The Dickinson State football team accumulated a 56-0 lead against Mayville State in the first half of the game on Saturday, Nov. 11 at the Biesiot Activities Center.
With such a lead, head coach Pete Stanton threw in second and third string players. All helped keep the momentum going for the Blue Hawks who went on to win 70-7.
Sophomore quarterback Kooper Ray came into the game late in the second quarter to replace starter Hayden Gibson and continued playing into the third quarter. Ray made an appearance in six games this season.
"It's a little intimidating. You don't want to lose that momentum," Ray said. "It's kind of sitting in the back of your head you need to keep up the momentum and keep up the energy with all of the starters. It's gotten easier along the season, that's for sure."
Ray threw his first collegiate touchdown pass nearly five minutes into the second half with a pass to junior wide receiver Nick Kottre. Ray ended the day one for two with 59 passing yards.
"He did a good job. We're very confident in him when he comes in," Stanton said. "He's got a good grasp on the offense. He does a good job running around and throwing the football. Sam (Footh) came in and did a good job running the offense. Once again, he's worked very hard at it and it's good to get him back in there too."
Later in the game, sophomore quarterback Sam Footh took over for Ray. Footh has appeared in three games this season and has yet to record passing yards, but he handed the ball off to freshman running back Derek Tabor who scored his first collegiate touchdown with 9:34 remaining in the game.
"They did a good job of just staying with the game plan and really playing hard and not dropping off any," Stanton said. "It's really nice for those guys to get in the action. They work hard and do all the things we ask them to do in practice, lifting and the off season. It's nice to get everybody on the roster in the game."
While some second string players don't see much playing time, especially quarterbacks, they put in the same amount of work as starters.
"In practice we have a rotation where one time two guys go in and next time two different guys will go in," sophomore defensive back Jason Thibault said. "In the game coach tries to really work us around so it's not always the same two guys. He'll work an older guy in with a younger guy. I guess it does help us but you have to be ready to go in whenever coach wants you to."
Thibault was ready when called upon Saturday.
The Montana native typically plays on different special teams each week, but got some reps as a defensive back against the Comets. He ended the day leading the Blue Hawks with five solo tackles.
"I think a lot of them came from special teams," Thibault said. "Just getting in every play, hustling to the ball, not giving up on plays. Some guy might break a tackle you never know so you want to get around the ball and make sure he's down for good."
The Blue Hawk second stringers allowed one touchdown against the Comets, added two touchdowns and only punted once. While the scoring may have tapered off, the energy didn't.
"Anytime could be yours so you just got to stay warm and stay ready, stay in the game and just have fun when you're out there," Ray said.