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2020 Blue Hawks become sixth team in DSU history to go undefeated

The 2020 Blue Hawks were the sixth team to go undefeated and earned its sixth straight NSAA title.

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Dickinson State athletes hoist up its sixth straight NSAA title after being the sixth team in DSU history to have an undefeated regular season. (Matthew Curry/The Dickinson Press)

Dickinson State made history yet again this season with its victory over Presentation College on Saturday.

After earning its sixth consecutive NSAA title on Oct. 31 against Valley City, the Blue Hawks (9-0) became the sixth team in school history to end the season undefeated with its 52-34 victory over the Saints (0-9) at the Henry Biesiot Activities Center.

“It was a big day and we’re just proud of our guys for everything that they’ve done this year,” head coach Pete Stanton said. “We always tell the guys ‘winning is hard, losing is easy,’ and it’s been a hard road but our guys just did a good job.”

For the 16 seniors that were honored before the game, Saturday will forever hold a special place in the athlete's hearts. Especially being able to cap off the regular season with back-to-back monumental wins that will forever put them in the Blue Hawks record books.

For senior wide receiver Tyger Frye, the game was truly special. Frye recorded 172 yards on 10 receptions and scored three touchdowns in the game. Putting on a monumental performance on what could have been his final game on Fisher Field.

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“It felt like a dream,” Frye said. “There’s no way I’d want to end (the regular season) better than this right here.”

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Senior receivers Tyger Frye (left) and Jaret Lee (right) had another strong game on Saturday, earning 254 yards combined on 15 receptions and one touchdown. (Matthew Curry/The Dickinson Press)

The victory came as an entire team effort -- literally. With the Blue Hawks holding a 52-13 score going into the final quarter of play, each player on the Dickinson State roster was able to get in at least one snap to finish the contest. Thus allowing everyone to feel a part of the victory and the historical accomplishment.

“It was just great to get everybody going,” Stanton said. “We were going to get every guy in our roster in. Those guys work hard, do good things in the offseason and we wanted to get those guys in and let them go … we knew where we were at and we were in good shape.”

Despite the Blue Hawks having a strong performance on Saturday, the Saints ended with higher offensive stats, recording 510 total yards, 105 rushing and 405 passing, compared to the Blue Hawks’ 471, 117 rushing and 354 passing. Both teams also recorded 25 first downs in the game. Presentation College nearly doubled Dickinson State’s possession time, having the ball for 60:30 minutes, compared to the Blue Hawks’ 33:18.

Majority of the Saints’ stats came in the fourth quarter with Dickinson State allowing three touchdowns. However, it was also in the when Dickinson State made countless depth changes so every athlete had a chance to play.

Saints’ senior receiver Marshal Chance led the team in receptions with six and recorded 108 yards. Junior receiver Kevin Wright recorded 135 yards on five receptions and one touchdown. On the ground, junior rusher Innocent Okoh led the team with 108 yards on nine attempts and recorded one touchdown.

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Saints’ quarterbacks, junior Michael McPeek and sophomore Hunter Giffrow had joint control of the football, both finding success on the field, particularly near the end of the game. McPeek finished with 284 yards and two touchdown passes, Giffrow with 121 yards and one touchdown.

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Sophomore Aaron White recorded his first touchdown of the 2020 season in the team's final regular season game against Presentation College. (Matthew Curry/The Dickinson Press)

As for the Blue Hawks’ quarterbacks, it was junior quarterback Drew Boedecker who started the game for Dickinson State, but sophomore Aaron White shared much of the load throughout the game. Boedecker finished with 211 yards on 56% passing and recorded three touchdowns. His most memorable touchdown came on a Philly special with sophomore receiver Conor McCarvel getting the ball in the back field and connecting with a wide open Boedecker in the end zone for a two-yard touchdown to give the Blue Hawks a 38-13 lead at halftime.

White recorded 141 yards on 67% passing and also threw his first official touchdown of the 2020 season in the second quarter.

“We knew we’d have some things in the passing game and both of our quarterbacks just did a really good job,” Stanton said. “Our receiving core was also great all day … We caught the ball well and executed well on offense all day long.”

Both sides of the football played a solid game against Presentation College. Junior defensive back Jared Steinbeisser led the team with five tackles of the day, along with junior linebacker Reece Hoherz. First-year lineman Aaron Faletoi started the day off strong for Dickinson State with a critical sack on McPeek.

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The Blue Hawks defense celebrate after a fumble recovery. (Matthew Curry/The Dickinson Press)

Following a field goal by Blue Hawks’ sophomore kicker Jeremiah Paine, senior linebacker Paxton Miller recovered a fumble and returned the ball to the Saints’ 1-yard line. Senior rusher Derek Tabor was then able to follow up the critical play with a 1-yard touchdown to give Dickinson State a 10-0 lead. Tabor finished the day with 39 yards on eight rushing attempts and one touchdown.

Following a 28-yard connection between White and senior receiver Jaret Lee to get the ball near the Saints’ end zone, sophomore Alec Lovegren was able to then punch in a 3-yard touchdown run to give Dickinson State a 17-0 lead. Despite giving up a touchdown in the Saints’ next possession, the team was still able to go into the second quarter with a solid 17-7 lead.

Lee ended the game with no touchdowns, but recorded 82 yards on five receptions. McCarvel caught the ball four times for 28 yards, and sophomore rusher Riley Linder had one reception for 25 yards.

Dickinson State senior linebacker Aaric Spring recorded an interception based on a tipped pass by senior linebacker Nick Miller to start the second quarter, Boedecker capitalized on the field position by finding Frye for a 16-yard touchdown. With nearly three minutes to play in the first half, White tallied his first official touchdown of the season with a 22-yard connection with sophomore wideout Noah Sickler to extend the lead, 31-7.

Following another touchdown by Presentation College and Boedecker’s Philly special touchdown, Dickinson State carried a 38-17 lead into the half. Boedecker immediately started the second half off with a 34-yard touchdown connection with Frye to extend the lead to 45-13. The two would connect for a 26-yard touchdown reception minutes later, extending the lead to 52-13 going into the fourth.

“I was definitely feeling good coming into (Saturday),” Frye said. “I knew it could be probably one of my last (home games) if not the last one … I was just in the right spots at the right time, but anybody could have done it on our offense, really.”

Following the back-to-back touchdown connections between Boedecker and Frye, Dickinson State would never score again.

The Blue Hawks would allow three touchdowns in the fourth quarter, but the damage was done.

By the time the scoreboard hit all zeros, Dickinson State still held a 52-34 lead.

Despite the weather being somewhat colder, the players were heated with happy emotions, and Stanton was still doused with a cold ice water shower before celebrating with his players at mid-field.

History made been yet again for the Blue Hawks.

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The 2020 Dickinson State football team posing with the NSAA title after being named the sixth team in school history to go undefeated. (Matthew Curry/The Dickinson Press)

To add to the Blue Hawks’ afternoon, the team was officially granted its sixth NSAA title in front of its home crowd which was filled with friends and family members. For every player, including the seniors, it was a moment that will always be remembered.

Frye talked about what the 2020 team meant to him as a senior athlete.

“Resilient is the word that really comes to my mind,” he said. “We’ve had so many things change. I remember going into our first game and people were questioning if we were even going to be able to play in one or two games. To be able to play in all nine, especially when a lot of teams in our conference had to skip games, it’s awesome.”

While the regular season came to a close on Saturday, it is far from over for the Blue Hawks. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the NAIA Playoffs will be taking place in the spring of 2021.

For Stanton and the entire Blue Hawks football team, the win allows for the team to rest, heal injuries and prepare to play its best football in the spring with the hopes of bringing home the NAIA National Championship.

“We’re just going to catch our breath now,” Stanton said. “Knowing that we made it through (the regular season) and knowing that we had a big win and an undefeated season. We're going to give the guys some time off, get on the field a couple of times maybe in the fall/winter, if we can get out there, and we’ll just try to come back in the spring and see what happens.”

The first ratings for the top 25 will be announced in February, the final ratings will be announced in April.

Related Topics: DICKINSON
Matthew Curry is a sports reporter and photographer for the West Central Tribune.
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