Trojans grind Indians' state run to a halt

It's been awhile since the Barnesville Trojans have felt an opposing team actually within striking distance heading into the second half, but the pesky Mahnomen Indians proved just that in the Class 1A state quarterfinals Friday inside the Metrodome.

MIKE JOHNSON (15) helps clear a path for Mahnomen quarterback Dylan Stevens during the Class 1A quarterfinals against Barnesville inside the Fargodome Friday. The Trojans prevailed over the Indians 24-6.

It's been awhile since the Barnesville Trojans have felt an opposing team actually within striking distance heading into the second half, but the pesky Mahnomen Indians proved just that in the Class 1A state quarterfinals Friday inside the Metrodome.

The battle of the unbeatens became a defensive affair, as the No. 4 ranked Indians stymied the potent Trojan offense to just seven points in the first half, but top-ranked Barnesville still proved to be too resilient, as they remained patient in a 24-6 victory over Mahnomen to advance to the state semifinals.

"We came out in the second half knowing if we just kept working hard, we knew we eventually would tire them out," said Barnesville junior fullback Colby Braton, who led all rushers with 133 rushing yards on a workman-like 30 carries. "They have more players who go both ways, we have the depth."

Barnesville was solid on third down, going 8-14 to keep the chains moving and the Mahnomen defense on the field. The Indians, meanwhile, only went 3-10 on third down conversions.

"We just couldn't make the plays offensively," said Mahnomen head coach John Clark Jr. "Then we gave them good field position there and Barnesville is good enough on a long field, but they are much better with a shorter field."


Mahnomen could only muster a season-low 157 yards of offense in the game, compared to Barnesville's 328.

The Trojan defense used its speed to contain the edges against senior quarterback Dylan Stevens, who was held in check with 80 yards rushing.

Barnesville also clogged the middle well, keying on Mahnomen's leading rusher Alex LaVoy, who managed just 38 yards on eight carries.

"Our defense has been doing it all year," Braton said. "Our defense is amazing, that's all I have to say."

For a team which has won by an average margin of victory of 38 points, the Trojans found themselves going eye-to-eye with the Indians after a scoreless first quarter.

Mahnomen's defense was able to hold Barnesville's offense --which has put up 452 points this season -- to a punt, stopping them on fourth and seven on the Indians' 36 in the first quarter.

The Indians were stalled on their first series, after a three-and-out and a fourth and one from their own 29, in which Stevens tried to draw the defense offsides with a hard snap count, but ultimately the team was forced to punt.

The Trojans created big plays on either special teams or defense to start building their lead.


The first came on a partially blocked punt, which gave the Trojans the ball on their own 34. That started a 66-yard drive, which was keyed by a 24-yard pass on third and six by quarterback Robbie Strand to Braton.

The pass just made it over the outstretched arm of linebacker LaVoy, which kept the drive alive.

The series ended with sophomore running back Austin Martz going around right end for a 15-yard touchdown.

Barnesville threatened again in the second quarter, driving to the Mahnomen nine, before fumbling the ball with sophomore Jacob Pavek recovering it to stall the drive to keep the score 7-0 at halftime.

"We hung in there defensively," Clark said. "I thought if we could have gotten that first down on our first series, we could have put something together. But defensively, their speed got to us."

Barnesville controlled the ball in the third quarter by snapping a total of 20 plays to Mahnomen's 10, as the Trojans started building some momentum.

Mahnomen stubbed their toe with an early fumble to start the second half, as Barnesville turned that into three points on a 31-yard field goal by John Hagen.

Barnesville kept knocking on the door and finally found the end zone again on the second play of the fourth quarter, on a two-yard blast on fourth and one by Strand for a 17-0 lead.


Mahnomen was forced to another three-and-out series, as Barnesville struck again, this time through the air.

The clincher came on a 42-yard one-handed catch by Hagen with 8:19 left in the game to put the Trojans up 24-0.

"We have been a strong second half team all year and we regrouped at halftime and were ready for it," Clark said. "That early second half turnover deflated us a bit, though."

Mahnomen broke up the shutout when Stevens hit running back Mike Johnson in stride for a 28-yard touchdown on fourth and 15.

Strand finished the game going 4-8 with 103 yards through the air, while Stevens was 3-15 for 39 yards.

The Trojans advanced to the semifinals, where they will face Goodhue (8-2), which defeated Adrian 30-21 in other quarterfinal action. The game is inside the Metrodome in Minneapolis Friday, starting at 10:15 a.m.

For Mahnomen, Clark is proud where his team finished the season.

"This team improved every week and they deserved to be where they ended up," Clark said. "We played Barnesville as tough as anyone has played them all season. I'm proud of this team."


Indian results

Class 1A state quarterfinals at the Fargodome, Friday, Nov. 12: Mahnomen vs. Barnesville.

Trojans 24, Indians 6

Mahnomen - 0 0 0 6 -- 6

Barnesville - 0 7 3 14 -- 24

Barn - Austin Martz 5-yard run; John Hagen kick.

Barn - John Hagen 31-yard field goal.

Barn - Robbie Strand 1-yard run; Hagen kick.


Barn - Strand 42-yard pass from Hagen; Hagen kick.

Mah - Dylan Stevens 28-yard pass to Mike Johnson. PAT failed.

Mah Barn

First Downs 7 17

Net Yards Rushing 118 225

No. rushes 26 57

Net Yards Passing 39 103

No. passes 15 8


Completed 3 4

Incomplete 12 4

Had intercepted 0 0

Interception yards 0 0

Total Offensive Plays 41 65


Fumbles 1 2

Fumbles lost 1 2

Penalties 4 3

Yards 22 15

* * *

Individual Rushing

Mahnomen --

Player NR YG Avg TD

Dylan Stevens 16 80 5.0 0 Alex LaVoy 9 38 4.2 0

Avery Fairbanks 1 0 0 0

Barnesville -

Colby Braton 30 133 4.4 0

Zach Hochhalter 11 47 4.3 0

Austin Martz 4 22 5.5 1

Adam Rice 5 13 2.6 0

No. 37 2 9 4.5 0

Robbie Strand 5 1 .2 1

* * *

Individual Passing

Player No Comp Inc Int Yds TD

Mahnomen --

Stevens 15 3 12 0 39 1

Barnesville -

Strand 8 4 4 0 103 1

* * *

Pass Receiving

Player No. Yds. TD

Mahnomen --

Mike Johnson 1 28 1

LaVoy 1 6 0

Fairbanks 1 5 0

Barnesville -

Tanner John 2 37 0

John Hagen 1 42 1

Braton 1 24 0

* * *

Pass Interceptions

Player No. Yds.

Mahnomen -


Barnesville -


* * *


Player No. Yds. lost

Mahnomen -


Barnesville -


What To Read Next
Get Local