The last time Dickinson State University and the University of Jamestown battled on the football field for the foreseeable future was last weekend. Dickinson State won 34-0 to hold Jamestown scoreless for the second year in a row. After many schools in the Dakotas shuffled conferences in the past decade, the Jimmies ditched their short-lived affiliation with the North Star Athletic Association in October 2016 for the Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC), which officially started this fall when they began play as a member.
In an interview in 2016 to the GPAC, University of Jamestown President Robert S. Badal, Ph.D., said "In recent years, like many colleges and universities around the country, the University of Jamestown has faced change in athletic conference relationships. The demise of the DAC, a brief period as an independent, and a startup for a new North Star Conference have taken place quickly. We have now taken another step forward with a new conference alignment with the Great Plains Athletic Conference, and we are making that change for all of the right reasons for the future. We are thankful for our history and, at the same time, pleased to begin a new journey as a member of the GPAC."
Since the two schools are no longer in the same conference, the logistical hurdle of keeping the game on the schedule as a non conference game was too much to overcome.
“In 2021, we will have 10 conference games when Mount Mary adds football,” Jamestown Athletic Director Sean Johnson said. “Valley City State will always be a non conference game that we will play, so we had to do something with the schedule.”
The series was played for 70 consecutive years up until this year, and during that time frame legendary NAIA Hall of Fame coaches Hank Biesiot and Rollie Greeno roamed the sideline for Dickinson State and Jamestown, respectively.
“I just think of the days of Coach Biesiot and Coach Greeno coaching against each other and the classic battles the two schools had there,” Dickinson State head football coach Pete Stanton said. “I was fortunate to experience it as a player too. That is the hard part about it when you have two teams from the same state, and they are not going to play anymore.”
Biesiot couldn’t get over the hump of defeating Greeno early in his career as the head man at Dickinson State. From his first year as head coach in 1976 to 1980, Jamestown won each year, but a few of those games were extraordinarily close. Jamestown won by six points in 1976, before winning by four in 1978 and two in 1980.
The 1981 season was one of Dickinson State’s best teams ever, and the Blue Hawks finally came out on top against Jamestown. They thumped the Jimmies in a 24-0 shutout for the first win over their rival since 1974.
The era with Biesiot and Greeno leading the two programs brought many memorable matchups. Both teams were physical and played a smashmouth brand of football. 1988 was a big victory for Dickinson State in their first conference game of the season. The Blue Hawks trailed by a touchdown, but came back to win 31-21 en route to an undefeated year in the North Dakota College Athletic Conference.
Greeno retired following the 1991 season, and the Jimmies fortunes against the Blue Hawks have turned since then. Jamestown has only won five games since his departure and since 2000, the Jimmies have only beat Dickinson State twice. Those wins came in back to back years in 2006 and 2007, but Jamestown hasn’t came out on top in the rivalry game since then.
Though there are no tentative football games scheduled in the future, the Jimmies and Blue Hawks will still play in every other sport. When asked if the series will ever be brought back on the gridiron, Johnson said, “Never say never.”