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Sharper image coalescing in North Dakota football picture

DICKINSON — Being almost a month into the 2023 football calendar can signal a team’s potential, and with Dickinson High’s Midgets running out a 2-0 record to start the season — coming off a 28-6 win over West Fargo Horace in their Aug. 25 season-opener on the road and backing that up with a home-opening, 26-6 win over Williston last week — they entered the Class AA top-5 rankings at number-5 in the NDHSAA polling with 19 votes this week.

DHS will now be playing at home this Friday versus Watford City, a team that is coming into the Class AA rivalry game with something to prove being a 1-2 team thus far. Watford City has been up-and-down this season, with a season-opening loss to Grand Forks Central at home followed by a 22-16 win over Class A Refgion 4 Hazen before being blanked, 30-0, last week at Valley City.

“I don’t want to say that this is the start that we expected and we want to win every week, and I think that we’ve played really well through the first two weeks and I definitely think that we have some things that we need to correct,” Dickinson head coach John Tuchscherer said. “And I think that we have throughout the week and will continue to leading up to Friday. I definitely don’t get into any of what this person thought or, ‘How you were were going to be or this ranking had you guys there.'”

He added, “We knew as a coaching staff with the kids that we had on our team from last year and some of the kids coming up as underclassmen and I think the expectation — not only for us as coaches but for our kids — is we want to be better every day and want to be ready to play that game on Friday night.”

Other teams in the Class AA top-5 are #1 Fargo North, Grand Forks Red River at No.-2, Fargo South at #3 and Jamestown sitting at number-4.

Meanwhile, the #3-ranked Dickinson Trinity Titans are standing tall on a 3-0 record in Class A, with a season- and home-opening, 30-10, win over Des Lacs-Burlington followed up by a 47-0 Aug. 25 shutout on the road over Bishop Ryan and another dominant 42-8 home performance last week over Hazen at the BAC.

That situation sets up what is sure to be a Friday-night, must-see road contest against 2022 state-semifinalists Beulah for the Titans, with the Miners posting a surprising 1-2 record and coming off a tough, 31-24, road loss at Region 4 rivals Bowman County last week. For the Titans, the game will register another few degrees on their barometer to see what kind of pressure they can withstand and bring to bear in 2023.

“This is a big game, Beulah is a team that has developed — not just in the last couple years but for the last several decades we’ve been playing them — into quite the rivalry,” Titans head coach John Odermann said. “And that’s not just in football but in any sport. They’re a team that has had our number on a number of occasions, but we’ve had theirs; so this is one of those games that I think the kids look at every year as a must-win game.”

But Dickinson teams aren’t the only ones in the West Dakota Association with something to prove, as Killdeer are at Bowman County (3-0) for what’s sure to be another exciting matchup. The Bulldogs’ win last week was a good sign for the team in Region 4, while Killdeer is coming into the game at 2-1 off a 58-27 loss to Shiloh Christian last week.

Elsewhere in Region 4, Heart River won their first game in a very long time last week with a nailbiting 24-22 road victory over Southern McLean to take the Cougars to an even 1-1 record on the young season. HRHS will be on the road to a dominant 3-0 Shiloh Christian team that is currently ruling the roost right along with the Titans in the region and WDA.

In local 9-man, Region 4 action, Beach (0-3) will be hosting Kidder County, who at 2-1 are coming off a pair of games in which they scored 30 points in wins, the most-recent being a 30-28 thriller over Hettinger/Scranton on Sept. 1. Beach lost on the road last week to #1-ranked New Salem-Almont and look like they lost junior starting quarterback Justus Baker for an extended time, so they are currently working out freshman quarterbacks Tucker Madison and Sake Baker under-center in the warmup for Friday’s game.

“This week, we’re just installing some guys in different positions and stuff,” Beach head coach Mike Zier said. “Kidder County comes in with a 2-1 record and they’re a pretty improved team from last year, but I look for us to be pretty competitive on Friday.”

He added, “We’ve only had one home game, but the home support has been really good … we love playing at home and we think that we have one of the best fields in North Dakota with our view and everything, and it’s beautiful down there.”

The Linton/HMB S-Z Lions (3-0) will be at Grant Co./Flasher (2-1) this week, with the Storm rolling in off a 37-14 loss at the #5 South Border Mustangs last week. The Lions have only given up 18 points this season, which could forecast a tough matchup for the Storm.

Speaking of the Mustangs (3-0), they will be at the Hettinger County Huskies, who are coming off their first win of the season over Richardton-Taylor a week ago, 40-14, and the Raiders (0-3) will be hosting Hettinger Scranton (0-3) in another Region 4 showdown between winless teams.

In other action for WDA football, Jamestown is at Grand Forks Central, Southern McLean is at Hazen, Grand Forks River is at Turtle Mountain Community, Williston is at Bismarck St. Mary’s and Bismarck Legacy will be away at West Fargo.

Source: The Dickinson Press