Homecoming redemption: Blue Hawks bounce back from road loss with dominant victory
Going into a heady 20-plus mph wind, the No. 21 Dickinson State football team elected to pass on fourth-and-19 from the Mayville State 23 yard line. After getting sacked by speedy defensive end Tyler Gay on the previous play, junior quarterback Hayden Gibson caught the snap and backed up three steps. He glanced up the middle, but fired quickly down to the right.
The ball flew over sophomore receiver Tyger Frye, looking like it would be out of bounds, but in the far corner of the north end zone, senior wideout Randy Ivey came up with the catch.
Gibson found Ivey again three minutes later for another touchdown, helping the Blue Hawks to a 40-14 win over the Comets on Saturday, Oct. 13, at the Biesiot Activities Center.
"Not only did Randy make a great adjustment coming inbounds, but then also to spin around and get the touchdown," head coach Pete Stanton said. "We decided there, we just couldn't kick. The kicking game was just, we couldn't kick into the wind with the wind as heavy as it was."
Regardless of the wind, most of the scoring was done in the air.
In the first, Gibson found Frye with a 9-yard pass, and later, threw his fourth touchdown throw to Jordan Walker with three minutes left in the third quarter.
However, much of the game was played on the ground. Of the Blue Hawks' 462 offensive yards, 322 came from the run-game.
Sophomore running back Nick Miller was the go-to guy in the first drive, with four carries and a leaping 14-yard catch at the sideline.
"Our offense, we all work together really well," Miller said. "I trust that O-line with my life and I know Hayden's going to give me a good ball everytime I go on a route. I couldn't ask for any more than that."
The Mandan native, who averages 24.3 yards per game, finished the day with 44 yards on the ground over 10 carries.
Stanton said he aimed to use Amad Andrews Jr. as little as possible to prevent the already 'banged up' back from getting injured. Even so, through about a quarter of play, the junior running back racked up a game-high 120 rushing yards over nine carries and scored a touchdown late in the first quarter with a 19-yard dash.
"Amad Andrews, he had a lot of big runs that kind of did it for us, took us out of some bad field position or long third downs," Miller said. "He had a couple long carries that totally flipped the field for us."
Meanwhile, the Dickinson State defense limited the Comets to 272 offensive yards, just 75 in the first half, despite being confronted with a formation they were not used to.
"They pretty much came out in a Wing-T, something we hadn't seen before, so we had to adjust to it," Stanton said. "I think we eventually did a good job adjusting to it."
With 10:16 left in the game, the Blue Hawks (5-2, 3-1 NSAA) punted away the football into the wind, resulting in poor field position as is. Making matters worse, an unsportsmanlike conduct call against junior safety Derick VandeBossche put Mayville State (1-6, 0-4 NSAA) on the Dickinson State 31 yard line. On the next play, quarterback Creighton Pfau handed off to Jacob Hanson, who ran past the goal line to put the Comets on the board.
It was the first score the Blue Hawks had given up at home all season.
Following a Kooper Ray quarterback keep, which extended the lead to 40-7, Mayville State added another, this time, with a 22-yard pass to Comets-leading receiver Trent Momon.
Momon finished with 56 yards over two catches. Pfau went 6-for-19 for 114 yards, while Gino Musick led the run-game with 70 yards over nine carries.
Pfau was sacked three times, once by senior lineman Mitch Mehrer and twice by senior linebacker Daniel Moreno. Moreno led all players with 13 tackles, including three for combined loss of 25 yards. He also added two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.
"I was able to get to him because I would send (lineman Jeremy) Poyer one way and I would send myself to the other," Moreno said. "It was just play calls. Coach (Jason) Thier called perfect calls."
Adding to the sweetness of the homecoming victory, was the fact that Waldorf University (Iowa), a team that downed the Blue Hawks last week, lost to Valley City State. That means Dickinson State can at least tie for the conference crown, setting them up for a playoff spot. The Blue Hawks, Warriors and Vikings each have a 3-1 NSAA record, so the top slot in the conference is still up for grabs.
"I'm relieved," Moreno said. "It's God in disguise. He's looking out for us. Hopefully we can take advantage of this and make the playoffs."
Dickinson State 40, Mayville State 14
MSU 0 0 0 14 — 14
DSU 14 13 6 7 — 40
DSU — Tyger Frye 9 pass form Hayden Gibson (Cody Johnson kick), 9:16
DSU — Amad Andrews Jr. 19 rush (Johnson kick), 2:34
DSU — Randy Ivey 23 pass from Gibson (PAT no good), 8:19
DSU — Ivey 2 pass from Gibson (Johnson kick), 6:15
DSU — Jordan Walker 7 pass from Gibson (PAT no good), 3:21
MSU — Jacob Hanson 31 rush (Andrew Solis kick), 10:09
DSU — Kooper Ray 17 rush (Johnson kick), 5:45
MSU — Trent Momon 22 pass from Creighton Pfau (Maxwell Scott kick), 2:30
TEAM STATISTICS DSU MSU
First downs 28 16
Rushes-yards 35-322 43-158
Passing yards 140 114
Comp.-Att.-Int. 14-21-0 6-20-0
Total yards 462 272
Fumbles-lost 1-1 4-4
Penalties-yards 4-50 4-25
Punts-Avg. 2-24 6-13
RUSHING: MSU, Gino Musick 9-71; Preston Hamlette 11-50; Jacob Hanson 8-47, TD. DSU, Amad Andrews Jr. 9-120, 1 TD; Derek Tabor 10-64; Roderick Ashford 9-52; Nick Miller 10-44; Kooper Ray 2-17; Gabe Meschke 1-16; Jameson Crisafulli 1-13.
PASSING: MSU, Creighton Pfau 6-19-0, 114 yards, TD. DSU, Hayden Gibson 13-19-0, 134 yards, 4 TDs; Ray 1-2-0, 6 yards.
RECEIVING: MSU, Trent Momon 2-56, TD; Darrell Wilson 2-30; Hanson 2-28. DSU, Randy Ivey 4-40, 2 TDs; Jordan Walker 3-29, 1 TD; Tyger Frye 2-17, TD; Miller 2-13; Meschke 1-21; Seth Moerkerke 1-14; Tabor 1-6.
TACKLES: MSU, Andrew Solis 3-6; Michael Kolness 1-5; Ricky Flowers Jr. 2-3. DSU, Daniel Moreno 10-3, 2 sacks, 3 TFL, FR, 2 FF; Quaid Larson 3-2, TFL; Derick VandeBossche 1-4; Blake Murray 4-0, 2 TFL, FR.