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Mahnomen's Pavek has put up some serious numbers

Jacob Pavek is a 1,000-1,000 man after eclipsing that number in career points and rebounds. Brian Basham/Record1 / 2
As the Indian's quarterback, Jacob Pavek surpassed 1,000 yards passing and receiving. Brian Basham/Record2 / 2

One thousand.

It's a number sought after by many athletes and captured by few.

But include Mahnomen senior Jacob Pavek as one who has met the milestone on more than one occasion.

Pavek has surpassed the 1,000 watershed mark in four different categories in two separate sports, which is a reason why he can be considered as one of the best overall athletes to grace an Indian uniform, in both football and basketball.

"I can honestly say he is one of the best who has come through Mahnomen as both a football and basketball player," said Mahnomen athletic director John Clark Jr., who also is the head coach in both football and basketball.

"You can't find many athletes better (in Mahnomen's history) who have done what he has in both sports."

Pavek has proven to be a leader on the gridiron and hardwood, after surpassing 1,000 yards in both passing and rushing for the Indian football team as a three-year starter at quarterback, as well as eclipsing 1,000 career points in basketball as a junior and 1,000 career rebounds a couple of weeks ago for the boys' basketball team.

Those are big numbers, which in part, have led to big wins for each of the Indian football and basketball teams.

Pavek was a part of two Indian football teams which finished as the 2011 Class 1A state runners-up and the 2012 state champions.

He was an integral part on both teams, after he threw and rushed for over 1,000 yards in 2011 and repeated his rushing mark with over 1,200 yards rushing in Mahnomen's championship season.

In basketball, his career numbers are just as impressive, as is the team success.

The Indians are currently 14-4 on the season, led by Pavek and his career 1,593 points and 1,109 rebounds.

The senior Indian also is second in the state in rebounding, with 182 boards.

Starting young

Longevity has been one of Pavek's strongest attributes during his Mahnomen career.

He started seeing varsity playing time on the basketball court in his eighth grade season.

It took only one game for Clark to see that Pavek was more than ready to contribute on the varsity level as an eighth grader.

"Jake was already 6-2 (tall) his eighth grade year and I could tell already, that he was physically ready to play on the higher levels," Clark said.

Pavek's path to varsity straight from eighth grade came when Clark heeded the advice from his B-team coach to let him play a ninth-grade tournament and possibly elevate him to B-team.

Clark took Pavek along for the ninth-grade tournament and quickly realized he had a new varsity player.

"I told my B-team coach I have some good news and some bad news," Clark chuckled. "I said the good news is Pavek is moving up from the eighth grade team. The bad news is he's going to be playing varsity."

For most young athletes making the transition to varsity, it's difficult enough to leap from junior varsity to varsity, but from eighth grade to varsity is almost unheard of.

Unless your name is Jake Pavek.

"It was a little nerve-wracking at first, but I felt I was ready," Pavek said. "I just learned how to develop moves from the post and not be afraid to get your shot blocked once in a while.

"I took a beating, though."

Pavek was relentless with his offseason training, playing in basketball tournaments in Minneapolis just about every weekend, while also working out for football. He uses his football skills on the court, with the ability to outrun his opponents on the transition.

"He will beat most guys down the court who are guarding him," Clark said. "The one thing which really sticks out to me with Jake is how relentless he plays."

Of course, his rebounding and scoring go hand-in-hand.

Many of Pavek's 1,593 career points have come on offensive rebounding, which in turn results in a high-percentage put back.

"I mainly score from those rebounds, but I also try and run and gun after defensive rebounds," Pavek said.

Excelling both in football and basketball doesn't mean Pavek is the same person in each.

In fact, he's almost polar opposite when he is under center from when he is posting up on the block.

"I would like to see more of the quarterback Pavek on the basketball court," Clark said. "In football, he takes control more because he has the comfort of the huddle.

"On the court, he leads more by example and isn't as vocal. But one thing he does do in both (football and basketball), is he makes his teammates better around him."

Another aspect which remains consistent is Pavek's loyalty to team first.

"He is always quick to give credit to his teammates," Clark added. "You can tell he works hard not to come off as cocky."

But the individual accomplishments still speak for themselves, even if Pavek isn't apt to acknowledge them.

So, with that in mind, and Pavek reaching the 1,000 mark in rushing, passing, scoring and rebounding, which of the four is the hardest to accomplish?

"That's hard to say, because reaching 1,000 passing yards in Mahnomen is tough to reach because we run the ball so much," Pavek said. "But I guess I value the rebounding mark more. It's probably the toughest to achieve, because you can't go out and get 20 or 30 rebounds in one game."

With all his success in the two sports, Pavek has received plenty of attention from college coaches in both, and choosing what arena of play he will pursue in college is a difficult one.

"I'm leaning towards football right now, but I don't know where I want to go, yet," Pavek said. "It's choosing between the two, which has been tough.

"But I've had fun in both football and basketball and I've set a lot of goals in both. I felt I have achieved most of them, the biggest of course being, winning a state football championship."

Clark has had the fortunate opportunity to see Pavek's great prep careers in football and basketball firsthand.

It will also be something he will miss.

"My security blanket will be gone," Clark smiled. "All these kids are good kids, but some come along and elevate their teammates to higher places.

"Jake is one of those kids."

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