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Blue Hawks win big, climb above .500

Pete Stanton could get used to his team's play as of late. Since dropping its opener, the Dickinson State football team has put forward a passing game with a knack for long completions, a running back with five touchdowns in two games and a defen...

Dickinson State cornerback Rob Sterling runs with the ball after intercepting a pass intended for Northwestern College wide receiver Landon Johnson (83) on Saturday at the Biesiot Activities Center. Sterling returned the pick for a touchdown in the Blue Hawks' 42-13 win. (Parker Cotton / The Dickinson Press)
Dickinson State cornerback Rob Sterling runs with the ball after intercepting a pass intended for Northwestern College wide receiver Landon Johnson (83) on Saturday at the Biesiot Activities Center. Sterling returned the pick for a touchdown in the Blue Hawks' 42-13 win. (Parker Cotton / The Dickinson Press)

Pete Stanton could get used to his team’s play as of late.

Since dropping its opener, the Dickinson State football team has put forward a passing game with a knack for long completions, a running back with five touchdowns in two games and a defense that has more turnovers than touchdowns allowed.

After last week’s win, the Blue Hawks continued their hot play Saturday afternoon at the Biesiot Activities Center, scoring 14 points in each of the first three quarters to put away their second win of the season, this one a 42-13 victory over first-time opponent Northwestern (Iowa) College.

And unlike the game against Valley City State last weekend, when the Blue Hawks fell behind early, this one was in their control from the start.

"All over the field we did a great job of keeping the streaks going. Offensively we made plays. It was all the way across the board. It was our receivers. It was our quarterback. It was our tailback," Stanton said. "It was a team effort."

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The early scoring was sparked by quarterback Kaler Ray, who threw for 168 yards in the first quarter alone and would finish the game with 332 yards and three total touchdowns. Ray put the Blue Hawks up 7-0 on a quarterback keeper from 13 yards out on the team's first drive.

A 1-yard Tray Boone touchdown run later in the opening quarter made it 14-0. After Northwestern's JC Koerselman ran in a score to make it 14-6 - the closest the Red Raiders would get all game - the two teams traded possessions until the Blue Hawks defense forced a fumble in the second quarter, turning the game over to the offense 38 yards from the goal line.

When DSU got in formation, wide receiver Jamion Lindsey found himself lined up one-on-one on the left side of the field. The cornerback standing opposite him realized the problem and began calling for help.

But Ray sensed the advantage and threw the ball up for grabs. Lindsey did the rest.

"I saw (Ray) peek over there, so I thought there was maybe a 70 percent chance he'd hit me," said Lindsey, whose touchdown catch Saturday was his third in as many games. "I knew it was going to be a tough catch. I knew it was going to be in traffic. But when I saw the ball in the air, I never took my eyes off it. It just happened to land in my hand. It was a wrap from there."

After that touchdown, the lead grew again with a score right before the end of the half, when, from 5 yards out, Boone took a handoff and split toward the sideline.

With two defenders still in his way, he let loose a spin move that ended with him in the end zone and two Red Raiders on the ground, having collided with each other trying to wrap up the elusive running back. "My main thing on that play was just trying to break that first tackle and get in," Boone said. "I was going to go straight into the end zone, but I was able to get a good block and just make a few guys miss."

Boone's 146 all-purpose yards led the team, and so did his three touchdowns.

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"You could see he started slow this season," Stanton said. "But you could tell he's really getting back into Tray Boone mode now."

If the Red Raiders had any hope of a three-score comeback when play resumed for the second half, it was zapped 2 minutes into the third quarter on their first possession. On a first-down play, quarterback Jonathan Kodama - who finished 15 of 29 with 144 yards after a 300-yard game last week - thought he had his slot man open for a short gain.

But what he didn't see was cornerback Rob Sterling, who jumped the route beautifully and took the interception - his second of the game - 50 yards for the score.

"I just undercut it. I read it the whole time," Sterling said. "As soon as he snapped the ball I just read the quarterback's eyes. I just undercut it quick, and took it to the crib."

Northwestern responded with a touchdown drive of its own on the following possession, but the Blue Hawks got those points back when Boone found himself open enough to dash 76 yards untouched for a touchdown on a short completion from Ray.

Even with most of the backup players in on defense, the Blue Hawks managed four turnovers on downs from then on out to keep the final score at 42-13.

The Blue Hawks have now averaged 40 points per game in their two victories since being held to just 13 points in their opener against Montana Western.

"The big thing is we just got off to a great start, and that was the key," Stanton said. "Right from the beginning there wasn't any hesitation, we were in attack mode on both sides of the ball early. That was big for us."

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Dickinson State 42, Northwestern (Iowa) College 13

DSU 14 14 14 0 - 42

NW 0 6 7 0 - 13

First Quarter

DSU - Kaler Ray 13 run (Cody Johnson kick)

DSU - Tray Boone 1 run (Johnson kick)

Second Quarter

NW - J.C. Koerselman 1 run (conversion failed)

DSU -Jamion Lindsey 38 pass from Ray (Johnson kick)

DSU - Boone 5 run (Johnson kick)

Third Quarter

DSU - Robert Sterling 50 interception return (Johnson kick)

NW - Koerselman 1 run (Julian Dittmann kick)

DSU - Boone 76 pass from Ray (Johnson kick)

Fourth Quarter

No scoring

TEAM STATISTICS DSU NW

First downs 16 24

Rushes-yards 29-93 40-154

Passing yards 338 179

Comp.-Att.-Int. 15-25-0 18-40-2

Total yards 431 333

Fumbles-lost 0-0 1-1

Penalties-yards 8-56 6-50

Punts-Avg. 6-33.5 4/34.5

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING: DSU, Boone 10-34 2 TDs, Karsten Mack Jr. 6-21, Kaler Ray 4-20 1 TD, Jake Hardy 3-16. NW, Jevon Jackson 12-70, Josh Wilson 10-34, Paul Hutson 5-10, J.C. Koerselman 6-13 2 TDs.

PASSING: DSU, Ray 14-22-0-332, 2 TDs, Hayden Gibson 1-3-0-6. NW, Jonathan Kodama 15-29-2-144.

RECEIVING: DSU, Boone 4-112 1 TD, Austin Brown 4-56, Dalton Reid 3-84, Jamion Lindsey 2-38 1 TD.

DEFENSIVE STATISTICS

TACKLES: DSU, Robert Sterling 10, Tommy Sease 10, Rob Nalewaja 7, Tino Mafi 7. NW, Kyle Van Ginkel 5, Tanner Machacek 5, Jacob Jenness 3.

SACKS: DSU, Sease 1, Noey Tauave 1, Trey Howard 1.

INT: DSU, Sterling 2.

Related Topics: COLLEGE FOOTBALLBLUE HAWKS
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