The Dickinson State Blue Hawks picked up right where they left off North Star Athletic Association play in 2019.
They downed the Dakota State Trojans, 26-14, on Saturday to open the season 1-0.
Dickinson State went up early 14-0 after a sophomore Riley Linder barreled into the end zone from five yards out, then fellow sophomore and Hettinger native Isaiah Kludt ran back a punt for a touchdown with 5:07 left in the first quarter after senior wide receiver Jaret Lee lost a fumble earlier in the contest.
“We got off to a great start. We did exactly what we wanted to do…” Dickinson State head coach Pete Stanton said. “We got the big punt return for a touchdown, but other than that it didn’t go very well in the first half. We turned the ball over on offense. We gave up big plays on defense and let them right back in it. We got everyone settled down at halftime and our guys did a good job of coming out and playing well in the second half.”
Junior quarterback Drew Boedecker, in his first start, went 14-19 for 196 yards and two second half touchdowns to junior tight end Kellen Ray and Lee.
Dakota State tied the game in the second quarter, but in the second half the Blue Hawks defense shut them out.
They only gave up 38 rushing yards and 234 total yards.
“Our defensive front did great. We played good run defense and limited what they could do…” Stanton said. “We were very active up front. Our defensive line and linebackers did a good job of tackling and getting to the football. What we could improve on is giving up big plays and getting off the field.”
One problem for Dickinson State’s offense was taking care of the ball.
Boedecker threw one interception, but they put the ball on the turf five times losing four fumbles.
“We have to get better,” Stanton said. "It is unacceptable to turn the ball over that many times. We really pride ourselves on taking care of the ball and we didn’t do that.”
Reece Hoherz, Paxton Miller and Justin Tauaefa all recorded interceptions in the win.
Linder was the leading rusher for either team with 79 yards, while Lee was the leading receiver for Dickinson State with 68 yards.
Freshman cornerback Deavon Crawford did not make the trip due to being in quarantine after a roommate tested positive for the coronavirus.
Senior offensive lineman was the only other player held out of action, but his absence was due to an injury.
Dickinson State hosts their first home game of the season next week when they take on Mayville State.