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Titans QB Jones comfortable in new role

The 41-yard touchdown pass from Lucas Jones to Noah Sickler on Thursday against Killdeer was the first manifestation of what Dickinson Trinity head coach John Odermann suspected all along.

Dickinson Trinity senior quarterback Lucas Jones rolls out of the pocket to throw last Thursday against Killdeer at the Biesiot Activities Center. (Press Photo by Parker Cotton)
Dickinson Trinity senior quarterback Lucas Jones rolls out of the pocket to throw last Thursday against Killdeer at the Biesiot Activities Center. (Press Photo by Parker Cotton)

The 41-yard touchdown pass from Lucas Jones to Noah Sickler on Thursday against Killdeer was the first manifestation of what Dickinson Trinity head coach John Odermann suspected all along.

Sickler was too valuable as a playmaker to stick him somewhere other than wide receiver. And Jones was just the right guy to get the ball to Sickler and to the team's other speedsters.

"(Jones) just threaded the needle," Odermann said at Monday's practice. "It's tough to get a ball in there when you have a safety over the top on the fade, and he put it right where he needed to put it."

Jones and Sickler had been splitting reps at quarterback in the preseason, but it became evident where each was the most valuable to the team.

"We can use Noah on the outside, and he can become a weapon for us at another place on the field, and you have to put your best players on the field and you have to get them the ball," Odermann said. "Lucas is a good guy to stand in the back and get our good players the ball and make some plays with his arm and his feet."

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Odermann added that he noticed the belief the rest of the team had in Jones.

"The guys around him trust him and have confidence in him," Odermann said. "That was probably the biggest checkmark for us. We wanted to make sure the guys had confidence in Lucas as a quarterback, and they definitely do."

The senior quarterback is a convert from running back, but he didn't play football as a junior while recovering from surgery on a dislocated left (non-throwing) shoulder last June, an injury that stems all the way from football in eighth grade.

Now healed, Jones said his transition to a new position has been streamlined because of the players he has around him including Sickler, Kaden Kuntz and newly established running back Dawson Kram, who rushed for 119 yards and two touchdowns against Killdeer.

"They're fast, quick guys who catch the ball really well," he said. "They make it a lot easier for me. If I just get them the ball in short yardage, they can make big plays out of it. You don't always have to hit the home run with them. They can make it themselves."

Jones finished 6 of 9 passing for 101 yards, but he did fumble on an option play with Kram, giving the ball to the Cowboys. Looking back, he sees it as an opportunity to learn.

"There are a couple plays I wish I could have back," Jones said. "We have good chemistry, so it's not going to take long to get it down. We just have to work on it."

On Trinity's offensive line against Killdeer, four of the five members hadn't started a varsity game before, but they, too, came together quickly with their new responsibilities.

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"It felt like even through the second half, we kept getting better and better," senior tackle Alex Knopik said. "We can put trust in everyone."

That's how Odermann felt also. The starters - Cody Holt, Denit Sorenson, Jacob Kubas, Isaac Fridrich and Knopik - can play multiple positions and give way to non-starters and the line doesn't miss a beat.

"That's the engine that makes the team run," Odermann said. "The quarterback might be the captain, but without the guys shoveling coal on the fire, your train's not going anywhere, and it's important that the offensive line is cooking."

For Jones, the line gave him time in the backfield, a trend he hopes continues.

"I don't think I got touched. I don't think I got close to sacked that game, so that says how well they did," Jones said. "For some it was the first varsity game, and if they had any jitters, they held it together really well. I was really proud of them."

Scouting Kindred

The Titans' next game comes at 5 p.m. Friday for a meeting with Kindred, which won its season-opener 55-6 over 9-man's Richland last week.

The Titans defeated Kindred 42-29 last season at the Biesiot Activities Center.

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To have a similar result, Odermann will rely heavily on the team's defense to shut down the Vikings' option attack.
"That's something that we're going to drill the heck out of this week," he said. "We're going to make sure everybody has their option responsibilities down. Who's got the dive back, who's got the quarterback, who's got the pitch back? You have to make sure you're not out of position because that's when they gash you for a big gainer."

Odermann sees the Vikings as a potential playoff team out of the East Region in Class 2A. Even though Friday's game doesn't count toward Trinity's region record, a win would surely provide a jolt of confidence.

"For a team like that, if you can go to their home field and make some noise and come away with a victory," Odermann said, "you have to be pretty happy and pretty confident with where you're standing and what you're going to do the rest of the year."

Related Topics: PREP SPORTS
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