Jimmies focused on CometsDistractions are as common to sports as a ball, bat, helmet, net or anything else. Dealing with them is the tricky part.
By: By Dave Selvig, The Jamestown Sun, The Jamestown Sun
Distractions are as common to sports as a ball, bat, helmet, net or anything else.
Dealing with them is the tricky part.
Jamestown College football coach Shawn Frank had that task this week when five players were kicked off the team for their role in a fight Saturday night that resulted in possible charges against one of the players involved. None of the players involved in the incident are on the 2-deep roster.
“It is (a distraction), but nothing that has any bearing in terms of our preparation for the game,” Frank said.
The Jimmies (1-4) head to Mayville State today to face the 3-1 Comets, who are off to a good start, but against far inferior competition to that of the Jimmies. Comets head coach Derek Schlieve was candid as to the reasons for their impressive early run.
“Our team chemistry is better and the discipline we have as a team overall is also improved,” Schlieve said. “But we’re pretty realistic. We’ve played a couple of teams that haven’t been among the elite in the NAIA. … The whole storm, the combination of those things has gotten us off to a fast start.”
The Comets’ three wins are over Dakota College of Bottineau, Trinity Bible (Ellendale) and Presentation College. All three were blowouts. Their lone loss came Week 2 to 21st-ranked Valley City State (38-13). The Jimmies are coming off a 13-10 loss to the Vikings last Saturday in a game they easily could, or maybe should have, won.
Still, Frank said it would be foolish for his team to look past the Comets.
“The bottom line is they’re 3-1. You can only play the teams on your schedule,” Frank said. “I can tell you this, they have a lot of returning pieces, particularly on offense, and they have some very talented players.”
The game will feature two of the top running backs in the nation.
Jamestown College senior Lance Johansen has ran for 329 yards combined the last two games and is up to No. 7 in the NAIA in yards per game at 94. He’ll likely need to carry even a bigger load today with his tag-team partner Matt Mithaugen (58-210) very questionable with a lower-body injury.
“Johansen might be the best running back we see this year,” Schlieve said. “He’s had 80-yard touchdown runs against us the last two years. He’s a tough guy to slow down but we have to do our best to try and bottle him up.”
Frank and the Jimmies will key on Dominique Bradley, who has 295 yards rushing, 95 receiving and 115 return yards to go with his four touchdowns. Bradley will face a JC defense that has allowed just 27 points in its last nine-plus quarters.
“(Bradley) is a very dynamic player. We have to tackle extremely well. He’s a guy that can make you miss and then run for a long time,” Frank said.
It would stand to figure that the Jimmies would play another team with a winning record. The five teams the Jimmies have played own a combined record of 13-8 — Rocky Mountain College (3-2), Concordia (4-0), South Dakota Mines (0-4).
If the Jimmies can get a win today, they’ll have some time to reassess with a bye the following week. Their next game isn’t until Oct. 13 when Dickinson State (1-3) comes to town for homecoming.
“We’re certainly not going to put the cart before the horse in terms of next week. Our focus is on Mayville State and what it’s going to take for us to be successful,” Frank said. “We’re not in a position to do anything other than that.”
Sun sports editor Dave Selvig can be reached at (701) 952-8460 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org