The season never really ends for Dickinson State head football coach Pete Stanton.
In fact, Stanton received an early Christmas present.
Killdeer senior standout Lewis Dobitz signed his letter of intent to play football and run track and field in the fall for DSU on Tuesday.
“Lewis is a guy that we watched in most sports throughout his high school career,” Stanton said. “The No. 1 thing that stands out with him - besides being a great athlete - is he’s an outstanding young man. He comes from a great family and always presents himself very well.”
When the college recruitment process started for Dobitz, there was really only one place he wanted to go.
It was DSU.
“DSU has been my top choice from the beginning,” Dobitz said.
As fast Dobitz committed to DSU, he might see the football field just as quick as a true freshman running back. Dobitz was named a North Dakota Class 1A first-team all-state running back for the Cowboys.
In the 2015 season, DSU will take a big hit at running back due to the graduation of starting running backs Jesse Carney and Myren Moore. Carney and Moore rushed for a combined 2,001 yards and 19 touchdowns. Carney - who finished with 1,081 yards - was the first 1,000-yard rusher for DSU since 2005.
“We are going to give (Dobitz) the opportunity to come in and see where everything is at with the whole process,” Stanton said. “We will make the decision (if Dobitz will redshirt) throughout the summer and fall.”
Attending DSU gave Dobitz the ability to compete on the football field and in track and field, which are two sports he has excelled at since he was a sophomore in high school.
In 11 games as senior, Dobitz rushed for 946 yards and 16 touchdowns. He also caught 19 passes for 328 yards and two touchdowns. Defensively, the Killdeer senior finished with 80 tackles - 41 solo - 10 pass break-ups and one interception.
Dobitz helped the Killdeer football team to a 9-2 record and Class 1A state runner-up finish to Park River-Fordville-Lankin.
On the track, he assisted the Cowboys in a runner-up team finish during the 2014 North Dakota Class B state track and field meet. Dobitz won three state titles in the 400-meter dash, 400 relay and 800 relay.
“I really like track and football and knowing that I can do at Dickinson will be really fun,” Dobitz said.
Though Dobitz might not be the most vocal athlete, Stanton said it’s his quiet confidence that makes the Killdeer senior stand out.
“You don’t have to be a great a leader and a great athlete by doing a lot of talking,” Stanton said. “Lewis leads by example. He has a unique way of being a leader and a good person that way. It’s a great way. He handles himself very well and does all the right things.”
Dobitz might be from Killdeer, but he’s experienced the sights and sounds of the Biesiot Activities Center plenty of times.
Prior to the completion of Killdeer’s new football facility in late 2014, the Cowboys played five games at the BAC including back-to-back first round playoffs games against Velva in 2012-13. The Cowboys were 3-2 in those five games.
Dobitz also competed at the BAC during the track and field season due to poor track conditions.
“I’m going to be really familiar with the area, the field and track,” Dobitz said. “That’s nice.”
It also doesn’t hurt to have some familiar faces around.
Dobitz joins a football team with former Killdeer teammate Calum Blankenship and his cousin Dylan Skabo - Dickinson High graduate.
On the track, Dobitz will team back up with former Killdeer teammate Tucker Beck, who ran the opening leg on the 400 and 800 state championship relay teams.
“It’s going to be nice,” Dobitz said. “I know a lot of guys that go there.”
In his inaugural recruiting class in 2014, Stanton brought in six players from the Dickinson area and southwest North Dakota.
Stanton believes the surrounding area has been the team’s No. 1 recruiting priority.
“Players from this area will always been our No. 1 priority,” Stanton said. “Lewis is a perfect example of that. We think he’s one of the young outstanding athletes in our region that was recruited by different schools. There are still other athletes in the area that we are in the process of recruiting.”
Being close to home will also allow Dobitz’ parents - Lou and Jenny - the ability to watch their son on Saturdays.
Lou Dobitz is also the head coach for the Killdeer football team and an assistant coach for the track and field team.
“For all of us, it will be good for us to see him,” Lou Dobitz said. “For him, once in a while, if he wants to come up and see us, it will be good. Our youngest is a second-grader and he was really excited when he found out. If Lewis was really far away, he wouldn’t see him very often.”
McGregor is the sports editor of The Dickinson Press. Call him at 701-456-1214 and tweet him @SirRoyal.