Dickinson High faces a critical contest on Friday night in Minot, and they will have to do so without a key figure.
Head coach John Tuchscherer is in quarantine after coming in close contact with an individual who has the coronavirus, and he will not be able to be with the team until Oct. 3, he said.
The individual has no affiliation with the Dickinson High football program, meaning no one else in the program is impacted, but assistant coach Dave Michaelson will act as gameday head coach for the next two weeks.
“It is going to be tough for me. Fortunately, we have a great coaching staff. Practice has gone great, and I know Friday night is going to go just fine,” Tuchscherer said. “It is nice since I have been able to have a couple zoom meetings with the kids to go over a few things and check in.”
He is just thankful that his players get a chance to compete.
The game matches up two squads that are 0-2 with neither wanting to go to 0-3.
Both teams have lost close contests so far this season to Jamestown, and getting off to a quick start will be key for the Midgets.
Both Dickinson and Minot have yet to score in the first quarter this season through two games, but while Dickinson’s offense has picked up in the second and third quarters, the Magicians have continued to struggle.
They are averaging only 11.5 points per game with 186 yards per game which is over 100 yards less per contest than Dickinson.
On the other side of the ball, both teams have statistically the two worst defenses in Class AAA of the Western Dakota Association. Minot averages giving up 390 yards per game and Dickinson gives up over 410.
“Defensively, they like to bring a lot of pressure,” Tuchscherer said. “We have to be sharp on our assignments and we have to block. Like always with teams that bring pressure, if we can block up front, then that may be able to open some things up offensively.”
Tuchscherer likes the way the Midgets offense has moved the ball with senior Landon Aman at quarterback and junior Troy Berg at running back, but he says they need to finish drives especially in the red zone.
“I am trying not to sound like a broken record, but a lot of the same things for us are week in and week out. I have been happy with how we have executed offensively after the first two weeks, but what we need to continue to improve on is executing in the red zone,” he said. “We need to keep drives alive by picking up first downs, not turning the ball over and avoiding penalties.”
Tuchscherer said that Dickinson needs to avoid giving up big plays on defense, and while he won’t be there physically he will be in touch during the game.
The hope is that he can watch on a livestream and communicate with assistant coaches if he sees something that he wants to tell them.
“The only thing that is going to change is that I won’t be there, and I won’t be able to call our offense,” he said. “Every single week, our offensive assistants get together and we come up with a game plan together. Everybody is familiar with the game plan and that won’t change at all. I will watch the game and if I see something, I will hopefully be able to send a message to our assistants and give them feedback that way.”
While Tuchscherer is bummed about not being able to be there with his guys, he feels as if they are ready to break out.
He doesn’t want to put pressure on his team, but at the same time, he understands the magnitude of beating the Magicians.
“I don’t like to use the term must win. Obviously, every game when we take the field we want to win…,” he said. “It is an important game, and it is getting to that part of the season where we have to put together four quarters of football. I think if we can do that, then we can go up to Minot and get a win. Hopefully we can do that and carry some momentum throughout the rest of the year.”