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Trinity's Kram showing big-play ability early in season

The story of Dawson Kram joining the Dickinson Trinity football team begins in a Bismarck convenience store. James Odermann, the father of head coach John Odermann, ran into Kram's mother three years ago during the state track and field meet and ...

Dickinson Trinity running back Dawson Kram celebrates with teammates after scoring a touchdown against Killdeer Aug. 25 at the Biesiot Activities Center. (Parker Cotton / The Dickinson Press)
Dickinson Trinity running back Dawson Kram celebrates with teammates after scoring a touchdown against Killdeer Aug. 25 at the Biesiot Activities Center. (Parker Cotton / The Dickinson Press)

The story of Dawson Kram joining the Dickinson Trinity football team begins in a Bismarck convenience store.

James Odermann, the father of head coach John Odermann, ran into Kram's mother three years ago during the state track and field meet and broached the subject to her with hopes of getting the star sprinter onto the football field.

After playing as a freshman, Kram took the next two years off only to be persuaded by "positive peer pressure," as John Odermann called it, to come out for the team this season.

"People definitely talked to me about it a lot," Kram said. "And Mr. (Craig) Kovash, the old football coach, he talked to me a lot about it last track season and the year before about how it would make me a better athlete."

Three games into his senior year, the Titans are already seeing a special talent.

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"I guess it takes a village to get a kid like Dawson out," Odermann said, "but we're sure as heck happy to have him."

Kram and the Titans (2-1, 1-0 West Region) take the field against No. 2 Valley City (3-0, 1-0) at 6 p.m. tonight at the Biesiot Activities Center.

So far, Kram has rushed for 293 yards and four touchdowns on runs of 59, 47, 50 and 70 yards. His big-play ability is almost unmatched.

"I think I'm getting my reads better," Kram said. "I'm starting to pick up on everything and the flow a lot better."

After having some immediate success against Killdeer (13 carries, 119 yards, two scores) to open the season, Kram was held in check against Kindred two weeks ago (10 carries, 11 yards) only to break out again last week with 164 yards and two touchdowns against Central Dakota.

"The thing I was really happy to see against Central Dakota was he got a better feel for game speed," Odermann said, "as well as trusting the guys up front that are opening holes. He got a little more north and south, which is something we've been harping on him for."

Kram said he'd like to accumulate 1,000 rushing yards this season and come away with a few interceptions from his cornerback spot, where Odermann said Kram is also making progress.

"I just hope he continues to develop as a good running back," Odermann said, "and he's been really impressive on the defensive side of the ball. When you can rotate guys in and out (at cornerback), it makes us a better football team. ... He's already been a dangerous weapon for us, and I think he can be even more dangerous going forward."

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Physicality returning

As the Titans focused on welcoming Valley City into the BAC tonight, Odermann noticed an unnerving trend in his football team.

"We had physicality against Killdeer and then we took a week off (against Kindred)," he said, adding that the team's smashmouth play returned last week in a 54-0 win at Central Dakota. "Hopefully that isn't an indicator of how we're going to play this week."

The Hi-Liners got the best of the Titans last season 44-14 behind three touchdown runs from running back Nate Rodriguez. In all, Valley City rushed 55 times for 461 yards in the win.

To prevent a similar outcome, the Titans will need to contain Rodriguez, who is now a senior.

"If you let him get a head of steam, he's really going to hurt you," Odermann said. "He's done that to us the last couple years. He's a big running back that's tough to bring down.

"Guys like him, and Mikey Morris at Beulah, and it seems like they have a bottomless pit of running backs at St. Mary's, guys like that, you have to be able to shut those guys down if you want to win."

A victory against Valley City would go a long way toward the Titans earning some respect around the state.

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"Rankings don't really matter to us," said junior linebacker Hunter Dassinger. "We have to tackle well. We'll need more than one guy to take (Rodriguez) down. We need to group-tackle every time. Playing downhill, physical defense is a big part of it."

Dassinger returned to the team against Central Dakota after missing the first two games due to player eligibility requirements, and Odermann called him "disruptive" in his first game back.

Going forward, Odermann's excited to see what Dassinger can bring to the defense.

"We missed him, and it's been really helpful to have him back. When Hunter's on the field, we're a tougher team," he said. "He's really an impact player for us. He times his blitzes really well, and he can make offenses make mistakes with what he brings to the table."

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