Hardrockers take great strides in 2013
Release Date Wednesday, November 20, 2013

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 defend.

“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 1999

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 Hardrockers.

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.”

 

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