach Jody Ford called his team's performance, "our worst game of the year."

"To be playing this bad at this time of the year is really frustrating and that's something we're going to go back to practice and clean up," Ford said.

Biesiot was impressed with the mentality his players displayed throughout the game.

"I thought our guys stayed relaxed," Biesiot said. "... They didn't get frustrated today and that was nice to see."

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