Dakota State Enters Season With Lofty Goals

MADISON, S.D. - After winning eight games last season, the Dakota State football team has its sights set on a conference championship and NAIA playoff berth.  

On the heels of its fourth straight winning season, which hadn't happened in nearly 40 years, Dakota State is ready to take the next step. 

"With years past, we were just trying to be competitive, where now we are competitive and we're in a position where we can do a lot of good things in our conference, and then hopefully someday in the playoffs," Head Coach Josh Anderson said. 

The Trojans have some key pieces to replace from last year's record-setting offense, including quarterback, where Jared Richardson fills the spot vacated by one of the program's all-time greats in Jacob Giles.

"Jared is honestly, very similar to Jacob in the fact that, you know, super smart, very football knowledge savvy, does a lot of good things. Now the thing Jared does a little bit better, he's got a little bit stronger of an arm, can throw the ball deeper," Anderson said. 

Richardson is entering his redshirt junior season and hopes to lean on what he learned from backing-up Giles.

"All of his successes and his mistakes, I just got to kind of take a mental note of that and use that to be the best quarterback I can be," Richardson said.

The offense has holes to fill, but the Trojans' defense is littered with talent, with defensive lineman Curt Boeke headlining the unit.

"In the past, we feel like we've had to outscore opponents in some situations, not all the time, but right now our defense is up to par with where we definitely want our defense to be," Anderson said.

The Trojans enter the season ranked 25th and were picked to finish second in the conference.  While they appreciate the preseason hype, the Trojans have higher goals.

"Our goals are to be the best in the conference and we want to make it to the playoffs and we want to go deep in the playoffs," Anderson said. 

Dakota State opens the regular season Thursday night at rival Dakota Wesleyan.  Kickoff is set for 7:00.

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