For three consecutive years the Dickinson State football team has appeared in the NAIA playoffs and each year they've been eliminated in the first round.
This time, Southern Oregon University served the Blue Hawks a 55-24 loss in Ashland, Ore. on Saturday, Nov. 18.
"They're a good team. They have a lot of weapons," Dickinson State head coach Pete Stanton said. "Their quarterback was as advertised. He made a lot of plays throwing the ball. He was right on the money throwing the ball and he hurt us running the ball as well. They're a very good offensive team and that was the key."
Raiders quarterback Tanner Trosin threw 384 yards and four touchdowns. The senior completed 30 of his 42 throws with no interceptions. He also led the team on the ground with 85 rushing yards.
Trosin and his receivers got to work right away, notching their first two touchdowns in the first six minutes of the game.
Senior receiver Dominic Giampaoli caught an 8-yard pass 1:21 into the contest and sophomore Jordan Suell caught a 38-yard pass about four minutes later, giving the Raiders an early 14-0 lead.
The Blue Hawks demise in past playoff games has been a slow first quarter. Despite the early deficit, Stanton said his team still started strong.
"They just hit some things. We were there on coverage but they went up and got it," Stanton said. "Our coverage on both of their first touchdowns, we were in range. Those jump balls were ones we needed to go win and we didn't. Their receivers went up and made the play."
The Blue Hawks got on the board with 4:03 left in the opening frame thanks to a 21-yard field goal from sophomore kicker Cody Johnson, but found themselves in a deeper hole in the second quarter.
The Raiders (11-0) added a field goal and two touchdowns, including one off an interception return at the hands of defensive lineman Josiah Maglente-Tonu.
Dickinson State (9-2, 8-0 NSAA) sophomore quarterback Hayden Gibson found freshman receiver Tyger Frye with an 8-yard pass for the first Blue Hawk touchdown of the game.
Gibson threw 18-32 and 201 yards.
Southern Oregon followed with another touchdown with 53 seconds left in second quarter, bringing the score to 38-10 at the half.
To open the second half, Dickinson State scored two touchdowns. Junior receiver Randy Ivey ran one yard to score, followed by junior Jay Liggins catching a 5-yard pass from Gibson.
"Our guys just knew we were going to stay with it," Stanton said. "They made some big plays and we were down and then we just did a good job of running the ball in the third quarter and cutting it to a two score game."
With the score 38-24 and the Blue Hawks holding Oregon to a 3rd and 21 with just three minutes left in the third quarter, things were looking up for the Blue Hawks. A scramble from Trosin earned a Raiders first down, and the drive ended in a touchdown, extending the SOU lead to 45-24.
The Blue Hawks didn't score again, but the Raiders added one more touchdown and a field goal in the final quarter.
"Obviously it hurt losing (sophomore running back) Karsten (Mack Jr.) early. He had six carries and sprained his ankle," Stanton said. "Deonte (Dixon) came in and did a good job and had over 100 yards rushing for us. Bottom line, you got to credit them. They're a good team with good speed on both sides of the ball."
Junior running back Dixon's 105 rushing yards contributed heavily to the Blue Hawks 384 offensive yards. While the DSU offense had no trouble earning yards, the Raiders defense stymied most of the Blue Hawks attempts at scoring, proving why they went undefeated this season.
"I just really gotta hand it to our guys for battling and staying in there and really working hard against a very good team on both sides of the ball," Stanton said.
Southern Oregon 55, Dickinson State 24
DSU 3 7 14 0 - 24
SOU 14 24 7 10 - 55
SOU - Dominic Giampaoli 14 pass from Tanner Trosin (Marcus Montano kick), 13:39
SOU - Jordan Suell 38 pass from Trosin (Montano kick), 9:11
DSU - Cody Johnson 21 field goal, 4:03
SOU - Montano 20 field goal, 12:21
SOU - Rey Vega 37 pass from Trosin (Montano kick), 10:51
SOU - Josiah Maglente-Tonu 21 interception return (Montano kick), 5:27
DSU - Tyger Frye 8 pass from Hayden Gibson (Johnson kick), 3:04
SOU - Vega 9 rush (Montana kick), 0:53
DSU - Randy Ivey 1 rush (Johnson kick), 13:25
DSU - Jay Liggins 5 pass from Gibson (Johnson kick), 7:23
SOU - Vega 2 pass from Trosin (Montano kick), 2:12
SOU - Michael Roots 3 rush (Montano kick), 13:34
SOU - Montano 42 field goal, 6:12
TEAM STATISTICS DSU SOU
First downs 17 29
Rushes-yards 29-175 35-246
Passing yards 209 384
Comp.-Att.-Int. 19-33-3 30-43-0
Total yards 384 630
Fumbles-lost 2-2 1-1
Penalties-yards 3-27 8-87
Punts-Avg. 2-41 2-36.5
RUSHING: DSU, Deonte Dixon 14-105, Karsten Mack 6-47, Kooper Ray 2-25, Nick Miller 3-15, Randy Ivey 1-1 1 TD. SOU, Tanner Trosin 8-85, Louis Macklin 5-49, Michael Roots 10-44 1 TD, Rey Vega 7-40 1 TD.
PASSING: DSU, Hayden Gibson 18-32-2 201 yards 2 TD, Ray 1-1 8 yards. SOU, Trosin 30-42-0 4 TD.
RECEIVING: DSU, Randy Ivey 6-69, Chase Andersen 4-80, Nick Kottre 3-24, Dylan Skabo 3-16, Tyger Frye 2-15 1 TD, Jay Liggins 1-5 1 TD. SOU, Dominic Giampaoli 6-72 1 TD, Jordan Suell 5-86 1 TD, Vega 6-69 2 TD.
TACKLES: DSU, Thomas Sease 6-4, Cain Boschee 8-1, Matt VandeBossche 3-3, Javonte Oliphant 6-0. SOU, Dareion Bell 8-1, Oshay Dunmore 5-1, Devvon Gage 2-3.