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Sports & Rec

Dakota State Football Off To Good Start in 2016; Trojans Moving Up In NAIA Top-25

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Donald Weidler
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Dakota State University

SUGGESTED LEAD:  In South Dakota college football, a lot of attention is paid to the state’s largest schools.  The University of South Dakota and South Dakota State play Division One schedules across the U-S.  But a team from a small school in Madison is having a successful season—and gathering national attention for its play.

Fans started taking Dakota State seriously with the Trojans’ opening game.  They went to Mitchell and took care of a strong Dakota Wesleyan team with a 34-to-30 win.  D-S-U Head Coach Josh Anderson says his work to change the mindset of the Trojan players is paying off.

“Really, it’s been—just a bunch of guys believing in themselves, getting along better than they had in the past.  We’ve got more veteran guys than we’ve had in the past, too, so that helps, too.  You win with seniors and juniors more than freshmen and sophomores, so having guys in the program, and the retention being up, our scholarship money being up—those things help with retention, and then retention helps with experience, and—experience helps with having success on the field,” Anderson says.

Dakota State is ranked 20th in the nation in this week’s N-A-I-A football poll.  That’s an organization made of smaller colleges across the country.  Anderson says, while the four win, one loss record is a good place to be in, several difficult games in the North Star Athletic Association are coming up.

“Truly, year in and year out, Valley City and Dickinson are the tougher teams in our conference.  You know, we just played Jamestown, who was 1-3 when they came to town, and they were incredibly difficult.  You know, we had to scratch and claw the entire way, just to get a victory at all,” the coach says

This week, the Trojans go to Forest City, Iowa, to play Waldorf University.  That trip is followed with games against Valley City State and Dickinson State.