Rockers going for 2nd straight DAC win
By Brad Blume
Sports Information Director
RAPID CITY --- The South Dakota School of Mines football team broke last weekend when they defeated the Dakota State Trojans, 30-28, in Madison. The win also marked the first Dakota Athletic Conference victory that SDM has had in three years.
Now the Hardrockers want another one.
The ‘Rockers are 3-5 on the season while visiting Valley City State comes to O’Harra Stadium Saturday afternoon with a 2-5 overall mark.
A host of Hardrockers join in on tackling a BHSU ball carrier earlier in the season. Photo by Brad Blume
“The Vikings are not a reflective team of their record,” Hardrocker head coach Dan Kratzer said. “They are a very effective offense at moving the football. Their running game is solid and one of the keys of the game for us is to stop the run.”
The Vikings give most of their snaps to running back Anthony Walkine. The junior has tallied 633 yards on the season, averaging 90.4 a game and he also averages 7.7 points a game, making him an effective weapon. He has nine touchdowns this year and is second in the DAC rushing standings.
The Hardrockers’ Joshua Jones is fifth on the conference rushing list with 526 yards and four TDs. The Long Beach, Calif. junior is averaging 65.8 yards on the season and is also capable of catching the ball out of the backfield.
The SDM offense got somewhat of a spark this past weekend as freshman quarterback Trevor Roberts got his first start of the season. The Vancouver, Wash., native, who usually plays as a tight end, ended the game completing 10 of 25 passes for 158 yards with one interception. He also scored a rushing touchdown from a yard out.
“Trevor was a key element in us winning the game (last Saturday),” Kratzer said. “He is making great progress from week to week.”
Kratzer also mentioned that freshman Ed Waliczek gave a great effort against the Trojans, hauling in four passes for 81 yards, while senior Lukas Munsell contributed both on offense, with four catches for 54 yards and also rushed the ball 17 times for 35 yards as well as a touchdown and special teams returning kickoffs.
“Waliczek had some key plays for us,” Kratzer said. “And Lukas is a player that we have built our offense around.”
Along with Waliczek and Roberts, who stepped up to make big contribution as first year players, Kratzer had good things to say about freshman offensive lineman Mark Olson who took over as center for the Hardrockers last Saturday. Olson and Roberts were able to settle in and rectify a problem that plagued Mines earlier in the season (fumbling on the snap exchange). Freshman running back Louie Bruketta also stepped up and delivered a solid performance as a running back and punter Joe Sanchez recorded some good numbers as well (seven punts for 250 yards).
“There were a lot of good freshmen efforts,” Kratzer added.
Defensively too. The Hardrockers were able to stave off a Dakota State rally by denying a two-point conversion at the end of the game Saturday.
“The defense stood up the challenge,” Kratzer said.
There were also the five interceptions they were able to come down with that helped give the offense a short field to work with. Tyrell Anderson, Zach Marcus, Peter Guck and Tom Lunzman all recorded interceptions and Brian Kemnitz also picked off a pass and then returned it six yards for a defensive score.
“All the things that needed to happen in order to get a win happened,” Kratzer said. “A win like that is fantastic for our program.”
Looking at the Hardrocker defense, Anderson is having a phenomenal season leading the team in tackles with 100 total and averaging 12.5 a game. The junior linebacker is currently second in the NAIA in that category as well. Lunzman is another that has done well this season. His INT Saturday brings his season total up to five and is ranked 33rd in the nation for passes defended per game.
Defensively for Valley City, the Vikings are one of those teams that tend to let opponents move between the 20’s, giving up the occasional touchdown, but once the fields shortens up, they tend to put the clamps on.
“Their defense has given up some points this year,” Kratzer said. “They have sort of a bend but don’t break defense.”
The Viking ‘D’ seems to center around senior linebacker Sean Richie. He leads the team with 67 total tackles and is averaging 9.6 each outing. Another defensive Viking standout is freshman Kevin Strand, who is ranked ninth in the DAC for total tackles with 58.
“It’s going to be a good matchup,” Kratzer said about Saturday’s game. “It will be a great opportunity for us to get two DAC wins in a row.”
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