Two-A-Days: Dakota Valley Panthers


Dakota Valley head coach Jeff VanDenHul has been known for his single-wing offense. The premise is simple, run the ball, run the ball again, and run it one more time. Defense know it’s coming, and yet, can’t stop it.

“Fear the wing means you can know our plays, but we’re going to come at you harder and harder every time. You just have to try and stop us,” said senior lineman Tadd Green.

“Most of our offense we go inside, outside game,” senior lineman Mason Harker said. “There’s some passes in there, but once we put the wing out there and the sewer backs out there we destroy.”

It’s that kind of system that allows the Panthers to keep expectations high, even after graduating a player like Nate Rice, who ran for over 1800 yards last season as a quarterback in the single wing, a system that relies on a good offensive line. Thankfully for Dakota Valley, that’s their biggest source of depth this season.

“This is the first year we’ve run out of large, extra-large size jerseys for our kids, so we’ve had to make some changes,” said VanDenHul. “You go on runs, like some years it’s a lot of receivers, some years it’s a lot of running backs, and this year it just happens to be offensive, defensive lineman types.”

With only days until the season, it’s sometimes hard to stay focused after weeks of playing against the same guys, but for Dakota Valley, a week one match up with Madison, the team who beat them in the state championship game two years ago, has them locked in.

“We’re really excited. As sophomores, we lost the championship to Madison, awhile back,” said Green. “So we really basically want to get revenge. And so we’re trying really hard, and we’re really excited to get this opportunity to beat them.”

Dakota Valley football isn’t subtle, nor is it secretive. At it’s best, it wants you to know what it’s going to do. It makes it that much more satisfying when it works, as they try to make the state fear the wing for another year.”

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