The Dakota Indians are looking to have a big year in 2019. Lying in the way once again are the teams that have given Dakota the most fits in recent years, the Forreston Cardinals and Lena-Winslow Panthers. Dakota did prove they could play with state championship caliber teams with close losses to eventual state champion Forreston in the quarterfinals, and Class 2A semifinalist EPC in week 8, who had only lost to the 2A champs by a score.
Coach Joe Free is entering his 4th year at the helm, and he is bringing Dakota back to prominence as a conference power. The Indians, like most of the former Northwest teams, will feature a lot of the same teams they had on the schedule in previous years, but they will rekindle rivalries with Orangeville and Stockton, who return to the same conference they all once were in over a decade ago. Dakota looks set for a good season as well, returning their QB, most of their linebacking corp, and a group of defensive backs. Where the Indians need to reload at is at running back and tight end, key positions for the Indians to have success in their offense. Dakota will have its biggest tests within the first 5 weeks of the season, so that will shed some light on how their season could unfold.
The Indians are 27-21 in the playoffs, and looking for their 25th trip this fall. The Indians made their first trip back to the quarterfinals since the 2011 season, and their 5th trip in school history. Coach Free has the Indians looking for their 6th straight playoff appearance in 2019. The Indians will open up the 2019 season at home, hosting the defending champs, the Forreston Cardinals. This game will also be the feature game for Deep Dish Football, as it was voted as the week 1 Game of the Week. Look for the Indians to be ranked in the top 10 when the state rankings are released.
Dakota Playoff History
2005 5-0 Class 2A State Champion
2007 5-0 Class 2A State Champion
2011 5-0 Class 1A State Champion