NW District football awards

Frazee's Christian Petron (2) rushes behind a block against Pelican Rapids' Johnny Ziebell (35) and McHale Korf (8) in a meeting of three Northwest District players in Pelican Rapids Wednesday, Nov. 11. Robert Williams / Tribune

New York Mills, Pelican Rapids, Frazee and Mahnomen-Waubun were well-represented both individually and team-wise in the 2020 Northwest District football awards.

New York Mills’ Matt Radniecki was named the south sub-district coach of the year after leading his Eagles to an undefeated run, including a big win over Pelican Rapids in week two at home.

After a .500 season in 2019 (5-5), the Eagles’ perfect mark was the first time New York Mills has finished above the even mark since 2006 (8-3).

Senior Nolan Cassidy was named the south’s most valuable defensive lineman and fellow senior Daunte Leiran was named the offensive player of the year in a crowded category that includes Pelican quarterback McHale Korf, among others.

The Vikings had two individual award winners: junior Nick Haugrud, most valuable offensive lineman and senior Johnny Ziebell, the defensive player of the year.


Korf, Ziebell, Weston Funk and Haugrud were named all-district for Pelican.

Frazee was represented by Christian Petron, Brock Barlund and Sam Winn.

New York Mills had five players named: Leiran, Cassidy, Bren Salo, John Ronning and Isaiah Laudenbach.

In the west, coach of the year John Clark, Jr., (Mahnomen-Waubun) directed his Thunderbirds to a perfect 5-0 season. Frazee gave the T-Birds their stiffest test, a 22-20 loss in overtime in week four. Mahnomen-Waubun outscored their four other opponents 128-29.

Three Thunderbirds with another year of eligibility earned individual accolades: junior Justin Littlewolf (most valuable defensive lineman); junior quarterback Tanner Pazdernik was one of three offensive players of the year and junior Will Starkey was the defensive player of the year.

Mahnomen-Waubun had a district-best six all-district nominees: Pazdernik, Starkey, Littlewolf, Cooper Houdek, Will Olson and Dennis Ashley.

Individual Awards



Jerry Sonnek Most Valuable Offensive Lineman: Isaiah Olson (Sr., Red Lake County)

Darrel Naugle Most Valuable Defensive Lineman: Justin Littlewolf (Jr., Mahnomen/Waubun)

L.E. Dreschel Offensive Players of the Year: Sam Gapp (So., PCW), Beau Fetting (Ada-Borup West), Tanner Pazdernik (Jr. Mahnomen/Waubun)

Defensive Player of the Year: Will Starkey (Jr., Mahnomen/Waubun)

Ron Stark Most Valuable Special Teams Player: Cullen Rohrich (Jr., PCW)

Coach of the Year: John Clark, Jr. (Mahnomen/Waubun)



Jerry Sonnek Most Valuable Offensive Lineman: Nick Haugrud (JR., Pelican Rapids)

Darrel Naugle Most Valuable Defensive Lineman: Nolan Cassidy (Sr., New York Mills)

L.E. Dreschel Offensive Player of the Year: Daunte Leiran (Sr., New York Mills)

Defensive Player of the Year: Johnny Ziebell (Sr., Pelican Rapids)

Ron Stark Special Teams Player: Payton Rondestvedt (Jr., Wadena-Deer Creek)

Coach of the Year: Matt Radniecki (New York Mills)


Jerry Sonnek Most Valuable Offensive Lineman Kyle Thompson (Sr., Warroad)


Darrel Naugle Most Valuable Defensive Lineman Trevor Radke (Sr., WHA)

L.E. Dreschel Offensive Player of the Year Steve Hausken (Sr., WHA)

Defensive Player of the Year Blake Norris (Sr., Warroad)

Ron Stark Most Valuable Special Teams Player Mason Schneider (Sr., WHA)

Coach of the Year Gabe Richards (Warroad)

Northwest All-District Team


Ada-Borup/West: Beau Fetting, Beau Jorgenson, Cameron Spaeth, Strenton Sip


Mahnomen/Waubun: Tanner Pazdernik, Will Starkey, Justin Littlewolf, Cooper Houdek, Will Olson, Dennis Ashley

Polk County West: Sam Gapp, Alex Hart, Gage Wavra, Adam Sczepanski

Red Lake County: Isaiah Olson, Zach Howard, Carter Williams


Frazee: Christian Petron, Brock Barlund, Sam Winn

New York Mills: Daunte Leiran, Nolan Cassidy, Bren Salo, John Ronning, Isaiah Laudenbach

Pelican Rapids: Johnny Ziebell, McHale Korf, Weston Funk, Nick Haugrud

Underwood: Logan Schleske, Slade Moore, Krosby Aasness


Wadena-Deer Creek: Payton Rondestvedt, Josh Dykhoff, Aiden Larson


Bagley: Alex Rolfson, Remington Aufforth, Jaxsyn Lewis

Pine River-Backus: Conner Tulenchik, Corbin Knapp, Rian Struss

Red Lake: Cade Beaulieu, Aaron Chaboyea

Walker-Hackensack-Akeley: Steve Hausken, Trevor Radke, Jack Slagle, Mason Schneider, Carson Strohsahl

Warroad: Blake Norris, Kyle Thompson, Evan Grover, Jace Thompson, Dylan Fox

All-District Honorable Mention


Ada-Borup/West: Aiden Marcussen, Sergio Reyes, Ryan Hoven

Mahnomen/Waubun: Payton Keezer, Tony Swalef

Polk County West: Nick Brundin, Isaac Zavoral, Daniel Suda

Red Lake County: Bailey Hince, Damon Ferguson, Paul DeHate

Lake Park-Audubon: Brodie Chilton


Frazee: Ethan Wothe, Broden Fleisher, Byron Kropuenske

New York Mills: Zack Partlow, Dane Niemi

Pelican Rapids: Logan Fahje, Jayden Rutherford, Liam Sytsma

Underwood: Reed Leabo, Joey Kupfer

Wadena-Deer Creek: Zach Shaw, Kade Woods, Evan Lunde


Bagley: Andrew Agnes, Alec Norum, Kenly Gordon, Jasper Spears-Thomas

Pine River-Backus: Chase Hoppe, Owen Carlson, Irvin Tulenchik, Wyatt Bean

Red Lake: Gerald Kingbird, Ty Holthusen, Justin Brown

Walker-Hackensack-Akeley: Jackson McFarlane, Gavin Johannsen, Kenseth Taylor

Warroad: Kyle Kvarnlov, Virgil Laznicka, Matthew Hard

Standings (overall records)


1 Mahnomen/Waubun 5-0

2 Polk County West 3-1

3 Red Lake County 2-1

4 Ada-Borup West 1-3

5 Lake Park-Audubon 0-4


1 New York Mills 4-0

2 Pelican Rapids 5-1

3 Wadena-Deer Creek 3-4

4 Underwood 2-4

5 Frazee 2-5


1 Warroad 4-3

2 Walker-Hackensack-Akeley 3-3

3 Pine River-Backus 2-1

4 Bagley 1-1

5 Red Lake 0-5

Robert Williams has been a sports editor for Forum Communications in Perham and Detroit Lakes since 2011.
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