Dickinson State’s homecoming contest versus Presentation College was a lot closer matchup than many anticipated coming into the game.

The Saints were 0-6 overall and 0-3 in North Star Athletic Association play, but they didn’t look like a winless team against the Blue Hawks.

Despite the sloppiness, Dickinson State was able to walk away victorious by a score of 42-21, behind the arm of quarterback Hayden Gibson who had a record breaking day.

He torched the Saints defense as he passed for 401 yards, breaking the school record he set in last year’s playoff loss to Kansas Wesleyan. He also tossed four touchdown passes and caught the first receiving touchdown of his career.

“Honestly it didn’t feel like I threw for 401 yards,” Gibson said. “I don’t feel like we are there yet as an offense and as a team. There is a lot of room for improvement.”

As a team, Dickinson State finished with 571 yards of total offense.

The Blue Hawks improved to 6-1 and 4-0 in the conference.

One of the main reasons that the game was a lot closer than many expected is because the Blue Hawks were plagued by three turnovers.

While the offense gave the ball away and let the Saints hang around for three quarters, the defense did its part by turning the Saints over four times.

At the end of the third quarter, the Blue Hawks led by only a touchdown.

However, in the first two minutes of the fourth quarter, Dickinson State put the contest out of reach for the Saints.

On the first play of the fourth quarter, Gibson hit receiver Tyger Frye for a 15-yard touchdown pass to extend the lead to 28-14.

A minute and a half later, Dickinson State struck again when Gibson found a wide open Jaret Lee for a 45-yard touchdown to bring the score to 35-14.

Lee finished with five catches for 154 yards and two touchdowns.

“We just have to play better. We have to get after it. We played with poor pad level today on both sides of the ball. We have to realize that teams aren’t going to hand us the game,” said Blue Hawks head coach Pete Stanton. “We had a little bit too much of that mindset. We just have to do a better job of coming out and taking care of business.”

Gibson completed 26 passes which was good for over 15 yards per completion.

Back in the first half, the theme was each team giving the other team the ball.

Only two minutes into the contest, Dickinson State muffed a punt, but linebacker Kevin Brown took the ball back on the very next play with an interception.

The Blue Hawks took advantage of the interception when Gibson found Lee from 45-yards out for their first touchdown of the day to make the score 7-0.

A few plays later, Presentation coughed the ball up again and Merlin Whitedirt jumped on it.

Later in the quarter, the Blue Hawks looked to be in perfect position to strike after a shanked punt by the Saints.

Tight end Kellen Ray fumbled away the momentum when Presentation jumped on the ball at the eight-yard line.

Early in the second quarter, defensive back Derick Vandebossche got in on the party when he recorded an interception. This time, the Blue Hawks were able to capitalize on the turnover.

Dickinson State pulled a trick play out of the playbook, and they ran it to perfection. Backup quarterback Drew Boedecker lined up at receiver and the Blue Hawks ran the “Philly special,” used by the Philadelphia Eagles in the Super Bowl, as Gibson was wide open in the end zone to make the score 14-0.

“The play worked out perfectly,” said Gibson. “The backside end crashed hard to the run. Drew was in and he put a good ball on me. It was in the sun for a little bit, but thankfully I came down with it. It was a good play.”

Hayden Gibson catches a touchdown pass in the Blue Hawks 42-21 victory over Presentation. (Jake Wright // The Dickinson Press)
Hayden Gibson catches a touchdown pass in the Blue Hawks 42-21 victory over Presentation. (Jake Wright // The Dickinson Press)

In the beginning of the second half, another miscue by the Blue Hawk offense gifted the Saints the ball.

Tight end Ty Norbdy dropped a pass that went straight into the hands of a Presentation defender.

Saints quarterback Hunter Giffrow found Maurice Withers Jr. a half minute later for a 49-yard touchdown to bring the score to 21-14 still in favor of Dickinson State.

The Blue Hawks had their chances to go ahead by two scores in the third quarter when Frye caught a pass and was marked down at the one-yard line.

Dickinson State couldn’t gain the yard needed to score though as Amad Andrews Jr. was stuffed on third down, and Lee lost yards on a sweep on fourth down.

The Blue Hawks will be back in action on Saturday, Oct. 26, at 2 p.m. at Valley City State.