DSU looking to step up its offense

The Dickinson State football team knows it must improve offensively today if it stands any chance of beating Wisconsin-Whitewater. The Blue Hawks had 331 total yards against Rocky Mountain College last Saturday and they were hindered by several m...

Cody Holland and Zach Hepperle
Press Photo by Dustin Monke Dickinson State junior quarterback Cody Holland, left, and senior fullback Zach Hepperle, right, watch the field-goal team practice Friday afternoon at the Badlands Activities Center.

The Dickinson State football team knows it must improve offensively today if it stands any chance of beating Wisconsin-Whitewater.

The Blue Hawks had 331 total yards against Rocky Mountain College last Saturday and they were hindered by several miscues, including two interceptions by junior quarterback Cody Holland and two lost fumbles, one of which came on the first play from scrimmage by senior running back James Macey.

That play led to a Rocky Mountain touchdown and deflated the Blue Hawks early.

Holland said turnovers and errors such as missed assignments can not be afforded in today's game against Whitewater, the No. 2-ranked team in NCAA Division III.

"Last week we just kind of, we figured some things out about ourselves," Holland said. "We can't have as many 3-and-outs as we did. The defense had a lot of plays on the field."


The Warhawks bring back several defense starters from last year's team that lost in the Division III national championship game and that fact isn't lost on Holland, who said that DSU knows holding onto the football and keeping Whitewater's offense off the field could go a long way in improving the Blue Hawks' chances.

"We know Wisconsin-Whitewater is a good team," Holland said. "They've got a lot of talent, a lot of returners. Just trying to keep the ball and trying to control the game is real important in this one. They've got an explosive offense."

Scheduling a problem for Whitewater

When a team reaches four consecutive national championship games, it's no surprise that teams politely say "Thank, but no thanks," when that team's coach calls about scheduling nonconference games.

Finding teams to schedule outside of the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference is one of the only problems Whitewater coach Lance Leipold has faced as he enters his third year as the team's head coach.

Finding teams willing to let Whitewater come into their house -- something Leipold stresses his team must do to maintain its competitive edge in the postseason -- is surprisingly difficult.

This is what led the D-III powerhouse to schedule a game against DSU, another team that has had problems filling its nonconference schedule.

"It's still the dilemma of finding the openings," Leipold said. "We looked at all opportunities."


Some of those opportunities, Leipold said, included visiting an NCAA Division I FCS team, playing a D-II in New Mexico or going to Maryland to face another Division III team.

Enter the Blue Hawks, who were, at about 15 hours away, the closest game available.

"The options were minimal, Leipold said. "This was the closest and one we looked at as probably the right fit."

DSU head coach Hank Biesiot looks at the game as an opportunity for the Blue Hawks to play a game in which it's a heavy underdog as it looks to improve before the Dakota Athletic Conference season begins Sept. 19 at Jamestown College.

"We've had good teams here before and I think it's an opportunity for our kids," Biesiot said. "It's an opportunity for us."

DSU kickers enjoying the new turf field

Cole Zamira and Tury Escobedo may have made kicker the most competitive position on DSU's team this season.

During Friday afternoon's walk-through, the juniors booted long field goals with the wind in only the second time kicking off the new Sprinturf surface of Fisher Field at the Badlands Activities Center.


Escobedo sliced a 52-yard field goal that would have been good from much further, so Zamira backed it up five yards and aced a 57-yarder.

The kickers say they love the new surface -- Zamira is used to artificial turf because his high school field in Washington had it -- and believe it helps them.

"When you're on the grass, you wear it down so much and you start slipping," Zamira said. "People don't realize it. But when you get on the turf, this nice turf, you start keeping balance, you do your mechanics right and things go good."

"I think it's a little bit better kicking on a turf surface," Escobedo said. "Clean, smooth, you don't have to worry about any potholes."

While Zamira kicked last Saturday against Rocky Mountain, the two split time in the walk-through and don't have any inclination as to who will play today against Whitewater.

"Whatever coach wants," Zamira said.

Dakota Athletic Conference standings and schedule

Standings Overall DAC


South Dakota Mines 1-0 0-0

Jamestown College 0-0 0-0

Black Hills State 0-0 0-0

Dakota State 0-0 0-0

Dickinson State 0-1 0-0

Mayville State 0-1 0-0

Minot State 0-1 0-0

Valley City State 0-1 0-0


Games last Saturday

Rocky Mountain 28, Dickinson State 7

Minn. St. Moorhead 16, Valley City State 6

South Dakota Mines 25, Montana Tech 22 (OT)

Game Thursday

Minnesota-Crookston 47, Mayville State 21

Games today (all times MDT)

Wisconsin-Whitewater at Dickinson State, noon


Concordia-St Paul at Minot State, noon

Black Hills State at Southwest Minn. St., 5 p.m.

Jamestown College at Peru State (Neb.), noon

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