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Offense vs. defense: Which aspect of the Blue Hawks football team looked better at the spring scrimmage?

On the first play of the Dickinson State football team's spring scrimmage, the offense was whistled for a false start. While it was just the first play of the scrimmage, which even as a whole hardly hints at the upcoming season, it certainly set ...

Dickinson State freshman running back Riley Linder hauls down the field as a defender tries to bring him down by the ankle during the spring scrimmage on Friday, April 12, at the Biesiot Activities Center. (Shelby Reardon / The Dickinson Press)
Dickinson State freshman running back Riley Linder hauls down the field as a defender tries to bring him down by the ankle during the spring scrimmage on Friday, April 12, at the Biesiot Activities Center. (Shelby Reardon / The Dickinson Press)

On the first play of the Dickinson State football team's spring scrimmage, the offense was whistled for a false start.

While it was just the first play of the scrimmage, which even as a whole hardly hints at the upcoming season, it certainly set the tone for the evening.

The Blue Hawks defense, dressed in white jerseys, was all over the blue-dressed offense as the team competed in the annual spring scrimmage at the Biesiot Activities Center on Friday, April 12.

"We jumped offsides," soon-to-be-senior quarterback Hayden Gibson said. "We were making sure that we weren't jumping offsides, and we did. It's just kind of how the whole scrimmage went for us."

On the other side of the ball, the defense made few mistakes. The wind made passes infrequent, but when quarterbacks attempted one, receivers were always well-covered. After a reception, players rarely made it farther than the spot of the catch, as a defensive back instantly wrapped them up and brought them to the ground.

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The pressure on receivers led all three quarterbacks to hold on to the ball, which resulted in numerous 'sacks.'

Junior defensive lineman Quaid Larson, and senior linebacker Kevin Brown each earned one of at least five sacks on the evening. Additionally, senior defensive back Trenton Rohr nearly earned an interception, while sophomores Tanner Wood and Jameson Crisafulli, who was a running back in the fall, both got their gloves on balls intended for a receiver.

"I think (it was) attention to detail," Brown said of the success on defense. "We really have been focusing super hard in our meeting rooms with our film sessions and everything. We're just improving on the little things that gave us trouble last year."

Brown has only been with the team for a season but is the leader of a rather inexperienced group of LB's and, even in the short scrimmage, that was evident.

"I'm the old man of the group, of the whole team," Brown said. "So, I hope to take a little bit more of a leadership role this year. I enjoy that role, I like leading."

Gibson was in for the first 10 plays, then senior second-string quarterback Kooper Ray had a few looks. About 10 plays later, Gibson returned before Ray got some more time and sophomore Drew Boedecker wrapped up the scrimmage. Both Ray and Boedecker opted to run with the ball a few times.

In the first drive with the 'A' crew on the field, a shallow pass up the middle to junior slot receiver Tyger Frye was followed by a deep pass to junior Nick Miller, who was a running back in the fall, but still made plenty of impressive catches out of the backfield.

Frye and Miller were some of the highlights on offense. During a trick play, Miller brought the small crowd to their feet with an incredible one-handed catch off a pass from Frye.

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"I thought our first group, offensively, did a good job getting some things going," Dickinson State head coach Pete Stanton said. "We didn't want to play Hayden (Gibson) a lot of plays there, and we kept a few guys out. ... We moved (Miller) out. He's capable of playing a lot of spots, receiver, linebacker, running back. He did a good job out there."

The receiving corps will no doubt have the most depth of all the personnel groups, as nearly 10 different players appeared at the position.

In true Dickinson State fashion, the running game was strong, with first-stringer Amad Andrews Jr. breaking tackles during his short time on the field. Derek Tabor, who saw plenty of time in the fall, also did well, giving the Blue Hawks some red zone success with a third-down touchdown run.

If people hadn't heard of Riley Linder ahead of Friday, they certainly did after the scrimmage. The freshman out of Flaxville, Mont., donned No.33 and busted out from behind the line many times. He kept his feet moving and powered past a swarming group of linebackers.

Sidney, Mont. native Alec Lovegren made the most of his reps as well.

"I thought our running backs did a nice job. We know what Amad can do, but I thought our freshman running backs, (Linder) did a good job," Stanton said. "We think Alec Lovegren is going to be a good player down the road. So, it was a good chance to see those freshmen and Derek Tabor, who's been steady for us. ... It's an audition for the guys."

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