The Valley City State Vikings shocked the Dickinson State Blue Hawks on Saturday afternoon by a score of 23-22.
The loss dropped Dickinson State to 6-2 overall and 4-1 in North Star Athletic Association play. The Vikings now have the identical record overall and in conference play, but they hold the tiebreaker over the Blue Hawks.
Dickinson State seemed to be in a safe position to stay undefeated in conference play with a 22-10 lead entering the fourth quarter.
They were stopped and forced to punt early in the quarter, and that is when the Vikings comeback started.
Garrett Lund blocked the punt, and to make matters even worse for Dickinson State, Andrew Hanretty recovered it for a touchdown to make the score 22-17 with 13:31 left in the game.
Shortly after with just over eight minutes left in the game, Valley City scored the final points. Louis Quinones scored on a 40-yard touchdown run to take a 23-22 lead. The extra point was no good, but in the end, it didn’t matter.
“We just didn’t finish it out,” said Blue Hawks head coach Pete Stanton. “We get a punt blocked and that was a turning point.”
To make the loss even more crushing, Dickinson State started out strong taking a 15-0 lead in the first quarter. Paxton Miller took a 37-yard pick six to the house, and it looked like all of the momentum was on the Blue Hawks side.
Valley City made the score 15-10 in the early portion of the third quarter, but the Blue Hawks answered with a one-yard rush by senior running back Amad Andrews Jr. to score their final points of the night before the comeback by the Vikings.
Senior quarterback Hayden Gibson did his part as he threw for 265 yards, and he completed two-thirds of his passes.
The problem for the Blue Hawks was that they didn’t run the ball well. They ran for only 24 total yards. Andrews Jr. ran for 31 yards on 16 carries which is less than two yards per carry.
“Their defensive front got after us... You aren’t going to win many games rushing for 24 yards,” said Stanton. “We didn’t push them off the ball. We had a few third and shorts, and we didn’t get them. That hurt us more than anything else.”
For Valley City, Quinones ran for 158 yards and two touchdowns on only 14 carries.
Quarterback Jalen Pfeifer threw for over 300 yards for the Vikings.
Dickinson State travels to Waldorf (IA) next week in a critical conference game. The Blue Hawks beat the Warriors earlier this year by a score of 28-21 in overtime.