The home opener has arrived for Dickinson State in football, and they will square off with a Mayville State team on Saturday at 2 p.m. that is completely different from a year ago.
The Comets brought in an astonishing number of new players for this year's team with 88 newcomers.
They also have a new head coach in Rocky Larson who was the defensive coordinator at Wisconsin-River Falls last season.
Mayville State is 0-1 after playing a shootout last week, falling 50-40 to Waldorf, while the Blue Hawks are looking to go to 2-0 after beating Dakota State a week ago.
Last fall, Dickinson State downed the Comets twice winning 79-14 and 63-13, but Dickinson State head coach Pete Stanton believes this year Mayville State will pose a much bigger challenge.
“We look at every week as an opportunity. We don’t look back whether that is a team we beat or lost to. We talk about how each week is an opportunity for us to get better,” Stanton said. “All our kids have to do if they have any misconceptions about Mayville is to look at the tape and the speed they have. They are obviously a different team than last year. If you look at the Waldorf score against them last year, it was similar to ours, and then they played a 10 point game last week.”
The Comets are led by senior quarterback, Creighton Pfau, who has unique ties to Dickinson and Stanton.
Pfau’s father, Pete, played for Dickinson State in the 1980s and was the free safety in 1987, while Stanton was the strong safety.
He was also a standout at Trinity High in Dickinson before moving on to play for the Blue Hawks.
As for the younger Pfau, he started off his career by playing basketball for the Comets, but transitioned to football and had an excellent week last week versus the Warriors.
He threw for over 350 yards, and freshman Elijah Roundree from Georgia was his favorite target.
Roundtree set a school record with 213 yards on seven catches and two touchdowns.
Stanton said that including Roundtree, they are deep at wide receiver and tight end.
“We have to be aware of all of those guys and keep the ball in front of us,” Stanton said. “We have to limit the big play. We didn’t do a great job of that last week... But we have to go up and win some jump balls.”
As for Dickinson State, Drew Boedecker is making his second start at quarterback.
He went 14-19 last week passing, but he did throw one interception and failed to fall on the ball after a bad snap.
Turnovers are something that the Blue Hawks have been working on all week because in addition to Boedecker’s interception, they lost four fumbles last week.
“It is something we have to work on. We need to remind the guys on the importance of taking care of the ball,” Stanton said. “It would be different if it was the same guy, then he probably wouldn’t be playing this week.”
As for the Comets defense, they will do a lot of different things in what Stanton says is an unorthodox defense.
They will have defensive linemen all over the place, and at times, their linemen will stand up on the line of scrimmage, then drop back into coverage.
The key for the Blue Hawks offense will be to be patient.
Due to having a new coaching staff and so many new players, one week of film isn’t enough for Stanton and his staff to gather enough information to see the Comets tendencies.
They will have to adapt on the fly this week and base play calls off personnel on the field and base formations.
The hope for Dickinson State is that they can handle their business to move to 2-0.
“It is really hard to tell with them. You don’t get enough tendencies on film after just one game. They have a bunch of new guys and especially with them having only played Waldorf who plays a lot of press man coverage. Since they didn’t face a lot of the same coverages as us (last week), we will get different route combinations.”
The hope for Dickinson State is that they can handle the uncertainty of the Comets and move to 2-0.