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Blue Hawks plan to 'bring the boom' against Wisconsin La Crosse

After a four and a half hour drive to Billings, Mont. last weekend, the Dickinson State football team is bussing 10 hours in the other direction to take on NCAA Div. III University of Wisconsin - La Crosse on Saturday, Sept. 16.

After a four and a half hour drive to Billings, Mont. last weekend, the Dickinson State football team is bussing 10 hours in the other direction to take on NCAA Div. III University of Wisconsin - La Crosse on Saturday, Sept. 16.

"It shouldn't affect us if we keep it business-like. If we approach it as we should, we should be ready to play," senior receiver Randy Ivey said of the long trip. "I'll probably do some homework, look at some film, just relax."

While watching film, Ivey and the Blue Hawks are keying in on a few major aspects of the Eagles team, starting with the athletic ability of senior starting quarterback, Ben Schramski. The 6-foot-1, 195-pound Minnesota native is 29-for-47, averaging 202 passing yards a game, with one interception so far this season.

To make matters more difficult for the Dickinson State defense, Schramski also has speedy and knows how and when to use it, earning a team-high 65 rushing yards per game.

"We have to know where he's at at all times," Dickinson State head coach Pete Stanton said. "Sometimes when you watch him on film, it doesn't look like he has the advantage and he still pulls the ball and goes anyway. He's very confident in his abilities to get it done."

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The Eagles offense will no doubt keep the Blue Hawks on their toes, forcing linebackers such as senior Jalen Hendrickson to be aware at all times.

"He's a great athlete for sure. He's dangerous with his arm and his feet," Hendrickson said. "We've just been gameplanning for that. We're expecting that. Hopefully we can play both of his strengths good and stop him on the ground."

While it's never a team's friend, the red zone is the absolute enemy against the Eagles. On the eight occasions they've advanced past the opponent 20-yard line, they've scored, finding the end zone on six of them.

"I think our big focus right now is third down. We kind of struggled last week on third down," Hendrickson said. "If we can get off the field on third down, that'll limit their red zone opportunities. We've always had the mentality 'bend, don't break,' so when we get to the red zone we got to lock it in, focus up."

Following an exhausting, although successful, defensive performance against Rocky Mountain College last Saturday, the Dickinson defense is looking to do much of the same against Wisconsin - La Crosse.

The biggest challenge could be mismatches in personnel, specifically tight end Cole Spieker who leads the Eagles with 95 receiving yards a game.

"We just got to be aware of matchups and what they want to do," Stanton said. "They're very explosive down in there and they try to get their bigger receivers matched up against your smaller secondary guys."

As Stanton has said in the past, a huge aspect of defense, is offense. The longer the Blue Hawks hold the ball, the less time the Eagles do. In order to do that, Dickinson State has to string together longer and more balanced drives than they did against the Battlin' Bears.

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The Blue Hawks recorded 382 yards on offense, but 235 of those were in the air.

Junior quarterback Hayden Gibson found Ivey eight times as he led all receivers with 143 yards. Carrying that chemistry into this week is key, but as is handing the ball to junior running back Amad Andrews Jr, who amassed 65 rushing yards against Rocky Mountain.

"Just keep getting better and going at it and trying to get some matchups that we may like," Stanton said of the game plan. "I still think no matter what level you play at, what game you're playing or who you're playing, you have to be able to run the football and you have to do some things at the line of scrimmage."

In a matchup between teams that take a similar balanced approach to the game, it'll be the little things that decide who takes the win.

"This week we're trying to pay more attention to the little details, assignments, work on those," Ivey said. "We want carries. ... That and intensity. Just bring the boom."

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