By Brad Blume
Sports Information Director
South Dakota School of Mines
RAPID CITY --- The South Dakota School of Mines football team will make one final trip to North Dakota for the 2006 season, taking on the Valley City State Vikings Saturday afternoon.
The Hardrockers enter the game after a disappointing loss to Dakota State last weekend, 31-7. The Trojans got rolling with a first-quarter touchdown, followed by a score off a blocked field goal attempt in the second quarter that gave the visiting team a lot of momentum. They used that momentum to take a 24-0 halftime advantage and cruised for the win in the second half. On the plus side, the Hardrockers were much improved in the second half of that game, holding Dakota State to one touchdown and the home team also managed to break a three-game scoring drought, moving the ball efficiently and getting in for six points at the end of the game on a 15-yard TD strike from quarterback Jason Beilstein to wide receiver Travis Hardee.
“We need to be able to move the ball like we did last week. If we get 14 first downs against Valley City, we can stay in the ball game,” said Hardrocker head coach Dan Kratzer comparing the coming game to the previous played. “We just can’t turn the ball over at all either.”
SDM tallied 218 yards of total offense, which was much improved while DSU had just over 300 net yards. The loss kept the ‘Rockers winless in the conference with a 0-4 mark (1-6 overall).
Valley City is also coming off a disappointing loss, falling to Minot State, 19-16, last Saturday. After winning a share of the Dakota Athletic Conference title a year ago, the Vikings find themselves in the middle of the standings with a 2-2 DAC record.
“Valley City is a pretty good football team. They’ve had some real battles with people --- and they have been defensive battles,” Kratzer said. “I don’t think they are as good on offense as they have been in the past, but their defense has been something that tends to bend but not break. People haven�����t scored a lot of points on them, but people have had a lot of yardage on them.”
That was certainly true in Minot’s case last week. The Beavers had accumulated almost 400 yards of total offense and weren’t even able to put 20 points on the scoreboard.
“Their program has been pretty good. They are a playoff caliber type of team, it just depends on how they score and how often they score,” Kratzer said. “A couple of losses could have just as easily been a couple of wins for them this year.”
Kratzer said the heart of the team lies in a couple of All American defensive players --- Joe Maresh (defensive end) and Chauncey Calhoun (defensive back/ safety).
Calhoun has four interceptions on the season, returning three for touchdowns and accumulating 193 yards in the process. Maresh leads the team in sacks with 6.5, has 11.5 tackles for a loss along with a blocked kick and forced fumble.
On the offensive side of the ball, its quarterback Jason Beilke that is the key, and if he goes so does the rest of the Valley City ‘O’. The 6-5 250 pound sophomore has seven touchdown passes on the season and is 111 of 216 on passing for over 1,200 yards. He has thrown nine interceptions this year.
Another key player to the Viking offense is running back Ryan Drinkwater. The 5-foot-11-inch senior was leading the Dakota Athletic Conference in scoring (as of Oct. 14) with eight touchdowns for 590 net yards.
Despite their offensive capabilities, the Vikings rely on the defensive unit and Kratzer feels his team can be competitive if they pick their spots.
“They are teams that, defensively, are going to give you some opportunities to score – and not because they are poor defense, because they are a bend but don’t break defense,” he said.
After the improved play in the second half of the Dakota State game, Kratzer said he has a renewed confidence in his team.
“What our team has to do is to learn how to (play hard) for four quarters. We intend to do that from here on out. Our approach is that we have a three-game season left and we are going to attack those games like it is a new season for us and we want these seniors to go out as winners.”
And as Saturday approaches, Mines has a few weapons of their own. Six different Hardrockers have found the end zone this year with Hardee leading the way with two receiving TDs. John Henderson has broke a few long runs this year and the freshman from Long Beach Calif., is leading the rushing game with 355 yards while Kyle Krajewski is second on the list with 134 net yards. Junior Lukas Munsell leads the receiving unit with 30 catches for 301 yards and a touchdown and QB Beilstein is 75-138 for 753 yards and five touchdowns passes.
Click tabs to swap between content that is broken into logical sections.
The work from which this copy was made did not include a formal copyright notice. This work may be protected by U. S. copyright law (Title 17, United States Code), which governs reproduction, distribution, public display, and other uses of protected works. Uses may be allowed with permission from the copyright holder, if the copyright on the work has expired, or if the use is fair use or within another legal exemption. The user of this work is responsible for compliance with the law.
Devereaux Library. South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.