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Midgets welcome slumping Sabers to town with playoffs on the line

After a winless 2015 in its first varsity season, four wins at the start of this year made Bismarck Legacy football the darling of the West Region. The Sabers have since fallen on hard times with three straight losses and enter tonight's matchup ...

Dickinson High junior tight end Krew Mathern carries the ball against Fargo North on Aug. 26 at the Biesiot Activities Center. (Eric Olheiser / Special to The Dickinson Press)
Dickinson High junior tight end Krew Mathern carries the ball against Fargo North on Aug. 26 at the Biesiot Activities Center. (Eric Olheiser / Special to The Dickinson Press)

After a winless 2015 in its first varsity season, four wins at the start of this year made Bismarck Legacy football the darling of the West Region.

The Sabers have since fallen on hard times with three straight losses and enter tonight's matchup with Dickinson High desperate for a win. The game is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Biesiot Activities Center.

The Midgets (5-2, 3-2 West Region) are one game ahead of the Sabers (4-3, 2-3) in the region standings, and a win would give Dickinson a tiebreaker over each of the bottom four teams in the west, securing a playoff berth.

The Midgets have done all this math themselves. They know how important this game is.

"We talk every week about going 1-0," senior quarterback Shawn Steffan said, "and this is the biggest 1-0 of the year."

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Dickinson is coming off a 29-22 victory at Williston last Friday, a game in which the Midgets gave the lead away in the second half, only to reclaim it by the end on a touchdown pass from Steffan to Krew Mathern.

Moody also threw touchdown passes to Austin Wollschlager, Kaymen Kitchen and Cam Jorda in the game. Mathern's score was his second of the season, but it was the first touchdowns of the year for the other three.

"We're fighters. That's what we've always known about ourselves," Mathern said. "They must have scouted (leading receiver Aanen Moody) instead of us, so we had to step up, and I feel like we stepped up a lot."

Steffan added: "We've got a lot of weapons on our team, and some might be overlooked more than others because of the big-play ability, but when one person goes down or somebody's not having a great game, we can count on the guy right next to him to go out and make plays. We work as a team and get things done."

The Sabers would need a win against Dickinson to remain in the playoff picture, and a victory in the season finale against Jamestown (winless in the region this season) would help quite a bit also.

"For us to have a chance where we can control our own destiny and get into the playoffs with a win is what we wanted to do. We wanted to be able to control our fate with our own play," Midgets head coach John Tuchscherer said. "But the same is true for Legacy. So I expect two teams ready to go Thursday night, and hopefully both are playing their best football. It'll come down to whichever team makes more plays and limits their mistakes."

Tuchscherer went on to say that the Midgets cannot risk another incident like what happened in Williston.

"I thought we played a pretty good football game - minus late in the third, early in the fourth, when we had a little lapse there where we took our foot off the gas. But it was nice to see the resilience and see our guys fight back," Tuchscherer said. "Legacy's a good football team, and we can't put ourselves in a position where we let up a little bit. We have to be consistent through four quarters."

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The Sabers might be entering the game in a bit of a tailspin, but Tuchscherer wants his team to remain cautious. The days of Legacy's winless season are long gone.

"Every team in the WDA is a tough opponent. It doesn't surprise me that someone can rattle off three wins or lose three straight," Tuchscherer said. "You have to play your best football every week in this conference to get a win."

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