Sections

Weather Forecast

Close
Advertisement
Indian GB Jacob Pavek (10) tries to juke out Browerville's Mackenzie Asmus during the Section 6-1A championship game. Pavek also eclipsed the century mark in rushing with 101 yards in the 28-7 Mahnomen victory.

MAHNOMEN LOOKING FOR BIGGER THINGS: Back where they belong

Email Sign up for Breaking News Alerts
sports Detroit Lakes, 56501
Detroit Lakes Online
(218) 847-9409 customer support
Detroit Lakes Minnesota 511 Washington Avenue 56501

With each step taken in the prep football playoffs, the gap between teams becomes thinner and thinner.

Thus far this season, the gap between the No. 2 ranked Class 1A Mahnomen and its opponents has been as wide as can be, as the Indians have put a punishing scoring margin of 454-61 through the regular season and the Section 6-1A playoffs.

Advertisement
Advertisement

But the challenge will become greater come Friday in the Duluth Public School Stadium, as the undefeated Indians' state playoff quest starts against No. 5 ranked Braham, which brings in a 9-1 record after winning the Section 7-1A championship.

But it's a challenge Mahnomen is geared and primed for, said Indian head coach John Clark Jr.

"This is a laid back crew, who expected to be where we are now," Clark said. "They are not satisfied about losing in the first round last year. The level of competition goes up in each game and these guys know that. But they've been there and done that."

The Indians' biggest challenge to date came last Friday, but as has been the norm this season, they disposed of No. 8 ranked Browerville in convincing fashion, by a 28-7 score.

Throughout the season, Mahnomen's dual threat in the back field has taken turns gouging opposing defenses and in the Section 6-1A championship, it was senior running back Avery Fairbanks' turn.

The rough and tough rusher had three rushing touchdowns in the section title game, along with a game-high 123 yards on 21 carries.

His partner in the backfield, junior quarterback Jacob Pavek added Mahnomen's final score, while rushing for 101 yards on 19 carries.

"The guys have done a great job taking what the defense has given us," Clark said. "The offensive line has done an outstanding job adjusting, as we've seen some different looks from defenses.

"But our guys just keep plugging away and picking up first downs."

The Indians' drives have consisted of third and short plays, which have picked up a total 234 first downs (average of 21 per game), while their opponents have collected just 101.

But more importantly, the Indians have been finishing their long, time-consuming drives in the end zone.

The Indians have punted only 15 times this season, with only half of those coming from the first unit.

That is the Mahnomen defense's best friend, although they don't really need much help anyways.

While the Indians have picked up an amazing 3,568 rushing yards in 11 games (324.4 per contest), the opposing teams have been stopped dead in their tracks with just 1,037 yards (94.3 per game).

The Indians' grind-out kind of offense is the exact opposite of the Braham Bombers, who have outscored their opponents 464-158.

But the majority of the Bombers' points have come with their quick-strike offense, which is led by their big playmaker, senior quarterback Tyler Vaughan.

"He is just unbelievable," Clark said. "They run their shotgun, spread offense with four or five wide. When they run it, it's off the option, in which (Vaughan) can pull up and throw it, too.

"It's something we have not seen yet, this season. It's not a classic style offense, but more of a scramble and roll-out kind of one."

Containing Vaughan will be the focus of the stout Mahnomen defense, led by defensive lineman Jacob Hedstrom, who has tallied 46 tackles, including 26 solos.

"Vaughan is uncanny eluding the rush and his receivers are good at breaking their routes to get open," Clark included.

"It's like sandlot football. We need to control the pressure and try and hem him in, which will be a challenge for our defensive ends and cornerbacks."

The best way to tame a high-flying offense like the Bombers is to keep them grounded on the sideline.

And Mahnomen has the perfect style of doing just that, with its clock-eating, possession-style of offense.

Fairbanks leads the way on the ground-pounding level with 1,233 yards for a 7.4 average, along with 17 rushing touchdowns.

Meanwhile, Pavek is nearing the 1,000-yard mark as well, with 948 and an 8.0 average per carry.

Mahnomen could try and first-down Braham to death, but finishing drives by crossing the pylons will be crucial.

Although Mahnomen has only seen two deficits this season, they have both been short-lived.

"Both times we've been down this season, we've answered with a touchdown," Clark added.

"When we were down 7-6 to Browerville, there was no sense of panic, they just went out and got a touchdown on the next series."

The kickoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. Friday inside the Duluth Public Schools Stadium.

The winner will advance to the Class 1A semifinals against the victor of Sleepy Eye-St. Mary's (8-3) and Adrian (10-1) inside the Metrodome in Minneapolis on Friday, Nov. 18, at 10:15 a.m.

The bottom bracket features Dawson-Boyd (11-0) versus Warren-Alvarado-Oslo (8-3) and Blooming Prairie (10-1) against Lester Prairie/Holy Trinity.

The Class 1A championship will be held inside the Metrodome Friday, Nov. 25, starting at 1 p.m.

Indian season stats

The 2011 Mahnomen Indians regular season/playoffs accumulated stats -- Record: 11-0 (Section 6-1A Champions).

Indians 454, Opponents 61

Mahnomen - 134 143 117 60 -- 454

Opponents - 10 8 30 13 -- 61

Scoring:

Jacob Pavek (172 points) -- 23 rushing touchdowns, 12-20 PAT kicks, 8 2-point conversions rushes.

Avery Fairbanks (110) -- 17 rushing TDs, 4 2-point rushes.

Garret Hoffner (32) -- 3 rushing TDs, 3 2-point rushes, 1 2-point reception, 1 receiving TD.

Mitch Kochmann (30) -- 3 rushing TDs, 2 2-point rushes, 1 2-point reception, 1 receiving TD.

Lucas Littlewolf (28) -- 3 receiving TDs, 1 rushing TD, 2 2-point receptions.

Austin Reitan (20) -- 3 rushing TDs, 1 2-point rush.

Trevor Haugo (16) -- 2 rushing TDs, 1 2-point rush, 1 2-point reception.

Bob Bjorge (14) -- 2 rushing TDs, 1 2-point rush.

Jon Hoffner (10) -- 1 rushing TD, 2 2-point rushes.

Jason Schoenborn (10) -- 1 receiving TD, 2 2-point receptions.

Aaron Vipond (6) -- 1 rushing TD.

Tristan Bjerke (4) -- 2 2-point rushes.

Zach Polaschek (2) -- 1 2-point reception.

Mah Opp

First Downs 234 101

By Rushing 207 68

By passing 24 30

By penalty 3 3

Net Yards Rushing 3568 1037

No. rushes 514 399

Avg. per rush 6.9 2.6

Rushing TDs 52 4

Net Yards Passing 604 628

No. passes 65 132

Completed 30 57

Avg. per completion 20.1 11.0

Had intercepted 2 9

Total Offensive Plays 579 531

TOTAL NET YARDS 4172 1665

Kickoffs Returned 17 52

Yards 382 763

Ave. return 22.5 14.7

Fumbles 23 11

Fumbles lost 9 9

Penalties 46 25

Yards 355 204

* * *

Individual Rushing

Mahnomen --

Player Att Yds Avg TDs

Avery Fairbanks 166 1233 7.4 17

Jacob Pavek 119 948 8.0 23

Garret Hoffner 60 325 5.4 2

Mitch Kochmann 50 313 6.3 1

Austin Reitan 39 250 6.4 3

Tristan Bjerke 20 169 8.5 0

Trevor Haugo 22 120 5.5 2

Jon Hoffner 17 96 5.6 1

Bob Bjorge 7 81 11.6 2

Aaron Vipond 6 17 2.8 1

Kaleb Gieseke 8 16 2.0 0

* * *

Individual Passing

Player Cmp Att yds TD Int

Mahnomen --

Pavek 29 63 591 6 2

G. Hoffner 1 1 13 0 0

T. Haugo 0 1 0 0 0

* * *

Pass Receiving

Player No. Yds. TD

Mahnomen --

Jason Schoenborn 10 305 1

Lucas Littlewolf 7 58 3

Mitch Kochmann 4 118 1

G. Hoffner 4 53 1

T. Haugo 3 38 0

No. 5 1 19 0

Zach Polaschek 1 13 0

* * *

Pass Interceptions

Player No. Yds.

Mahnomen -

Kochmann 3 22

G. Hoffner 2 12

Pavek 1 54

Littlewolf 1 39

Nathan Hanson 1 21

* * *

Sacks

Player No. Yds. lost

Mahnomen -

Jacob Hedstrom 2 11

Fairbanks 2 7

Kal Handyside 1 4

Bjorge 1 10

Littlewolf 1 0

Ty Swiers 1 0

Schoenborn 1 0.

Advertisement
Brian Wierima
Detroit Lakes Newspapers Sports Editor for the last 15 years. St. Cloud State University graduate, who hails from Deer Creek, MN. 
Advertisement
Advertisement