DSU ends season with a 38-13 loss to Grand View
"I do want to credit our guys for staying and competing and coming out in the second half in a tough situation and really playing hard."
Despite obtaining their seventh consecutive NSAA conference title, Dickinson State was unable to pull off an upset against the No. 3 ranked Grand View Vikings, in the first round of the NAIA playoffs.
The Blue Hawks fell into the hole early, trailing 31-0 by halftime and were unable to climb out to give the Vikings a comfortable 38-13 victory.
The first half was detrimental to Dickinson State after the Vikings scored in their four-play opening drive from a 17-yard pass to senior wide receiver Anthony Turner from senior quarterback Johnny Sullivan, making it 7-0.
Sullivan made another passing touchdown in the first quarter caught by junior wide receiver Gerald Sama to make it 17-0 with just over a minute left in the quarter.
“We talked about it all week that the one thing we couldn't do is give up explosive pass plays with their play actions and that's exactly what we did,” DSU head coach Pete Stanton said. “We got ourselves in a hole early against a really good team.”
DSU had a potential passing touchdown of their own with senior quarterback Drew Boedecker attempting a deep connection with wide open sophomore receiver Kaden Kuntz, but the pass would be overshot.
Grand View scored again when Dickinson State fumbled a punt attempt which was recovered in the end zone by the Vikings, resulting in a 31-0 score to end the first half.
“We had a couple of opportunities with some wide open guys,” Stanton said. “We made the mistake of dropping the punt in the end zone and they scored on us so that was the dagger there right before halftime.”
Prior to halftime, Dickinson State took a heavy blow when Boedecker suffered a concussion, exiting what would become his final game as a Blue Hawk.
Boedecker finished by connecting on seven of 14 pass attempts for 64 yards and one interception.
The Blue Hawks refused to throw in the towel, going into the second half with their backup quarterback junior Aaron White.
White finished with 206 passing yards, connecting on 23 of 34 attempts and two touchdowns. However, the junior also totaled three interceptions, two occurring in the closing minutes of the fourth quarter.
White’s first touchdown came in the third with a 38-yard connection with junior running back Alec Lovegren, narrowing the gap to 24.
Following the touchdown, Dickinson State’s defense built momentum with a dropped interception before recovering a fumble on the next play.
The following drive was capped with their second and final passing touchdown caught by senior wide receiver Tyger Frye in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter. After a failed two-point conversion, the Blue Hawks trailed 31-13.
Frye ended the game as Dickinson State’s leading receiver, totaling 91 yards and one touchdown on 11 receptions.
In efforts to drain the clock late in the fourth and kill the Blue Hawks’ chances of a late comeback, the Vikings found success in their rushing game. Sophomore running back Ali Scott sealed the victory on a 13-yard touchdown run, resulting in the 38-13 score.
This is the third straight year Dickinson State has lost in the opening round of the national tournament.
Despite the loss, Stanton was pleased with the Blue Hawks’ second half performance.
“I do want to credit our guys for staying and competing and coming out in the second half in a tough situation and really playing hard,” Stanton said.
With the loss, the Blue Hawks’ bid farewell to their 11 seniors.
“Couldn't be a better bunch of guys,” Stanton said. “These are guys that have been in the playoffs every year, they have been here and are great leaders. They’re great people and they are guys that are going to go on and do great things with their lives.”
Frye is among the seniors, having been given an extra year by the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics.
“It's been good to get that extra year and come back and do it again and be that senior leader,” Frye said. “I am just excited for them to jump that hurdle at some point and get a couple of playoff wins.”
Frye believes that the Blue Hawks will soar high in the coming years of NAIA football.
“I think the team is in good hands,” Frye said. “That is just the culture we have at Dickinson State.”
GVU - 17 14 0 7 38
DSU - 0 0 7 6 13
GVU - Anthony Turner 17 yard pass from Johnny Sullivan (extra point good), 7-0
GVU - Nathan Hamilton 28 yard field goal, 10-0
GVU - Gerald Sama 53 yard pass from Sullivan (extra point good), 17-0
GVU - Sama 12 yard pass from Sullivan (extra point good), 24-0
GVU - Brody McGhghy 13 yard run (extra point good), 31-0
DSU - Alec Lovegren 38 yard pass from Aaron White (extra point good) 31-7
DSU - Tyger Frye 17 yard pass from White (two-point conversion failed), 31-13
GVU - Ali Scott 13 yard run (extra point good) 38-13