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Holen leaves his mark on the Cowboys

Junior football player killed in car accident

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Tayten Dressler and Skyler Holen after a Killdeer football game. (Photo courtesy of Tayten Dressler)

Coaches and teammates will always remember the laugh of Skyler Holen.

The jokester was set to be a junior football player at Killdeer High School this fall before his life was tragically taken away from him in an out-of-state car accident last weekend.

“We are going to miss Skyler; when there are a few minutes before practice and everyone is joking around,” Killdeer head football coach Andy Cook said. “He was always good for a laugh.”

While he didn’t play much for the Cowboys football team in their playoff run in 2019, he had a chance to garner playing time this fall as an upperclassman.

“My memory of Skyler is always going to be that he had a big smile on his face about everything. He loved being a part of the team,” Cook said. “Being one of the guys was what he was after… Even though he didn’t play a bunch last year, he was a big part of our team and the feel every day at practice. He had to do a lot of the dirty work on the scout team, and his presence will be sorely missed in the everyday things that go on with a football team.”

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Tayten Dressler, one of Holen’s best friends, said he received a call from his cousin, waking him up, telling him about the accident. Only a few seconds later, his mom called, telling him the same thing.

Dressler is going to miss his Holen's laugh -- and his love for football and food. He said the pair especially went after bacon cheeseburgers, Holen's favorite.

Dressler wants to honor his friend, and he knows football is one way, but he has another idea, as well. “I know he loved ranching and we worked on a couple farms together,” Dressler said. "That is one of the things that I would like to do to honor him if football doesn’t take me all the way.”

While Dressler said he and his family and friends, as well the whole community of Killdeer, are coming to grips with what happened, there will always be a hole in everyone’s heart.

Cook said Holen and his demeanor always reminded everyone football is supposed to be fun, and he wants to make sure everyone on the Cowboys team this fall has fun to honor Holen’s memory.

“There is a profound sadness is the only way that I can describe it. It is palpable in the building and just sad,” Cook said. “The kids don’t really know how to process it or take it. It is a new thing for most of them to have to deal with something like this.”

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