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Some new faces on Mahnomen team

Head coach John Clark directs his QB. (Brian Basham/DL Newspapers)2 / 4
The Mahnomen offensive linemen work on staying low during a recent practice. (Brian Basham/DL Newspapers)3 / 4
Row 1: Preston Zornes, Peyton Zornes, Kory Bellanger, Beau Bellanger, Christian Penner, Zach Neis, Brandon White, Alec Worden, Tommy Pavek. Row 2: Alex Greene, Fred Porter, Tim McArthur, Kyle Robinson, Dylan Stevens, Joe Starkey, Alex LaVoy. Row 3: Tyler R. Coleman, Ryan Bendickson, Darrin Geray, Garret Hoffner, Chad Guinn, Nick Otto, Ty Swiers, Zach Polaschek, Mitch Kochmann, Aaron Bendickson, Aaron Vipond, Luke Littlewolf, Jason Schoenborn, Jake Hedstrom, Peter Refshaw, Bryce Penner, Jacob Pavek, An...4 / 4

Patience will be practiced by the Mahnomen Indians this season after losing a majority of starters in their skill positions from last year.

Drives for the Indians will not be quick and fleet, instead an offense which will be plodding and grinding will be the norm.

"We are not too big and we do not have that 80-yard touchdown speed," said Mahnomen head coach John Clark Jr. "We do have kids who have seen success within both lines and that is a comfort."

The majority of the offensive and defensive lines return after another trip to the Section 6-1A championship game last year.

Those returning with experience on the offensive line include juniors Kyle Robinson, Tyler Coleman, Aaron Bendickson, Peyton Zornes and Alex Greene.

"The only concern on the offensive line is they are not the biggest guys," Clark said. "Which the same goes for the defense."

Junior Dylan Stevens will take over the reins from three-year starter Logan Handyside.

"Dylan has been in the program long enough that he understands the offense," Clark added. "He isn't being asked to do too much."

Junior Alex Lavoy is setting up for a big year at the fullback position and will see the bulk of carries this season.

Although he will be the fullback, Lavoy still has the speed to split out wide and catch the ball, as well.

Senior Zach Neis did a lot of the "dirty work" last year, as far as blocking for the Indian running backs.

He will see some more carries in the triple-option offense.

Senior Brandon White had one catch last year, but it went for a touchdown, as he will also be looked upon for more action this season.

The defense will be Mahnomen's strong suit, with junior linebackers Robinson and Lavoy anchoring the unit.

"Our linebackers will be our strength," Clark said.

Zornes will be one of Mahnomen's defensive tackle positions, while Neis and White will start at the end slots.

"We should be able to put a lot pressure on the quarterback from our end positions," Clark said. "We'll play the run tough, with Neis being a good run-stuffer."

The secondary brings back some good experience in Stevens and junior Mike Johnson back.

Turnovers will be a key for the defense and Clark believes the Indians will once again thrive in that area.

"We have good athletes across the board and that will help create those turnovers," he included. "The defense will be a key for us this year.

"We lost some horses from last year, so it will be interesting to see who can step up."