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Hopfauf carrying heavy load for Midgets football

While sharing a backfield with a quarterback and a running back, it can sometimes be difficult for a fullback to stand out. But last Friday at Jamestown, in a steady rain, Treven Hopfauf was Dickinson High's ray of sunshine. The senior rushed for...

Dickinson High senior Treven Hopfauf carries the football during rushing drills at a practice earlier this season. (Parker Cotton / The Dickinson Press)
Dickinson High senior Treven Hopfauf carries the football during rushing drills at a practice earlier this season. (Parker Cotton / The Dickinson Press)

While sharing a backfield with a quarterback and a running back, it can sometimes be difficult for a fullback to stand out.

But last Friday at Jamestown, in a steady rain, Treven Hopfauf was Dickinson High's ray of sunshine.

The senior rushed for a career-high 158 yards and all three Midgets touchdowns in an 18-0 shutout that lifted Dickinson to 4-1 overall and a 2-1 West Region record.

"When we switched our offense from a spread back to the I (formation) when Treven was a sophomore, he started at fullback for us," head coach John Tuchscherer said. "So he's been our fullback now for three years, and he sets the tone for our running game, whether he has the ball in his hands or if he's a lead blocker."

He served more as a blocker last season, helping Tyrell Harris - who has moved away - rush for more than 1,400 yards, but this season, he's taken on more of that ball carrier role. He's made the most of his opportunity, rushing for 301 total yards and seven scores.

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"He does so much for our offense, and the spotlight has never really been on him," Tuchscherer said. "And not to say that the spotlight is on him now, but he's getting the opportunity to run the ball, and he's doing a great job with it."

The fullback can no longer be overlooked.

"Last year I was a blocker and I'd get the ball in short distance," Hopfauf said, "and this year I'm getting the ball on first-and-10, second-and-10. Having the trust is good - trust in myself and having the coaches trusting me. It's a good feeling."

His teammates were understandably excited for him.

"That was great for him," junior tailback Conner Hoenke said of Hopfauf's output at Jamestown. "Fullbacks don't always get that kind of credit. Jamestown really left the middle open, so it was just all day for him."

When reviewing the game tape, Tuchscherer saw that Hopfauf, as a linebacker, had made himself comfortable in the Blue Jays' backfield also.

"He was unblockable. He's playing at a very high level for us," Tuchscherer said. "He was a good linebacker last year. He is a great linebacker now, and the difference is he's reading his keys and he understands what the offense is doing. He's filling the holes and making plays."

Fellow linebacker Kaymen Kitchen, also a senior, has noticed Hopfauf's development as a linebacker, as well.

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"He's like the center of the linebacking group. He's our captain," Kitchen said. "He shuts down the middle. He tackles and brings guys down every time. He doesn't just hang on."

In a year's time, Hopfauf said he has learned more about the linebacking position he occupies, and that has furthered his growth.

"Last year it was more of a guess-and-hope that you're in the right place. This year I know I'm going to be in the right spot," said Hopfauf, who leads the team with 39 tackles, including five for a loss. "I think I'm more knowledgeable about the game - seeing what the line's doing, how the backfield is flowing, and then getting to where you need to be faster than they get there."

Shawn Steffan wasn't much concerned with the defense last year while playing only at quarterback. Now that he sees time at safety as well, he's more aware of the presence Hopfauf brings.

But back on offense, Steffan has never taken his fullback for granted.

"When we're in a shotgun set, Treven's always in the backfield with me, and we communicate on where he's supposed to go and block," Steffan said, "and it's always nice knowing that if somebody gets through the line, Treven's going to be there to block him. I wouldn't rather have anybody else back there."

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