Blackjacks' defense to be tested against KMS' potent offense
The last time the Dawson-Boyd football team was in the Section 5A championship game, this year's seniors were in the eighth grade. That was 2003, when the Blackjacks lost to perennial Class A powerhouse Wabasso, 30-19. The only ones who remember ...
The last time the Dawson-Boyd football team was in the Section 5A championship game, this year's seniors were in the eighth grade.
That was 2003, when the Blackjacks lost to perennial Class A powerhouse Wabasso, 30-19.
The only ones who remember what it was like to be in that position are the coaches, led by co-head coaches Phil Lieneman and Cory Larson.
"Now, as a coaching staff, we know that it's not enough to play in the Fargodome, it's to take us to the next level," said Lieneman of how the attitude has changed at Dawson-Boyd.
The Blackjacks take on Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg for the Section 5A title at 5:30 p.m. today at the Fargodome. The winner will face the Section 8A champion on Nov. 8 in the state quarterfinals at the Fargodome.
The players have developed along with that philosophy. The Blackjacks are now a team that adapts to the situation. When an opponent wants to stuff the run, Dawson-Boyd is more than happy to pass the ball behind senior quarterback Josh Aakre. He ranks third in the area in quarterback efficiency with at 106.50, is second in passing yards with 1,423 and has thrown for an area-high 21 touchdowns.
Sophomore running back Matt Anderson leads the team in rushing with 764 yards and eight touchdowns, which also proves the Blackjacks can pound the ball when the defense would rather drop back into coverage.
"This is one of the years that we are pleased with because we have success running the ball and we can also pass the ball," Lieneman said.
The Dawson-Boyd defense has been stingy all season, with one exception. The Blackjacks gave up 41 points to MACCRAY in a 50-41 win. Other than that, the defense hasn't allowed more than 13 points in a game.
"We've heard this whole week that KMS is going to put up a lot of points," said Lieneman. "As defensive coordinator, I take offense to that. Our defense is a lot tougher than everyone thinks it is."
Offensively, the teams are nearly even when it comes to scoring. Dawson-Boyd averages over 37 points a game while KMS is just under that mark. Lieneman said that means the Blackjacks will need to control the clock.
"We need to make sure we have the ball more than KMS does. We need to get them to punt the ball," he said. "We also need to not make mistakes on offense."