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Montana-laden Dickinson State lone road team to win in NAIA opening round

Posted at 6:56 PM, Nov 24, 2023

BILLINGS — Pete Stanton’s Dickinson State football team is playing its best at the right time.

The Blue Hawks have ripped off 10 consecutive wins after a season-opening loss at Rocky, including a 35-28 win at Montana Tech in the opening round of the NAIA playoffs. Dickinson was the lone road team to win in the opening round.

“Great win for our guys. We shouldn't have been on the road, but we were, and it made it even better. Our guys did a great job of battling," Dickinson State head coach Pete Stanton said. :"We had a few woes defensively, but really controlled the whole game offensively running the ball and staying balanced."

Dickinson did it behind a stout running attack that racked up over 200 yards against the Tech defense. They were able to continually move the chains and extend drives, especially down the stretch.

“We've been good all year in the offensive line and just did a great job moving their front. Braden Zuroff is a heck of a back and we have a great trio of wide receivers along with our quarterback and tight ends," Stanton said. "Just did a great job of moving the football at will and controlling the clock in the second half, and I thought that was a key for us."

We know Stanton, a Baker native, loves to recruit guys from the Treasure State. While there aren’t many Montanans showing up in the box score offensively for this year’s edition of the Blue Hawks, the defense is littered with them.

“We have over 50 guys from Montana on our roster and couldn't be more proud of them and the job they do for us," Stanton said. "They're a big core of our team and a big part of our program and we couldn't be happier with our guys from Montana."

“Before I even got to college, I already knew half the team damn near it felt like," defensive back and Wibaux graduate Tel Lunde said. "It's huge. We've grown together since our freshman year and now most of us here are in our senior year. It's all about the process. Coach always talks about the process and this is huge."

Stanton and Dickinson will hit the road again in the round of 16 as they travel to No. 2 Grand View in Des Moines, Iowa. That game will kick on Saturday at 11 a.m. Mountain Time.