RAPID CITY - - The South Dakota School of Mines football
program soared to new heights during the 2013 season marking the team’s first
year as an NCAA Division II member. Under the helm of head coach Stacy Collins,
the years also denotes the program’s first winning season in 28 years. He is in
his second season at SD Mines, and making a positive impact on campus and in
the Rapid City community.
“I am very pleased with how the season unfolded and with the
players and assistant coaches for their hard work and determination to earn the
first winning season in 28 years,” Collins said.
The Hardrockers finished the season 6-4 after beating
University of Nebraska Kearney (Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic
Association), to close out the season. This was a defining moment for the
‘Rockers to go above .500 and end the year on a positive note.
Other significant moments during the Hardrockers’ season
were wins against Div. II opponents: Black Hills State Yellow Jackets and
William Jewell College Cardinals.
A turning point for the ‘Rockers came early in the season
when SD Mines suffered a loss to Colorado School of Mines, but immediately
bounced back to defeat the BHSU out of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference
(RMAC). The victory also brought the Homestake Trophy back to SD Mines.
A crucial game on the schedule for the Hardrockers was traveling
to William Jewell College in Missouri. In a test of character and ability to
overcome adversity, the team earned a very tough win against the Cardinals.
William Jewell is in the Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC).
“There are three games that really define our season,”
Collins said. “The first being our win against Black Hills taking home the Homestake
Trophy. Next was our win against William Jewell, which was an important win for
us establishing our record at 4-1. Lastly, finishing out the season beating
University of Nebraska-Kearney was special to end with a winning season.”
Offensively, two quarterbacks (Evan Sanders and Ben Broeker)
split time playing extremely well, making the pair a threat and difficult to
“Those two set their egos aside and did what was best for the
team by splitting time,” Collins said. “Both have different strengths giving us
the advantage of an increased number of packages. Broeker is a true pocket
passer and very athletic adding an element of the run game and Sanders has
tremendous accuracy throwing the football.”
The team set the school records for total points in a
season, scoring 386, breaking the previous record of 321 in 2009 and also a new
record for total offense in a season with 4,268 yards, breaking the previous record of 3,760 yards in
More standouts on offense were: seniors Derek Graves,
Marshall Davis and Chris Sawdey. Graves, a wide receiver, had a tremendous
senior year with 10 touchdown receptions. Davis, also a wide receiver, had a
great senior year and was very consistent in performance and possessed big play-making
abilities. Sawdey, a running back, was a physical and consistent runner for the
On the defensive side of the ball, the team ranked in the
Top 10 nationally in Div. II football for turnovers caused. Standout players
were Josh Thomas and Traevon Beddard. Thomas was awarded defensive player of
the year honors by his team and tallied 19 pass breakups. Beddard recorded four
picks on the season.
The team was very solid on special teams. The Hardrockers’
punter, John Keating, averaged 39.4 yards per punt and executed two fake punts.
The placekicker, Devon Jones, led the team in points and set the school record
for most points recorded by a kicker with 72 points. He was 10 for 13 in field
goal attempts and 42 for 44 in point after touchdowns. Jones also set a record
for the longest field goal at 53 yards.
When the Hardrockers are not competing on the gridiron, the
football team is very active in the community working towards making a difference,
building relationships and positively affecting change in the Black Hills area.
The team does a great job giving back to the community in which they reside,
completing eight service projects a year.
SD Mines put on an annual blood drive, was involved with SD
Child Identification Program (SDCHIP), read to children at local elementary
schools, run NFL youth flag football and volunteered man power to clean up the
outside of Rapid City Regional hospital and SD Mines campus after the major
winter storm in October.
“I am excited about where the program is at,” said Coach
Collins. “I am looking forward to being in the Great Northwest Athletic
Conference (GNAC) to compete for a conference championship next year.”