The Dickinson State Blue Hawks look to pull off an opening round upset on the road against the defending NAIA National Champions.
It’s a different season, but the same result for Dickinson State. Another North Star conference title. They also had a week off before their first-round match.
“You know it was our fifth conference championship in a row and it was really exciting,” says head coach Pete Stanton. “Our guys were fired up and now it just lets them enjoy it for a few days and get back to the basics because we can get healed up.”
The road to a conference championship wasn’t easy. DSU needed help to make the dance, and they got it when Waldorff beat Valley City on the last week of the season.
“It was really familiar because it was a similar situation to what happened to us last year,” linebacker Kevin Brown says. “So it’s kind of cool and I’m thankful.”
The Bluehawks feel that they are playing their best football down the stretch, rolling over Mayville State 63-13 to end the regular season.
“When our defense is rolling, that’s usually when we’re going,” says quarterback Hayden Gibson. “And vice versa, when we’re going, the defense comes around.”
There were other landmarks along the schedule. For Pete Stanton, it’s the game against Waldorff that proved to him that his team could contend.
“After the disapointing loss to Rocky [Mountain College], I think we really put together that game we did against Waldorff on the road when they’re playing at a high level,” Stanton says. “They were scoring 50-something points the last couple games.”
Dickinson State is leaning on their experience for their matchup with Morningside College, a team that won it all a season ago.
“I mean, we know what to expect from last year,” says Brown. “What it’s like to play on the road. We have some big road wins this year already. So we know how to travel well and compete on the road and go get a W.”
DSU’s opening round game kicks off this Saturday in Sioux City, Iowa.