Points came at a premium Thursday night between Dickinson Trinity and Shiloh Christian as defense was the story of the game early on.
Shiloh Christian (3-1) held a 7-6 lead at halftime and would hold the lead until the final whistle as they defeated Trinity 14-6.
The Titans’ (2-1) only score of the night came on defense from a 73-yard interception return from defensive back Matthew Schagunn. The score came right at the start of the second quarter with both teams scoreless.
“On both sides of the ball he (Shagunn) played great,” Trinity head coach John Odermann said. “That pick-six was a phenomenal play but he was the guy we were able to lean on the entire game. He played well for us.”
The story of Trinity’s offense all night was their inability to consistently sustain drives, but they had three golden opportunities in the first quarter to strike first.
First they marched down the field on their opening drive, but stalled inside the 10 yard line. The Skyhawks would then go for it inside their own 30 yard line on the ensuing drive but the Titans’ defense would hold strong, forcing a turnover on downs.
Trinity looked to capitalize on the stop, but yet again failed to take advantage of the short field. They had one more opportunity deep in Shiloh Christian territory in the quarter to add points, but yet again came up empty.
“That first series we moved the ball right down the field and then we stalled,” Odermann said. “We have to make sure when we have an opportunity to make plays we convert them.
A scoring opportunity like that wouldn’t come again for the Titans as Shiloh Christian allowed very few drives to enter their side of the field.
On the flip side, Trinity’s defense held their own against the Skyhawks up-tempo offense, holding them to just 14 points. But both of the touchdowns they allowed came on big plays through the air - one from 34 yards out by running back Michael Fagerland and another from 72 yards by wide receiver Xander Wonnenberg.
Shiloh Christian’s first touchdown strike came after Schagunn’s interception and were able to convert their extra point attempt, something Trinity failed to do, making it 7-6.
The other score came in the third quarter when quarterback Carter Seifert found Wonneberg downfield on the right side with no Trinity defenders in sight. It stood at 14-6 as the Titans’ offense struggled to find a rhythm.
Trinity tried to mount one last attempt at tying the game late in the fourth quarter, but it ended in an interception by quarterback Drew Kovash.
“Some nights it doesn’t work out the way you want it to,” Odermann said. “It was just one of those nights for you.”
The passing game couldn’t do much to stretch the field, but Odermann still liked what he saw from his quarterback and his ability to put the ball in a position for the receiver to make a play on it. Kovash had 204 yards on the night, but it took 46 attempts to get there.
“Even in the situations where he threw the ball into traffic he delivered some strikes,” Odermann said. “I look at what he’s doing as a quarterback and there’s probably only a few quarterbacks that are delivering the ball as well as he is in the state right now. We just have to be able to finish those passes and plays.”
It wasn’t due to a lack of aggression on offense but credit the Shiloh Christian defense for deflecting passes and covering the Trinity receivers well. The Skyhawks' offense was much more balanced than the Titans, gaining 217 yards in the air and 155 on the ground. Trinity had just 9 yards on the ground to complement their passing game.
The loss ruined the chance for the Titans to begin their season 3-0 for the first time since 2015, a season where they reached the Class AA quarterfinal.
It was just the third ever matchup between the two schools, with the Skyhawks now holding a 2-1 advantage.
Trinity will have the opportunity for a rebound performance next week on the road against Heart River, who are winless through two games.
SC 0 7 7 0 14
DT 0 6 0 0 6
DT - Matthew Schagunn 73 yard interception return (extra point no good), 6-0
SC - Michael Fagerland 34 yard catch from Carter Seifert (extra point good), 7-6
SC - Xander Wonnenberg 72 yard catch from Seifert (extra point good), 14-6