Blue Jays dialed in for Dickinson but team has to respond
The Jamestown High School football team is scheduled to take on Dickinson on Friday.
JAMESTOWN — It's going to be a big one on Friday night in Jamestown.
The Blue Jays are slated to take on the Class A West Region's No. 2, Dickinson at 7 p.m. at Hansen Stadium. The Jays are 4-1 entering the matchup while the Midgets stand at 3-2 overall.
"We need to play like we are capable of playing," JHS head football coach Bill Nelson said. "We've got to respond to some adversity this week."
Dickinson has only faced one of the four West Region teams so far this season. The Midgets dismantled Watford City 42-7 on Sept. 9.
After two West Region matchups, Jamestown is standing at 1.000 in the conference having defeated Turtle Mountain 56-12 and Watford 47-0.
If Bill Nelson's flock comes out on top of the matchup, the Jays will clinch the Class A, West Region crown for the second-straight year.
In the event that the Midgets get a win on the Blue Jays' turf, Dickinson will claim the regular season title and will host the first-round playoff game in late October.
Simply put, it's a big game — for more than one reason.
"It's going to be physical," Nelson said. "It's always physical when you play Dickinson. We need to be ready for a dog fight."
Jamestown and Dickinson haven't met since the 2021 season opener when Jamestown defeated the Midgets 19-7.
The Midgets are returning their entire offensive line from last season, allowing space for some of their newer skill-position guys to move the ball down field.
"When you watch film on them, there's no secret to what they want to do," Nelson said. "They want to run the ball. They have their tendencies just like we do but you are never going to throw out your entire playbook."
Overall in the 30 contests, the two teams have played against each other, Jamestown is winning out 17-13.
But as any coach will tell you, teams have got to be prepared because past records mean nothing in the long run.
Jamestown got reminded of that last week.
The Jays dropped 14-13 to Wahpeton, a team they have beat 15 times across 22 games. It was the first time the Jays had dropped a game since Oct. 8, 2021, when Mandan won it by a last-second field goal.
Last week's loss was largely due to miscues in all three facets of the game that kept giving the Huskies chances to move the ball or regain possession.
"We had a lot of little mistakes," Nelson said. "Wahpeton played well, they deserved to win the football game, we did not deserve to win the football game but we are a lot better of a football team than we showcased."
Wahpeton was just 2-2 going into last week. The Huskies suffered a 44-0 shutout by Grand Forks Red River, a team Jamestown beat handily in the first game of the 2022 season.
"It wasn't any one thing," Nelson said of what could have contributed to the loss. "It was just a mirage of things that didn't go our way."
Jamestown gave up its most yards of the season last week, largely because of the simple miscues, like four encroachment calls on the defense.
Those miscues aren't expected to be a problem this week.
"We have had a good few days of practice — the kids have been really dialed in," Nelson said. "One loss doesn't define you but how you respond — that tells a lot.
"Friday night can't get here soon enough because we want to see how much this season means to us. Plain and simple. These guys now know that everyone's going to come swinging and Dickinson's going to be no different."