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In his 51 years of coaching high school football in South Dakota, Tom Long knows all too well the strains that come with the job. But through all the trials and tribulations, Long said coaches are more critical of themselves than people from the outside. "I think that there's people that are critics of what you do," Long said. "But I think you are your own worst critic. So you kind of go home at night or after a game or a season and you kind of self evaluate and I always thought, 'What did I do wrong and what did they do right?' "
TYNDALL—It was only fitting that Bryce Scieszinski sealed Friday night's game with a defensive play. The Bon Homme senior quarterback/defensive back batted away a pass with under 1 minute left to lift the Cavaliers to a 6-0 defensive slugfest in Tyndall. "Our theme of the year has been stick together and finish together and that's we did tonight," Scieszinski said moments after the game-winning play.
There was no shortage of big plays at the Dakota Wesleyan University football scrimmage on Thursday. Ex-DWU basketball player Brandon Boggs hauled in a pair of acrobatic touchdown catches, including one late to secure a 21-20 win for the White Team over the Blue Team at the DWU practice fields. The 6-foot-4 Boggs hauled in both passes from Austin Buysse and both were in the corner of the end zone.
WINNER—As scary as it seems, there's a group of motivated Winner Warriors that have been waiting in the wings. Winner rolled to its second straight Class 11B state title last season by outscoring its opponents 610-35. The Warriors, who have won 24 straight games, graduated 18 seniors and nine all-state players from last season's dominating team. But now the returners are ready to make their own impact on the Winner football program.
There's plenty of new and old faces making plays in fall camp for the Dakota Wesleyan University offense. The Tiger football team returns the reigning Great Plains Athletic Conference offensive player of the year in quarterback Dillon Turner. And the dual-threat signal caller has plenty of weapons at his disposal as he looks to build on last year's 4,000-yard-plus season. "Dillon is one of the best running quarterbacks in the NAIA," DWU running back Luke Loudenburg said. "That opens up stuff for us, too."
It's easy to be heard if you're a member of the Dakota Wesleyan University football team. The Tigers have a 16-player Leadership Council with the purpose of players voicing their opinions to the coaches. "It's a good thing to have," DWU senior offensive lineman Levi Rozeboom said. "You can tell that the team is better from it. It just gives our team a sense of direction." The players chosen to the council are selected by teammates. The council members will often be approached by teammates if they have an idea or what to change something.
Concussions and injuries are a part of football, but Dakota Wesleyan University is taking the necessary precautions to prevent those from happening in practice. The DWU football team is wearing protective padding on the outside of their helmets to help eliminate concussions. "Safety is a big thing," DWU coach Ross Cimpl said. "We have got a lot of guys and we have a lot of depth and that's great, but we need those guys to be healthy and obviously, unfortunately, you have injuries in football. It's kind of the nature of the game."
Spots are up for grabs along Dakota Wesleyan University's first line and last line of defense. The DWU football team graduated four All-Great Plains Athletic Conference players from last season's unit, which ranked sixth in the nine-team league last year in total defense. "All those guys were very big factors for our defense," all-conference junior linebacker Dillon Rork said after Wednesday's practice at the DWU practice fields. "But we brought in a lot of freshmen. We have a lot of returning guys and it's a competition at every position—offensively and defensively."
Dakota Wesleyan University and Dakota State University will kickoff South Dakota's college football season. And will do so in front of a regional audience. The 72nd annual in-state rivalry game is scheduled for Aug. 24 at 7 p.m. in Madison. The heated contest is not just the first college football game in South Dakota, but it's also the first to be aired live on Midco Sports Network this season.
Koln Oppold’s familiarity with current players on the Dakota Wesleyan University men’s basketball team helped in his decision to join the Tigers. The Sioux Falls Christian basketball player recently committed to DWU, citing his relationships with coach Matt Wilber and players on the team for leading to his decision.