Dickinson Midgets to face Fargo South in quarterfinals
After a second rate season, the Midgets will now need to dig deep if they are to survive the first stage of the NDHSAA 11A football playoffs.
From joining Class 11A to almost toppling one of the best teams in Class 11AA, it has been a season of possibilities for the Dickinson Midgets football team. With their regular season put to rest at 4-5, the Midgets set their focus on the state quarterfinals matchup against Fargo South.
It was in 2015 when the Dickinson Midgets last reached the playoffs, and 14 years before that, since they made it past the quarterfinals. It was in that semifinals where they lost to Fargo South.
The Midgets placed in the middle of the five-team WDA division, giving them the fifth seed in the eight-team tournament. With only 12 teams in the Class 11A, there is plenty of room for upsets and Dickinson has proven to be a team capable of that. From defeating the top team in the east region Fargo North 35-21, to giving Bismarck Century (5-0, 8-1) a run for their money in a narrow 15-12 defeat, the Midgets have proven their worth across the state.
“Every game is another opportunity for us to get better,” Midgets head coach John Tuchscherer said. “I think there has been a span of games where we play with a lot of confidence and play really well … We want our guys to play with energy, but not where it gets us out of control and make mistakes and lose focus.”
Dickinson has dealt with a few injuries in the season, including star quarterback Troy Berg, having a two-week stint on the sidelines in the middle of the year. Berg had been damaging opponents with his mobility, running for 813 yards and nine touchdowns, and throwing for 640 yards and four touchdowns.
Running back Luke Mavity had also picked up an injury in their second to last match of the regular season, but was minor and is good to go for playoffs.
Mavity has 70 tackles to his name this season and will be aided by junior linebacker Sam Stillings, with 59 tackles and 3.5 sacks and senior linebacker Kaden Selle with 28 tackles and one interception.
“This is as healthy as we have been in the last three weeks,” John Tuchscherer said. “So it's exciting and it's a good time for us to be healthy and hopefully play good football.”
Fargo South will be coming into the playoffs with two game winning streak, including a blowout against Grand Forks Central 37-0. Two players that will certainly make their presence known on the field are junior linebacker Zach Thomasson and sophomore quarterback Kolby Nissen.
Thomasson is the No.1 defensive player in the EDC with 87 tackles, 57 solo and two sacks. Nissen had 757 yards passing and 251 rushing for a total of 1,008 yards on the season.
“When I look back at the regular season, in all nine of our games we were able to move the ball,” Tuchscherer said. “We just didn't always come away with points and a lot of those times was because we were shooting ourselves in the foot with penalties or turning the ball over.”
It will be a game of mentality for the Midgets as they look to capsize the Bruins on the road. Whoever wins will face an even greater foe in the semifinals, Bismarck St. Mary’s, the No.1 seed in the playoffs.
“It's win or go home now and we are definitely going to have to finish off drives if we want to have success on Friday night,” Tuchscherer said. “We are excited and we have had a good week of practice and we're gonna go down there, hopefully put in four good quarters and come out with a win and move on.”