Oct. 24—Dickinson State were facing their biggest test to date on Saturday as they ventured across the state to take on the Valley City State Vikings in a matchup of two teams with conference championship aspirations in the North Star Athletic Association.
The Blue Hawks extended their win streak to five games with a 14-7 win over the Vikings on the road in a rare defensive battle for DSU (5-0, 5-2). Points and yards were hard to come by but the Blue Hawks needed only a couple of big plays to kickstart their offense.
On their first touchdown drive, coming in the third quarter down 7-0, DSU quarterback Drew Boedecker found wide receiver Kaden Kuntz for a 43-yard gain after the Vikings jumped offsides and gave the Blue Hawks a free play.
The play set up DSU at the eight yard line and two plays later, running back Riley Linder ran in from four yards out to tie the game 7-7.
The Blue Hawks would take the lead early in the fourth quarter, helped by another long reception from Kuntz. This time he had a 49-yard catch to get DSU over midfield and threaten to score.
"We got them to jump offsides for the free play, Drew did a good job of getting it up to Kaden," Dickinson State head football coach Pete Stanton said. "He had another big catch to set up the second touchdown. Two big plays that helped us."
Five plays later, Boedecker snuck into the end zone on a QB sneak for a 14-7 lead with 12:02 left in the game.
Despite the offense having it's worst game of the season in terms of points scored, the defense picked up the slack to hold their opponent to single digits for the second time this season.
VCSU (4-2, 6-2) had one last opportunity to tie it up, but the Blue Hawk defense forced four straight incompletions on the Vikings final drive with under two minutes to go to seal the victory.
Boedecker did not have his best game, throwing for 183 yards and four interceptions, the second time he has thrown that many in a game this year. Wide receiver Tyger Frye, who had at least six catches in every game this year, was held to five receptions for 39 yards.
Vikings sophomore linebacker Jahidi West, who had four interceptions on the year, added three more to his season total Saturday.
"We had a hard time getting things going, especially in the first half," Stanton said. "We had only 65 yards at halftime and were never in a good rhythm at all. Turned the ball over a couple times, those are things that hurt us."
Kuntz was one of the few bright spots on offense, despite recording just two catches. Both of his receptions extended both of the scoring drives, totaling 92 yards. Both DSU possessions that reached the red zone ended in touchdowns.
Defensively they held the Vikings to 130 yards passing to an offense that averages 237 on the season. Despite losing the turnover battle 4-1, they allowed just one score off a turnover and held VCSU to their lowest point total this season.
Defensive lineman Krew Mathern had a standout performance, registering a team-high 13 tackles with four tackles for a loss and two sacks.
"We were outstanding on defense all game long," Stanton said. "Really played well and a great defensive effort."
The loss dropped the Vikings to third in the conference, behind leaders DSU and second-place Waldorf (4-1, 6-1). The Blue Hawks won't face Waldorf until the final week of the regular season.
"Winning is hard and it was a tough one to win," Stanton said. "It doesn't matter if it's by seven or 27 it's a huge win for us and we earned it. Obviously it sets us up well but we'll worry about that later."
DSU — 0 0 7 7 14
VCSU — 0 7 0 0 7
VCSU — Justice Bice 5 yard run (extra point good), 7-0
DSU — Riley Linder 4 yard run (extra point good), 7-7
DSU — Drew Boedecker 1 yard run (extra point good), 14-7
Passing — Boedecker 12-20, 183, 0 TD 4 INT
Rushing — Linder 15-61, 1 TD; Alec Lovegren 3-17; Boedecker 12-12 1 TD; Braden Zuroff 1-4; Kaden Kuntz 1-1; Tyger Frye 1-0.
Receiving — Kuntz 2-92; Frye 5-39; Conor McCarvel 2-21; Linder 2-18; Galen Brantley 1-13.