Dickinson State center Meyer Bohn finally has the team success he has worked for
One of the last things Meyer Bohn wanted to do was change positions yet again from offensive guard over to center. He would have to snap the ball, block the biggest defensive players and he had finally gotten out of the spot last season. But the ...
One of the last things Meyer Bohn wanted to do was change positions yet again from offensive guard over to center.
He would have to snap the ball, block the biggest defensive players and he had finally gotten out of the spot last season.
But the senior knew better. His coaches knew better.
If he and the rest of the team wanted to be better, he would have to relearn the job.
“I thought, ‘OK, this is something the team needs me to do. I’m still playing o-line, and I’m still going to have fun,’” Bohn said. “I’m so glad it worked as well as it did. I’ve given myself the opportunity at center to be an a lot better player and to help the team out more.”
The Bismarck native and Bismarck Century High School graduate is one of the few mainstays of the Dickinson State football program the past five years, and the Blue Hawks needed him throughout that time.
DSU won seven out of 32 games in Bohn’s first three years. It might have been the toughest on Bohn, who switched from middle linebacker his redshirt freshman year, then to strong-side and middle linebacker his freshman year, where he started a few games.
Then former DSU head coach Hank Biesiot approached Bohn his sophomore year during defensive warmups one day.
“He said, ‘Hey, do you think you can snap a ball?’” Bohn said. “I’m just one of those guys who will do whatever the team needs me to do. So I was like, ‘Sure, coach.’”
He made the move, then a couple weeks later won the starting job.
Bohn, who is fellow senior offensive lineman Lane Millay’s best friend, has not only been a work horse for the Blue Hawks, but a trustworthy man.
“He’s one of the hardest-working guys out there on the field. Whatever he does, he excels in,” Millay said. “It’s been a privilege to play with him and be his friend. I’m very happy with the guy he’s turned out to be and what he’s going to do in the future.”
He’s so dependable, DSU head coach Pete Stanton said, he hasn’t hardly missed a workout or team session for half a decade.
“Meyer is as good of example of what we expect than anybody around,” Stanton said. “He epitomizes what we would like the guys in our program to be.”
Bohn said he wants to provide a work ethic the team can look up to, whether it’s at 6 a.m. in the weight room, at 10 a.m. in the classroom or at 3 p.m. at practice.
“That’s really something I’ve wanted to do this senior year,” Bohn said. “Sometimes, in the case of being a senior, you know you don’t have anything left after (the season), so there’s tendencies to save yourself for the game. But I’ve really tried to be a positive influence for these guys to see me constantly working hard.”
A model student-athlete
Surely, Bohn gives credibility to the term student-athlete. He will graduate this school year with a degree in environmental science with minors in earth science and chemistry. He will then begin working toward a master’s degree in soil science at North Dakota State next fall to work on soil erosion control.
He’s been on the DSU president’s list for the last three years and has a 3.8 grade-point average - one of the highest on the team - to show for it.
“He’ll be successful in life and is a tremendous leader,” Stanton said. “He’s one of those guys who’s a leader in the classroom, a leader on the field and the leader of our team.”
Bohn’s style and intelligence has grown since his days at Century, or as Bohn calls it, “the good school.”
Down the road to DSU
He started his high school career at center, while also playing linebacker and tight end as an upperclassman.
There were a handful of former Blue Hawks on Century’s coaching staff, including head coach Ron Wingenbach and assistant coach Rod Breitbach.
So when Bohn went to Wingenbach about playing college football, he recommended DSU. Bohn liked the style of football and the winning tradition, but he also enjoyed Dickinson’s small-town feel, as he wanted to know everyone in a tight-knit community. An added bonus would be that he would follow his father’s footsteps if he went to DSU.
He was also suggested to DSU’s coaching staff.
“They really recommended him, not only as a player, but with his work ethic and integrity,” Stanton said. “Those things have all shined through in college.”
Ultimately, Bohn wanted to stay local, even if he hasn’t had as much time for hunting as he would like.
Those in the Midwest, Bohn said, have a high value of toughness, whether they come from a farm or not.
“I think it was important for me to stay in the state,” Bohn said. “You can see a lot of value in people across different cultures, and the big thing in the Midwest is that work ethic and putting the nose to the grindstone. There’s a lot of kids who aren’t as talented, but they make up for it with the work they put in, the mental toughness and the willingness to keep moving forward. Even when times are tough, you definitely see that in this area.”
So Bohn picked DSU, and will cap off his senior year with a North Star Athletic Association championship.
However, Bohn admitted he is never truly happy with his total performance.
“Meyer is one of those guys who kept pushing,” Millay said. “With his leadership throughout the years, he was able to keep us all together. Now look at us. We’re conference champions, and that’s something I never saw us doing a couple years ago.
“It’s been an incredible journey and I couldn’t want it go any other way.”
The privilege of leadership
Bohn sees himself as a leader of the football team, and a majority of the Blue Hawks must agree since they’ve voted him team captain for two years.
He is a line of communication between coaches and linemen during games, makes adjustments at the line and keeps everyone on the same page in practice.
“You always have to remember that leadership isn’t a rank or a title, it’s more of a responsibility and a privilege,” Bohn said. “I looked at it that it’s a great honor, but it’s another job. The team is looking at me to support them and lead them in the right direction. I’m glad they’ve believed in me.”
That leadership position is one of the many things DSU coaches ask of him. Stanton said he trusts Bohn because he is a confident leader by example and does all the right things - which makes him more valuable.
At center - even though he was reluctant to go there - Stanton said Bohn grew into a niche.
But after all the position changes, the losing seasons, the swallowed pride and the time put it to become a leader, Bohn can add one more title to his resume - champion.
When DSU defeated Mayville State 40-2 Saturday at the Biesiot Activities Center for the NSAA crown, Bohn said he became emotional, not just because of the elation, but because of the price he paid to get there.
So maybe moving to center wasn’t so bad after all.
“Just being able to see such a change in the program, the morale of everyone and the attitude everywhere, it’s been incredible,” Bohn said. “It’s been a trip and a journey. It’s really cool to say I was part of rebuilding something and bringing back the winning tradition to this school.
“So that Saturday, there was a lot of emotions running through me. I was so happy, I was almost crying.”