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DSU kicks its way into record books vs Waldorf

Blue Hawk football practice 2.JPG
The Blue Hawks will take full advantage of the home field advantage against Dakota State on Homecoming Saturday. (Matthew Curry/The Dickinson Press)

The Dickinson State vs Waldorf rematch was one for the record books, literally. With senior quarterback Hayden Gibson breaking the record for most passing yardage for the second consecutive time this season with 524-yards, most pass attempts thrown, and completed, in a game going 40-of-67. Junior wide receiver Tyger Frye breaking the record for most catches in a game with 16, and most reception yards in a game with 194 yards. But most importantly, the game, and season, falling into the hands, more accurately the feet, of a first-year kicker in Jeremiah Paine to attempt a deep field goal to either continue the hopes of Blue Hawks playoffs, or, ending the season with a loss on a missed field goal that had heavy wind.

Fourth down, 42-yards to the end zone. No. 21 Dickinson State had the football with five seconds left on the clock, trailing No. 25 Waldorf 28-27. The wind being as intense as the moment. Paine came into the game looking to sink the deep field goal after missing his previous two kick attempts. The game, and the season, laid on the foot the freshman. Despite all the hype, all the momentum, all the offense and defense played throughout from both teams, the moment was his, and only his, to win, or lose.

In an outdoor football field, no one was able to breathe. In the stands, an area in which was as noisy as a sold-out concert throughout the 180-minute game, was muted. One would have thought time stood still. At least, until they saw the ball soar through the air...and squeak through the goal post, giving the Blue Hawks a 30-28 victory.

“Before (the kick) it was definitely nerve-wracking, that’s for sure, and then after (the kick) I didn’t really know what to think, the team just kinda mobbed me,” Paine said.

Throughout the game, the Blue Hawks never were able to grasp the lead until the 42-yard field-goal gave the team the once-and-for-all victory.

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“It was a back-and-forth battle, (I) just couldn’t be any prouder of the (players), hanging in there and (pulling) out a win. Sometimes, it just doesn’t look good, (but) the guys just did a great job of just finding a way to win the game,” head coach Pete Stanton said.

The Blue Hawks offense battled and pushed through the Warriors’ defense, which leads the NSAA, the team racked up 587 total yards, compared to the Warriors’ 415. Gibson, who previously broke the record for most passing yardage this season with 401, destroyed the record by 123-yards. He finished the game with four touchdowns and one interception. His longest pass being a 61-yard touchdown pass to first-year receiver Noah Sickler.

“I think our offense just (connected) today pretty well...I think our whole team played well today as a team,” Gibson said.

The Warriors scored the first two touchdowns of the game, both coming from a touchdown connection between seniors receiver Ryan Martinez and quarterback Hilton Joseph, the first a 19-yard connection and the second going for 22 yards. Joseph would end with 211 total passing yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions. Martinez had eight receptions for 114-yards and three touchdowns. Sophomore running back Jeff Jones helped lead the team down the field and ended the game with 21 rushing attempts for 144-yards and three receptions for 27-yards, but was unable to score a touchdown in the game.

The Blue Hawks were prepared to counter with Gibson connecting with Frye for a 5-yard touchdown near the end of the second quarter, but after a failed field goal attempt by Paine, the Blue Hawks trailed 14-6 at halftime. Senior running back Amad Jackson Jr. also helped lead the team down the field and ended with 70 yards on 13 attempts and had three receptions for 36 yards, but was also unable to score a touchdown.

The Blue Hawks offense were ready to use the confidence of scoring before the half in the second half, scoring midway through the third with the 61-yard connection from Gibson to Sickler, the Blue Hawks would succeed on the two-point conversion with a connection between Frye and Gibson tying the game at 14. Sickler would end the game with eight receptions for 180-yards and one touchdown.

Joseph and the Warriors were ready to answer with a deep pass of their own, scoring on a 50-yard touchdown connection with first-year receiver Zach Morel, giving the team a 28-21 lead. However, the Blue Hawks would respond once again with Gibson connecting with sophomore defensive back Javonte Oliphant for a 10-yard connection, the Blue Hawks attempted another two-point conversion, but it failed, giving them a 28-27 trailing score with 4:15 left to play.

And so brought up the score 28-27, the Dickinson State defense forced the Warriors to punt the ball after the touchdown, but the interception by Gibson looked to be a huge impact on the Blue Hawks season. However, the defense never wavered and forced yet another punt by the Warriors. This time, with only five second left to play, it was up to the young kicker to bring it home. Amongst the fans, the defense, the missed kicks, and the wind, the odds seemed to not be in his favor, until he shocked the conference with the biggest kick of his young career. Giving the Blue Hawks the 30-28 win.

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Paine credited his teammates for helping him get through the intense moment and successfully hitting the kick.

“(They said) ‘keep your head down and relax, just kick it like every other kick, just don’t let (the moment) get to your head and do what’s natural,’” Paine said.

With the victory Dickinson State improves to 7-2 overall, 5-1 NSAA and continues to keep their playoff dreams alive. As for Waldorf, they fall to 6-3 overall, 4-2 NSAA as does their chances of ever reaching the playoffs this season.

Stanton is proud of his team, but now looks to end the regular season at home against Mayville State on Nov. 9, a team in which the Blue Hawks defeated 79-14 earlier this season.

“We just got to enjoy this (win) for tonight, and just get back to work (tomorrow), we got to take care of our business...There’s still some different scenarios that can happen, we just have to take care of our business and I know our (players) will,” Stanton said.

Related Topics: BLUE HAWKSFOOTBALL
Matthew Curry is a sports reporter and photographer for the West Central Tribune.
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