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Trinity football ready to reload in 2021

Titans head coach Odermann impressed so far with seniors stepping up.

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The Titans ground game will have to replace Nathaniel Jilek's production from a year ago. (Race Archibald / The Dickinson Press)
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The Titans will have multiple pieces to replace from last year's team that lost to Velva 33-0 in the Class A quarterfinals.

Dickinson Trinity went 7-3 with a 5-1 record in Class A Region 4 play, good for second.

Back in the fold is reigning Class A Region 4 coach of the year John Odermann who likes how the seniors this year have stepped up in the leadership role vacated by graduated players.

One of those departing players was Nathaniel Jilek, who was a force running the ball, earning all-region honors at running back.

But Odermann says his impact was greater on the defensive side of the ball and off the field.

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“From a leadership standpoint that’s one of the biggest holes to fill,” Odermann said. “But not just from him. We had a great senior class last year. They were leaders on and off the field...everything you would ask as a coach, those seniors provided it.”

Another position to fill will be at the quarterback spot, left behind by Jake Daniel. Drew Kovash has started a few games in the past when Daniel was unable to go, but this will be his first season with the keys to the offense.

“He’s a good dual threat guy that can throw but also hurt you with his feet,” Odermann said. “He’s a smart kid, makes good decisions and makes easy throws. It helps set up the receivers for yards after the catch...I’m excited and I think people will be surprised by his talent and his ability to lead the team.”

Other players that Odermann pointed out as potential guys to fill the leadership void are lineman Trenten Bertelsen, running back/defensive back Carter Ehlis and linebacker Dominoc Tibor. But Odermann says every senior this season will play a part in leading the team.

“They’ve been starters and great contributors,” Odermann said. “But this is their time to step into the spotlight and be recognized and make a big impact.”

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Trinity linemen going through blocking drills in practice. (Race Archibald / The Dickinson Press)

All three of those players were all-region selections last year, but Bertelsen is one who Odermann tabbed for a big year.

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“He’s been a starter on the line for a couple years and is seen as a leader by the underclassmen,” Odermann said. “We need to see him turn into that leader on and off the field and the guy to make plays for us. He’s poised for a big year.”

With some realignment in North Dakota high school football this year, Dickinson Trinity will compete in the Class B Southwest Region and will have new challenges to face. One of the teams in their region is the Beulah Miners, who come down from the Class AA West division.

Beulah are no strangers to Trinity, who were in the same division before a two-year hiatus. The Miners reached the Class AA final last year, losing to Bismarck St. Mary’s Central 17-7. Beulah went 8-3 last year.

“They run a very unconventional offense and it gives teams fits,” Odermann said. “We’ve had good success against them in recent years. I’m excited to have them back in the region because it’s good competitive football.”

He also praised the rest of the conference stating how tough it is to win in the region with almost every team fighting for a playoff spot. Last season four of the eight teams in the region advanced to the postseason.

Trinity’s season will begin August 20 when they travel to Minot to take on Bishop Ryan Catholic. Their first home game won’t be until September 10 when Bismarck Shiloh Christian visits.

They opened the 2020 season against Bishop Ryan Catholic as well, emerging victorious 29-27.

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Related Topics: TRINITY TITANSFOOTBALL
Race Archibald is a former sports reporter with The Dickinson Press.
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