Beulah and Dickinson Trinity are two teams that keep scoreboard operators busy.
Beulah, the No. 4-ranked team in Class A football, is averaging 48.3 points per game, while Trinity is scoring at a 33.6 clip.
However, it wouldn’t be surprising if tonight’s Region 4 clash between the two teams turned out to be a defensive battle. Both the Miners and Titans have allowed only 17 points this season.
“We think it’s going to be a low-scoring game. The points are going to be hard to come by,” said Beulah coach Jim Dooley, whose team carries a 6-0 record into tonight’s game at Dickinson’s Hank Biesiot Activities Center. “The team that makes the fewest mistakes and manages to make a few big plays along the way will more than likely win this one. It’s going to be a grind-it-out kind of game.”
The Miners are 5-0 in region play and can clinch the loop championship with a victory. The Titans are 4-1.
Beulah has pitched three shutouts, thus far. In their other three games, the Miners allowed six points to Garrison-Max, eight to Southern McLean, and three to Heart River.
After losing their season opener to Bowman County 15-6, the Titans have won four straight games – three by shutout. The only points scored against Trinity during that stretch came courtesy of a late safety in its 54-2 victory over Southern McLean.
“Both teams have good athletes on defense. They play smart and do a nice job reading things and getting to the ball,” Dooley said. “The offenses have had lots of success, but they’re definitely going to be tested on Friday.”
The Miners expected to be stingy on defense this season. They returned eight full-time defensive starters, plus several other experienced players from a 2016 team that went 9-2 in Class AA play. Leading the 2017 edition are lineman Dillon Schramm (40 tackles, 12 for a loss, 6 quarterback sacks), linebacker Mikey Morris (37 tackles), LB Kaleb McGraw (36 tackles, 9 for a loss), LB Tyler Erickson (34 tackles), LB Jace Lee (31 tackles), cornerback Dawson Bieber (26 tackles), and lineman Korey Rueb (25 tackles).
Dooley said the Miners are deep at all three levels of defense.
“One thing that really stands out is our depth. We have six or seven kids we can play on the line, six at linebacker and six in the secondary,” he said. “We have good size and good speed, and we’ve been good against the run and the pass. But we haven’t played against a team that has the ability Trinity has.”
The Titans, who rolled past Killdeer 33-0 last Friday night, have speed to burn at the skill positions. Running back Kaden Kuntz is one of the top sprinters in Class B track and field. Wide receiver Noah Sickler finished second in the Class B 400 last spring, and quarterback Aric Knopik was the third-place finisher in the 110-meter hurdles.
“They have a lot of speed … a lot of big-play ability,” Dooley said. "We have to be disciplined and tackle well. We can't allow them to get into an open field."
Trinity is also quick and aggressive on defense.
“They’re tough to throw on because of the speed they have at linebacker and in the secondary,” Dooley said. “They force mistakes and from what we’ve seen, they’ve been able to turn a lot of those mistakes into points.”
Offensively, Morris and Derek Ferebee, who share quarterback duties, have combined for 1,810 yards rushing, passing, and receiving. Morris and Ferebee have 624 and 584 yards rushing, respectively, and Ferebee has 330 passing.
The Miners have other weapons in Erickson (360 yards rushing), Aaron Vallejo (339 yards rushing) and Mason Dolbec (12 receptions, 181 yards).
“We have a lot of guys we can go to,” Dooley said. “We're pretty balanced. Four different guys have led us in rushing, and we’ve been able to throw the ball effectively.”
Beulah will close out the regular season Oct. 13 against Bowman County, which is 3-2 in the region. Trinity’s final regular season game is against Garrison-Max.