DICKINSON, N.D. - Finding a way to replace graduated talent, high school football teams spend a lot of time on that during the summer and in fall camp. Dickinson is not the exception to that rule.
It's another year of filling the gaps for the Dickinson High Midgets. And with some shoes to fill before the start of conference play, the younger players have their chance to play this season.
"It's been different this year where we have some more opportunities for guys to get on the field. We had a big graduating class last year, so there's been those opportunities for those younger guys coming up, so there's been quite a bit of competition in practice, and I think so far we've really come out everyday and competed," says John Tuchsherer, Dickinson Football Head Coach.
"I know at the end of last season knowing that we're graduating a lot of those guys, we kind of had some doubt about the season, but now seeing them actually play, I'm fairly confident we're going to do pretty well," says Trevin Hopfauf, Dickinson senior linebacker.
When a team gets along and works well, they play better football. When the younger squad shows what they've got on the field, it gives these guys the confidence they need for a good season.
"We've got a lot of new players at different positions. We lost a lot of seniors last year, but I think our chemistry is just growing bigger and bigger with every practice, and I think the new guys we have coming in, our underclassmen are really going to fill those spots well," says Shawn Steffan, Dickinson senior quarterback.
"Our biggest hit from those graduating seniors were on our offense and defensive lines. We do have a couple guys returning on our offensive line that started a few games in place of injured guys. Well, the two returning guys that are coming back are Brady Steiner and Dane Haugen. They both started a couple games last year and then also saw some time rotationally on the line. And then some of the guys that I think are going to step in this year are Dillon Brown, he's a senior for us, and then two juniors, Hunter Erhart and Hunter Wilson," says Tushcherer.
But before the Midgets get into conference play, their biggest weak point is their depth.
"Right now our depth, that's one, I guess, would be a concern that we have. We don't have a lot of depth. We're going to have to develop some depth here throughout the season," says Tushcherer.
"Our run game is off and on. And I think as the year goes on we're just going to get better and better just because we have a bunch of new lineman and as the year goes on, they're going to learn new things and its just going to come natural to them," says Steffan.
The Midgets host Fargo North on Friday and they begin WDA play against Bismarck.