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Midgets fall to Grand Forks Red River in crushing 46-0 loss

Dickinson finds early defensive success against top-tiered Roughriders, but offensive turn-overs ushered the largest margin of defeat on season.

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Red River and Dickinson on the line of scrimmage.
Josiah C. Cuellar / The Dickinson Press
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DICKINSON — The Dickinson Midgets (2-1, 4-5) suffered their fifth loss of the season in what would prove to be their largest margin of defeat at home on the year. Grand Forks Red River needed a win in the final regular-season game to clinch its spot as a top-two seeded team in the upcoming North Dakota Class A football playoffs.

The Roughriders delivered in a big way.

Roaring past Dickinson 46-0 on Thursday night, Red River sits precariously atop the East Region standings as Valley City eyes the throne — needing only a solid performance on its regular season finale to take the top seed.

Dickinson's defense held the gates, forcing miscues from Grand Fork's star-studded offensive line and securing a sack and an interception early. The defensive successes would last nearly a half, before the Roughriders caught fire and controlled the Midgets for the remainder of the game. The Midgets were kept to short offensive drives, a plethora of punts and scoreless for the full 48 minutes.

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Dickinson's Chase Selle (9) intercepting a deep pass in the first half.
Josiah C. Cuellar / The Dickinson Press

The scoreboard would not remain locked at zero for long as the Roughriders’ opening drive would result in a field goal to take a 3-0 lead to close the first quarter in a defensive slobberknocker. The early success of Dickinson’s defense would wane as Red River found their rhythm and put up more than 485 offensive yards over the final three quarters.

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Red River start their scoring with a field goal with 7:34 left in the first quarter.
(Josiah C. Cuellar / The Dickinson Press)

Dickinson’s three first downs on the night would be a far cry too few as their opponents successfully found a way to keep the chains moving 19 times.

None of Dickinson’s early defensive successes would be transferred to the offensive side of the ball as QB Stephen Zawodny would be forced to scramble for much of the night amid a consistently collapse of his pocket. With no other options, the Midgets would look to their run game for relief without success. A high snap on a fourth-and-punt situation, put the Roughriders in scoring position on the eight-yard line to make it 10-0.

Dickinson rose to the challenge once more late in the second after a blocked punt gave the Midgets the ball at center field, but an intercepted pass on the first play of their next drive would close the door on any hopes of staying competitive.

Heading into half with a score of 22-0, Red River would only refine its offensive tempo and miscues as they began to control the game. Receiving the halftime kickoff, the Midgets offense witnessed little time on the field, losing possessions on interceptions and struggling to stop the slow and steady drives of the Grand Forks — which ate up much of the clock and opportunities for a Midget Hail Mary.

Following a seven-play scoring drive, the Roughriders would send Dickinson from the frying pan to the fire when they recovered their own kickoff after a short bounce and mishandled special teams play gave Grand Forks the ball back near midfield.

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Pearce Parks (1) and Mason Wosick-Bimler (22) and the entire Red River football team coming out of the BAC visitor's tunnel. (Josiah C. Cuellar / The Dickinson Press)
Josiah C. Cuellar / The Dickinson Press

The final buzzer would bring mercy to a game that was quickly out of control and sees Dickinson finish its regular season ranked seventh — though with a longshot opportunity in the Class A playoffs. Depending on Saturday’s games, the Midgets will either face the Roughriders or Valley City in the first round — both teams having beat Dickinson in the regular season.

"Overall, our kids played hard, our kids always play hard. I never have to question that. We just have to make sure we are putting that effort together with exectuion and as close to mistake free football as we can," John Tuchscherer, DHS head coach said. “When you are playing top teams in the state, you can't turn the ball over, you can't stall out on drives. When you get opportunities, you have to put points on the board and we just weren't able to do that.”

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Josiah C. Cuellar was born in San Angelo, Texas, a small rural community in the western part of the state known for its farming, ranching and beautiful Concho River. A Texas A&M San Antonio graduate specializing in multi-media reporting, Cuellar is an award winning photographer and reporter whose work focuses on community news and sports.
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