Battle of the running backs: Blue Hawks take on Hatch at Jamestown
After three games on their home turf, the Dickinson State football team will play on University of Jamestown grass. The location and terrain haven't even been blips on the Blue Hawk's radar though, as they prepare to face a rush-reliant team of J...
After three games on their home turf, the Dickinson State football team will play on University of Jamestown grass.
The location and terrain haven't even been blips on the Blue Hawk's radar though, as they prepare to face a rush-reliant team of Jimmies on Saturday, Oct. 21.
"I feel like football is football," junior running back Deonte Dixon said. "If we had to go play on concrete we got the guys to go out there and make plays. I don't feel like grass will be a big problem, especially not for me. I was raised playing on grass."
Dixon and starting sophomore running back Karsten Mack Jr. pair up to make Dickinson State the second strongest rushing team in the NSAA with 1282 yards on the season. Dakota State (S.D.) leads the league with 1289 rushing yards over seven games.
Jamestown runs a similar running game with freshman Jackson He backing up sophomore Jimmy Hatch.
"Having two big backs, kind of like we do, just running it down hill, that's what they do the most effectively," head coach Pete Stanton said. "With those two guys, both over 100 yards last week, that's where they've been the most effective."
In the Jimmies' 44-20 loss to Presentation on Saturday, Oct. 14, Hatch ran 118 yards while He ran 112.
"Much respect to those guys, but I do believe that Karsten (Mack) and I will come out and get the job done," Dixon said.
Stanton said he hopes his team can continue the offensive flurry they displayed last week in their 45-0 shutout of Waldorf University (Iowa).
"Being in the red zone, getting the change out. It's second and four, we have to convert. Third and three, we have to convert," Stanton said. "We've been working on a lot of those situations where we get down in the red zone and we have to keep it going. Really the only times we've been hurt is when we've had some mistakes."
The Blue Hawks will lack one element in their equation for victory against Jamestown, though.
After suffering a knee injury of undetermined severity last game, senior Dylan Skabo won't play his key role on the kick return or punt return team, a
Senior wide receiver Seth Ewoniuk, who typically stands next to Skabo on punt return, is still nursing a sore shoulder and likely won't be on the field during punt returns, leaving two open slots to fill.
Junior wide receiver Chase Andersen and freshman defensive back Javonte Oliphante are two players Stanton has been working with this week to fill those slots.
"It's one of those things you don't think about when you have really good guys doing it," Stanton said. "And then all of a sudden you don't have those guys and you have problems then it gets magnified. ... we're working with our guys at just really catching the punts this week."
The Jamestown offensive line has the most experience of the Jimmie lineup, composed of freshman Christian Martinez, junior Andrew Maniss, senior Dan Murphy and a 6-foot-4 senior, Tyler Hennings, at center.
"It's hard to simulate in practice," Stanton said. "Until you get into the game situation it's hard to tell, but they're good at what they do. They'll do what they do. Last year we were ahead at halftime and they came out in the third quarter and ran that power right at us. They're going to stick to that and they're efficient with that. We just got to be really good being gap responsible and just being physical."