Tough week for the 'Dogs
03/21/03 Loyal Dog
What a difference a week makes. Several key personnel loses dealt a major blow to the Rapid City Red Dogs as they were on the road vs. The Sioux City Bandits. Now I’m not saying that these factors were the reason we lost, just that they were factors. The news of the week was never reported locally, which left many Red Dogs fans wondering “where is Brian Mills” as we listened to a radio feed from Sioux City last Saturday night. The fact is, Brian Mills has retired. To many hits taken, to many drives into the carpet. He has decided to give his body a rest. Brian, we will miss you.
Another key lose occurred during the game when #77 Chad Carpenter was on the receiving end of a hit that left his neck broken. I am told that he is recovering, and very fond of his meds. He is expected to be gone for at least two months, hopefully no more. Chad, we will miss you.
The big news of this game vs. Lincoln, on Friday night at 7:30 pm in Rapid City, is the retirement of yet another Dog. Eric Rice, our beloved 5’11” 230 lbs defensive lineman from Adams State College, will be playing his final game for the Red Dogs. He has moved onward in his career, as he is leaving for Colorado to accept a head coach position for a high school football team. Eric, we will miss you.
Enough of this sad, tear jerkin’, country-music sounding blah-blah-blah. Let’s talk about what’s new. Mario Patton has returned, you may remember him from the Machine, to fill the gap as best he can that is left by Mills, and since McKinnley is still healing a broken leg, he is needed. I’m not saying that the talent that we have, Speed, Perez, and Jones to name a few, can’t handle the job, I’m just saying that we need all that we can get. No word on if he’ll suit up for Friday night or not, but one can hope. Mario, you are welcomed back.
Another arrival to the roster is an old face as well, or should I say, an experienced leg. Aaron Turner will be kicking for us Friday, as Dustin Bakowski has been signed to Bismarck this week. Aaron kicked for us before, and all Red Dogs die-hards know what an asset he has been in the past. Also, we all know that the kicking game has been struggling in past weeks, o.k. let’s be honest, all weeks. It wasn’t that Dustin couldn’t kick, the guy had plenty of leg, he just couldn’t make clutch kicks. It’s important to your team and the fans that pay to watch that you can handle a minimal distraction at home trying to give your team a one point lead against a cross state rival. If you can’t do that, you leave a lot of questions of how you can perform on the road with thousands of maniacs screaming your head off as soon as you step on the field. No disrespect meant to Dustin, the dude just needs more experience. After which I see him as a quality kicker in this league. Yes Dustin, after only three games, you will be missed as well.
So we lost to Sioux City, big deal. You can’t win them all, well most of the time. We all know some teams have occasionally. Although they are few and far between. Rapid City was 2-0 two seasons ago before losing a game on the road and still finished 13-1. Here’s to a repeat. I spoke with Coach Magic about the final 7 seconds of that game and posed the question, “if you are in that situation again, 2nd down, opponents 23 yard line, 7 seconds to go, down by 3, would you choose to kick instead?” To which he answered with a no. If he had it to do over, or to do again in the future, he would take the shot. I greatly respect that man, and not because he could squash my head with his huge hands, but because he has resolve. He would do the same thing I would. If you have the QB with the arm, which Bryant has plenty of, and talented receivers like Speed and Perez, you go for the win on the road. Save the overtimes for the home field, and even then you don’t want them if you can avoid them. Coach Magic has come a long way from his first year. Coach Magic, you are loved.
Now it’s home against Lincoln, a 0-2 team with plenty of talent, even though their record states otherwise. The Dogs are not taking the Capitols lightly, be sure of that. I expect this to be a great game, but I don’t think the Caps will score much on this defense. Eric Rice has vowed to go out fighting, we have a returning kicker and wide out with something to prove for starting jobs, and we could always dedicate this game to Chad and Brian both. Lincoln, you will be crushed, pounded, and stomped on
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