Hi-Liner football faced a tough opener on Friday night as they hosted Dickinson, a team with 18 seniors — among them 10 offensive and defensive linemen, and six wide receivers — to Valley City's nine.
Dickinson's senior experience made the difference as the Midgets scored 41 points in the first half en route to a 48-0 win at Hanna Field. The Hi-Liners committed three turnovers — a fumble and two interceptions — on the night.
"We had a veteran team last year. We don't have a veteran team, and you saw some of the mistakes – you're not always happy with them," Hi-Liner Head Coach Scott Roehrich said. "We did know it would be a tough game — big plays killed us, and then we shot ourselves in the foot."
Valley City unleashed senior running back Dustin Lindgren, who finished with 95 yards on 14 carries, in their run-heavy attack, but Dickinson senior linebacker William Schwindt's interception at the Midget 41 killed the drive with 7:58 to go in the first quarter.
Dickinson opened with a quick-paced, no-huddle shotgun formation that highlighted their receiving power, and showed their might with senior wideout Jud Mork's 35-yard touchdown 1:05 into their first possession. The score stood at 6-0 Midgets after junior kicker Tony Kostelecky's point-after attempt bounced backwards off the right upright.
Valley City showed lots of play action with junior quarterback Jared Lentz as they looked to keep Dickinson's defense honest, but their second series ended in a punt.
Dickinson senior wide receiver Dylan Skabo slipped past the Hi-Liner coverage and took a quick, short lob down the right seam 75 yards for a score.
"We certainly showed our inexperience, giving up big plays — not just 20 yards, but for six points," Roehrich said.
Dickinson blocked a Hi-Liner punt at the Valley City 19-yard line with two minutes left in the first quarter. Skabo caught a 26-yard touchdown pass 42 seconds later, and led 20-0 to end the first quarter.
The Midgets dared Valley City to pass, now up three scores, and continued attacking on offense with deep balls to the corners. Junior quarterback Andrew Heckeman took a zone read keeper 30 yards off the right tackle to the house.
The Hi-Liners went for it on fourth down, trailing 27-0, at the Dickinson 45, but Lentz couldn't find a receiver and Dickinson took over with 6:45 to halftime.
Valley City recovered a live ball after a Dickinson pass to the flat appeared incomplete but was ruled alive at the VCHS 38 yard line, but Midgets senior linebacker Levi Jordheim returned a Lentz pass 33 yards for the score with 1:59 remaining.
Lindgren broke through the Midget defense and rumbled 77 yards down the field to the Midgets' 5-yard line, but goal-line drops and near interceptions stalled the drive. Lentz rolled right off of play action from the 5, but was sacked and fumbled. Dickinson senior defensive lineman Blake Vance scooped up the floundering ball and returned it 90 yards down the left sideline for the touchdown.
41-0 was the Midget advantage at halftime.
Dickinson sophomore fullback Michael McChesney scored from a yard out to inflate the lead to the final score of 48-0 with 4:11 left in the fourth quarter.
Next up for Valley City is a game on the road against Dickinson Trinity, Sept. 6 at 4 p.m. Mountain Time (5 p.m. Central) at Dickinson State University.
Dickinson 20 21 0 7 — 48
Valley City 0 0 0 0 — 0
DHS–Judson Mork 35 pass from Andrew Heckaman (PAT failed)
DHS–Dylan Skabo 75 pass from Heckaman (Tony Kostelecky kick)
DHS–Skabo 26 pass from Heckaman (Kostelecky kick)
DHS–Heckaman 30 run (Kostelecky kick)
DHS–Levi Jordheim 33 interception return (Kostelecky kick)
DHS–Blake Vance 90 fumble recovery (Kostelecky kick)
DHS–Michael McChesney 1 run (Kostelecky kick)