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Titans stun Blue Jays in first-round playoff game

Dickinson Trinity is one step closer to a Class A championship. The Titans did everything right against Stanley, downing the Region 3 team 47-6 on Saturday, Oct. 21 at the Biesiot Activities Center. The only downfall was breaking their six-game s...

Dickinson Trinity junior quarterback Aric Knopik runs in a touchdown against Stanley on Saturday, Oct. 21 at the Biesiot Activities Center. (Shelby Reardon / The Dickinson Press)
Dickinson Trinity junior quarterback Aric Knopik runs in a touchdown against Stanley on Saturday, Oct. 21 at the Biesiot Activities Center. (Shelby Reardon / The Dickinson Press)

Dickinson Trinity is one step closer to a Class A championship.

The Titans did everything right against Stanley, downing the Region 3 team 47-6 on Saturday, Oct. 21 at the Biesiot Activities Center.

The only downfall was breaking their six-game streak of not allowing a touchdown with just one minute and forty seconds left in the match.

"Offensively we played really well," head coach John Odermann said. "We did what we wanted to do. We got a lead early and executed on the defensive side of the ball. Our defense has been playing lights out and if they continue to play like this, I like our chances of success in the future."

The Blue Jays (4-5) earned just one first down in the first two quarters, which the Titans (7-1) handed to them with an encroachment penalty. Stanley ended the day with eight first downs.

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The Titans scored 41 points in the opening half, with junior running back Joe Bates scoring three touchdowns.

Bates ran in two with rushes of 3 and 44 yards. He also caught a 9-yard pass from junior quarterback Aric Knopik.

Knopik scored one of his own, escaping the pocket and running 15 yards with two minutes left in the first. To open the scoring in the second quarter, he threw a 3-yard pass to senior wide receiver Noah Sickler.

"Aric just executes," Odermann said. "He and Noah have a great relationship where they trust each other a lot. Aric is comfortable in putting it up there and having Noah come down with it."

Sickler led the Titans with 38 receiving yards over three receptions.

"He is a great receiver," Knopik said. "He's very athletic. He can jump, he's really fast and if they don't guard him well, I know I can have whatever I want with him."

With a constant, powerful wind blowing in from the northwest, a passing game seemed risky at best, but Knopik threw 26 yards, and Dillon Kovash, who replaced Knopik in the second half, threw 34 yards.

"It was rough. We had to compensate so much for the wind," Knopik said. "It was just a lot of practice in the beginning of throwing both ways, trying to figure out exactly how to compensate."

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Nathaniel Jilek scored the final two Trinity touchdowns, with a 23-yard rush in the second quarter and a 35-yard rush in the third. He led the Titans with 189 yards over 23 carries.

In the fourth quarter, the Blue Jay's offense came alive. Senior quarterback Wyatt Hanson was only able to complete one throw to junior Luke Shold, but in the final minutes, sophomore Cody Rudolph contributed big numbers to Stanley's 75-yard, 17-play drive. Senior Michael Gunderson rushed 12 yards for the only Blue Jay touchdown of the day, and Rudolph rushed 86 yards over 24 carries.

"I'm pretty pleased with that," Stanley head coach Robert Bartz said. "Our O-line we got coming back next year. Our whole blocking squad and our running back who did most of the work. It's nice for them to see, hopefully, where they stack up and give them a boost going into next season"

Dickinson Trinity hadn't allowed a touchdown since the first game of the season against Bowman County, which they lost 15-6.

"It was a little deflating," Jilek said. "But we still want to keep our heads high. We're not going to worry about it. We're just going to move on and get ready for next week."

Dickinson Trinity , Stanley

T 20 21 6 0 - 47

S 0 0 0 6 - 6

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First quarter

T - Joe Bates 3 rush (Jayden Dolechek kick), 10:12

T - Bates 9 pass from Aric Knopik (Dolechek kick), 6:26

T - Knopik 15 rush (PAT no good), 1:59

Second quarter

T - Noah Sickler 3 pass from Knopik ( Nathaniel Jilek), 10:44

T - Bates 44 rush (PAT no good), 6:40

T - Jilek 23 rush (Dolechek kick), 4:33

Third quarter

T - Jilek 35 rush (PAT no good), 4:53

Fourth quarter

S - Michael Gunderson 12 rush (PAT no good), 1:40

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING: T, Nathaniel Jilek 23-189 2 TD, Joe Bates 6-51 2 TD, Aric Knopick 4-33 1 TD, Ethan Kudrna 2-12, Dillan Kovash 4-12. S, Cody Rudolph 24-86, Michael Gunderson 7-9 1 TD, Wyatt Hanson 5-7, Nick Johnson 2-3.

PASSING: T, Kovash 2-3-0 34 yards, Knopik 4-7-0 26 yards. S, Hanson 1-8-0 1 yard.

RECEIVING: T, Noah Sickler 3-38, Sean Volesky 1-10, Bates 1-9 1 TD, Easton Walby 1-3.

Related Topics: TRINITY TITANSBLUE JAYS FOOTBALLBLUE HAWKS
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