Dawson-Boyd looks to avenge loss to Minneota
MARSHALL -- No team wants to be the one left wondering, 'What if?' on the sidelines after a chance to play for section title. Both the Dawson-Boyd and Minneota football teams know what it's like to watch as the Section 5A trophy goes to another team.
MARSHALL -- No team wants to be the one left wondering, 'What if?' on the sidelines after a chance to play for section title.
Both the Dawson-Boyd and Minneota football teams know what it's like to watch as the Section 5A trophy goes to another team. The Blackjacks lost to Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg on a last-minute touchdown pass in 2007 and the Vikings' hopes were crushed on late touchdown run by the same Fighting Saints last season.
Being the vanquished opponent plays a big role in preparation for today's Section 5A title game, which starts at 2:30 p.m. on the Southwest Minnesota State University campus in Marshall.
"It plays a very huge role," Dawson-Boyd coach Cory Larson noted in an email. "They (the Blackjack players) are not coming into this game with the attitude they are glad to be playing in it. They want to win a section championship. Being so close in 2007 has motivated this group to get back to that game."
Minneota coach Chad Johnston echoed the same comments.
"We've talked about it all year. One of our key motivators was the KMS game," he said. "We remind them how it felt to leave that field after that game and we don't want them to feel that again."
Neither team is a stranger to the other. Both play in the Little Sioux Conference, which Minneota won. They met Oct. 9 in Minneota with the Vikings holding on for a 33-26 win, which effectively clinched the conference crown and a No. 1 seed for the section playoffs.
The Vikings return almost all of their skill-position players from last season. Brandon Anderson leads the team in rushing with approximately 1,400 yards. Sam Derynck, who passed for 236 yards in last year's championship game, has thrown for around 1,400 yards. Tony Noyes is the leading receiver with 600 yards, plus about 450 yards rushing. He scored four touchdowns in Minneota's win over the Blackjacks this year.
"Offensively they force you to defend the whole field both in the run and passing game," Larson wrote. "If you try to take away the perimeter then they exploit you inside and vice versa. They are solid at every position."
The Blackjacks' offense scored the most points in a game against Minneota defense this season. Matt Anderson leads Dawson-Boyd and the area in rushing (1,406 yards) and scoring (170 points). Ryan Swenson, the area's top-rated passer, has passed for 1,114 yards and 13 TDs. Andrew Roiger is the team's leading receiver with 27 catches for 515 yards.
"The key thing defensively against them is to contain Matt Anderson," Johnston said. "One of the things we do well is to keep him inside and not let him get outside. But we have to not let Ryan Swenson get hot against us either."
The game could be a shootout or it could be a defensive battle. Minneota is the highest-scoring team in Class A with 55 points-per-game. Dawson-Boyd is third at 40 ppg. The Vikings defense allows just eight points-per-game and the Blackjacks 11.
One thing is certain. One team will feel vindicated and the other will face another season of being the one left out.