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Dixon looks to take the next step in the Big Northern

Published: Aug. 20, 2021 at 7:56 PM CDT
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DIXON, Ill. (WIFR) - Dixon has been known to be a team in the middle of the pack. The dukes are ready to break from the monotony and take the next step in the big northern conference.

“We played four games last year. We went 1-3 and the most we lost by was five points.”

Dixon is the living embodiment of football being a game of inches. The Dukes won in the final seconds against Stillman Valley, then turned around and lost the season finale in the final minute against North Boone. Head coach Jared Shaner says he could pinpoint a few plays that would have been the difference.

“We want to flip that script around this year,” said Shaner. “We want to be on the positive side obviously more so than not making those plays.”

A losing season on paper for a team not used to losing.

“This team understands, take out the little short season last year where there was no playoffs, Dixon’s been to the playoffs for six straight years,” explained Shaner. “I truly believe our group of seniors doesn’t want to be the one that ends that streak.”

“Obviously we always want to win state, but I think if we take it one game at a time, that’ll be perfect,” said senior Justin Dallas. “Because we don’t want to get too far ahead of ourselves and end up falling on our face.”

Dixon returns 16 seniors this year after losing just five in the spring. All-conference quarterback Jacob Gaither didn’t take a snap off for the first three games of the spring.

“We didn’t finish games,” said Gaither. “We started out games winning, most of them and then we just gave it away in the fourth quarter. This year it’s more about going all four quarters.”

Since joining the Big Northern Conference in 2015, Dixon has not won the BNC, but the Dukes are ready to take over the throne in the conference.

“Bringing it hard every game. No off games, bringing it all four quarters every game and just limiting our mistakes from last year to this year. That’d be big for us.”

Dixon will try to win its first conference championship in football since 2001. The Dukes kick off the season next Friday at home against Oregon.

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