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Midgets not looking at Packers' 0-2 record

Dave Michaelson knows West Fargo's 0-2 record is deceiving. The Dickinson High football coach said the Packers are improving each week. "They're definitely a better team than their record shows," Michaelson said. "Our kids know West Fargo is a qu...

Dickinson High coach Dave Michaelson
Press Photo by Chris Aarhus Dickinson High coach Dave Michaelson has won the only time his Midgets have faced West Fargo since he took over, beating the Packers 21-12 on Sept. 1, 2006 at Whitney Stadium.

Dave Michaelson knows West Fargo's 0-2 record is deceiving.

The Dickinson High football coach said the Packers are improving each week.

"They're definitely a better team than their record shows," Michaelson said. "Our kids know West Fargo is a quality program. They had a lot of turnovers (against Mandan) and it wasn't like they got blown out. They gave (Bismarck) Century all they wanted."

The Midgets host West Fargo at 7 p.m. today in their home opener in what will be the first night game at the new Badlands Activities Center.

"We're extremely excited to play the first night game on the turf," Michaelson said. "This is great for the community to have this facility."

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Dickinson got a chance to practice on the turf on Wednesday.

"That was really a nice gesture by the college to let us on there," Michaelson said.

West Fargo comes in looking for its first win of the season after dropping a pair of close games to Mandan and Bismarck Century. The Packers were one of the top teams in the East in the preseason polls.

Michaelson said the Midgets are going to have to deal with another spread show as West Fargo runs a pistol offense with the quarterback in the shotgun and a running back next to him in the backfield.

"They present some problems because they do try and spread you out," Michaelson said. "They give us a lot of formation looks. It's something we have to contend with."

Because of West Fargo's well-built defensive line, Michaelson said the Midgets must throw the ball.

"You always like to run, but we're going to have to do something with the passing game," Michaelson said. "They're just too good up front to think we're going to be able to pound on them all night. I don't think that's realistic.

"They're going to want to knock us around a bit. We have to match that physicality."

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Dickinson High (1-1) is coming off a 7-0 loss to Custer County (Mont.) and saw its defense play well, allowing just a touchdown in the first quarter.

"We did some good things," Michaelson said. "We have to make sure we accentuate the positive."

Dickinson almost matched Custer County in total yards, but couldn't muster any points out of it.

"We have to sustain drives," Michaelson said. "We had good field position for quite a bit of the game, but didn't turn it into points."

Senior tailback Calen Beaudoin performed well for the second straight week, notching his second 100-yard game. In two games, he has 235 yards rushing on 31 touches to go with a pair of touchdowns.

"Certainly, speed is his greatest asset," Michaelson said. "His vision he's working on daily. He's got to understand that he's not going to bust every play for a touchdown."

Limiting turnovers will be a big key for the Midgets. Senior quarterback Connor McNeilly threw five interceptions last week.

"I think we've put in a few wrinkles and schemes that will fit our quarterback better," Michaelson said. "That's important because Connor can make plays if given the chance."

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The last time Dickinson High faced West Fargo was Sept. 1, 2006 -- Michaelson's first year on the job -- when the Midgets won 21-12 at Whitney Stadium.

If the Midgets want to duplicate that success, they'll need some help from their depth.

Senior center Tony Maus has a strained knee and backup center Jess O'Brien is hurt as well. Guard Don Smith is going to move over to center while Justin Dvorak will take over at the guard spot.

"They're very questionable," Michaelson said. "It's a little bit frustrating, but it's the way it is."

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