Midgets out play Mandan for a half but fall short
Dickinson’s search for their first win of the 2020 football season continues.
The Midgets (0-4) outscored Mandan 8-2 in the final three quarters of play Thursday night at the Biesiot Activities Center, but the first quarter was their nemesis in an 18-8 loss.
Dickinson shut out the Braves in the second half without their head coach John Tuchscherer who is still in quarantine, but they weren’t able to overcome miscues that put them behind, 16-0, early.
“We played a great second half. We out played a pretty dang good football team in the second half... ,” Dickinson interim head coach Dave Michaelson said. “I am really proud of our kids' effort. Defensively, that was the best half of football we have played. You can say ‘ok we shut them out in the second half, it was kind of obvious,’ but what it goes back to is we have to play four quarters.”
Special teams was one of the deciding factors of the outcome as the Midgets missed a 22 yard field goal, had a punt blocked and a snap sailed over their punters' head.
The blocked punt turned into a safety in the first quarter and the bad snap on a punt at the very beginning of the second quarter was another safety.
The second mistake was Mandan’s (2-2) last points of the game that put them up 18-0.
“Our middle wedge on (the first) punt was completely obliterated and that is how they blocked it. The other thing is a snap over the punter's head is just one of those things. It just happens. Our best athlete was snapping,” Michaelson said. “We have to clean up on the field goal too. We have to keep getting better in all three phases of the game.”
The Midgets put themselves behind the eight ball early when Mandan connected on a slant pass scoring on 3rd and goal from the 24 yard line.
After the first safety, Mandan was behind the chains once again late in the first quarter, but they sent their jumbo package in on fourth and two from the nine yard line and found the end zone making the score 16-0 after one quarter.
Dickinson scored their first points in seven quarters when senior quarterback Landon Aman completed a seven play, 38-yard drive with four seconds left in the third quarter with a ten yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Chase Henderson.
Aman ran the two point conversion in bringing the score to a ten point game.
Aman led the team in rushing with 50 yards on 10 carries, and junior running back Troy Berg had 45 yards on 14 carries.
As a team, Dickinson totaled only 222 total yards of offense to Mandan’s 261.
At the end of the first half, the Midgets couldn’t find points when the short field goal was blocked, and then they came up empty again in the red zone in the third quarter.
“Shooting ourselves in the foot has been our achilles heel so far, but we dropped a touchdown pass and those are mistakes that sometimes happen,” Michaelson said. “When you have mistakes like fumbles like we did last week that is a lot harder to accept. A dropped pass in coverage is going to happen. I don’t put that on anyone.”
Dickinson was driving as time expired and got into Mandan territory, but they ran out of time.
Had the field goal near the end of the first half been good, the drive could have represented the game-tying drive.
Dickinson has an off week next week before hosting Williston on Friday, Oct. 9.