Jimmies close season against No. 21 Beavers
Jamestown College hit rock bottom the last time they saw Minot State. On Sept. 26 at Herb Parker Stadium, the Jimmies turned the ball over five times and saw a 7-3 second-quarter lead crumble into a 33-7 loss. That was 42 days ago, however, and s...
Jamestown College hit rock bottom the last time they saw Minot State.
On Sept. 26 at Herb Parker Stadium, the Jimmies turned the ball over five times and saw a 7-3 second-quarter lead crumble into a 33-7 loss.
That was 42 days ago, however, and since then the Jimmies are perfect.
On Sunday, the two teams meet again at the Fargodome in the inaugural DAC Bowl, playing the marquee game of the day at 4 p.m., with the Jimmies looking to end the season on what once appeared impossible -- a six-game winning streak.
"We got into a situation where we were like that old dog that gets kicked. Sometimes it lays in the corner, and sometimes it comes out and bites you," coach Bud Etzold. "Fortunately for us, we started biting back after getting kicked around a little bit and that's what we were looking for all along."
Over the last five games, the Jimmies have outscored their opponents by 115 points (222-102) or about 16 touchdowns.
Quarterback Mike Beehler leads the DAC in total offense (271 yards per game). He's been protected well and has gotten a bunch of people involved. Matt Wilson is second in the league in receptions (50), while Max Boe's 10 touchdowns are three more than anybody else. Casey Hausauer and Josh Ewalt rank in the top 16 in yards per game, and what's more, all four will be back next year. As will freshman running backs Lance Johansen and Matt Mithaugen, both of whom continue to get better each week.
Defensively, the Jimmies have improved as well. They're allowing 20 points per game in the winning streak.
Dustin Erbes is tied for the DAC lead in interceptions (4) and seventh in tackles per game (9.2). He's right behind teammate Mike Sandness (9.3), although the linebacker from LaMoure has a sore ankle and is questionable against the Beavers. Drew Baier and Tyler Wibstad anchor a defensive line that had three sacks and six tackles for loss last week against Valley City State.
"Football is the ultimate team game. You have to have balance on both sides of the ball," Etzold said. "It's like when you go to the state basketball tournament and a team has one guy averaging 30 points per game. There's a lot of pressure on that kid to produce.
"Our goal is have a number of guys that can be the impact player of the week. We want everyone we throw out there to have confidence they can get the job done."
Both defenses figure to be tested tomorrow.
The Jimmies are No. 1 in total offense and No. 3 in scoring, while the Beavers are No. 2 in yardage and scoring. The pristine playing conditions of the Fargodome also favor the high-powered offenses.
Weather conditions Sunday are expected to be conducive to outdoor football, but showcasing the league indoors in Fargo has its benefits.
"It should be an exciting atmosphere," Etzold said. "The Vikings don't play on Sunday so that might be another draw for some and anything that promotes our league is a good thing.
"For us, we get to go over the day before and our fans always travel great. For the kids whose parents don't live in the area, they can fly in and be a half-mile from the game site. It's a pretty good deal for everybody."
Etzold's primary concern is with the opponent. The 7-2 Beavers have spent the entire season in the top 25. They're currently 21st off their loss to Dickinson State last Saturday. Their only other loss was way back in August to D-II Bemidji State.
"Having played everybody position by position they have the best overall talent. They have all the weapons you'd ever want," Etzold said. "But that makes it exciting, too. We know we're playing a darn good football team and we know we're going to have to play darn well to win."
Unlike the first time the teams played, the Jimmies have learned to deal with the good as well as the bad inevitable in any game.
"I think we've matured and become a more resilient team to where if things don't go well early, we're going to be OK," Etzold said. "It's all a learning process and to our kids' and coaches' credit, they stayed positive and kept working at it. We're playing our best football at the end of the season and from our perspective that's really what we wanted all along."
Sun sports writer Dave Selvig can be reached at (701) 952-8460 or by e-mail at email@example.com