John's Journal
Numbers (Mostly Zeroes) Tell The Story For Mahnomen11/16/2013
Saturday’s Class 1A football state semifinal game at the Metrodome was another ho-hummer for the Mahnomen Indians. Their formula is a basic one: Run the football, score some points and keep the opponent floundering in a sea of scoreboard donuts.

The Indians (13-0), who will play Dawson-Boyd (12-1) in the Prep Bowl on Nov. 30, are on an amazing run. Not only are they unbeaten this season, they have a record of 51-2 since the start of the 2010 season. They lost in the state quarterfinals that year, lost to Dawson-Boyd 35-20 in the 2011 Prep Bowl and went unbeaten in winning the state championship last year.

Mahnomen defeated Bethlehem Academy 19-0 Saturday while rushing for 225 yards and holding the Cardinals to 175 total yards. Bethlehem Academy was averaging 27 points per game.

“Everyone plays their position,” said Mahnomen sophomore defensive back Kody Lefebvre, who had a team-high five tackles and one interception. “We have no heroes on this team. It’s just 11 guys doing their job.”

Quarterback Tom Pavek scored on a 1-yard run and threw a 29-yard pass to Nathan Hanson for a score. Austin Reitan also scored for the Indians on a 12-yard run.

“There’s a lot of pride in the boys,” Mahnomen coach John Clark Jr. said. “We did exactly what we wanted to do, run the ball and play defense. We gave up some plays on defense but I thought we did a great job of stiffening up when we had to. We had a lot of kids who made key plays at key times.”

Mahnomen is making its 22nd appearance in the state football playoffs, and the Indians won state championships in 1980, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1998 and 2012.

After last season’s title run, there were mild concerns about the defensive side of the ball this year. But those worries pretty much went poof after the Indians opened the season by giving up only 14 points in the first four games.

“We thought we were going to take a hit on defense a little bit this year, but it’s amazing,” Clark said. “We have kids who step up. Everyboy says that, but we do. Kids who haven’t played much at all on the varsity other than mop-up time, they come in, and if they’re a senior they play like they’re a third-year starter, and if they’re a sophomore they play like they’ve been there for two years. It’s amazing.”

Mahnomen has now recorded eight shutouts in 13 games, and only two teams have scored in double figures (a 42-14 win over Red Lake County in Week 2 and a 28-12 victory over Upsala/Swanville in the state quarterfinals).

Thoughts will now turn to the Prep Bowl and Dawson-Boyd; the Blackjacks were the last team to beat Mahnomen.

“It makes it a little more exciting, I think,” said Clark. “Our teams have some assistant coaches who roomed in college together. They’ve been communicating all year; we’ve had our eye on them obviously and they’ve kind of had their eye on us. They got us last time; obviously we want to turn the tables. But two weeks is a lot of preparation. It’ll be interesting to see who can come up with something a little new and who can take away the others’ strengths.”

We can be sure of one thing: Mahnomen won’t change its winning formula.

“Play D and win ugly, that’s good enough for us,” Clark said. “I’d rather be winning ugly here in November than sitting at home looking pretty.”

--Since Bethlehem Academy didn’t score a touchdown Saturday, the fans did not get to see Cardinals kicker Lexi Temple. She came into the state semifinals with a stellar record on extra-point kicks, making 39 of 40 attempts this season. She plays on the Faribault High School girls soccer team (a cooperative team with Bethlehem Academy), and one of the season highlights came when her football teammates came en masse to the Cardinals’ Teacher Appreciation Night game and saw Lexi score two goals.


Joey Lee ran for two touchdowns and passed for two more as the Blackjacks moved to the Prep Bowl in hopes of winning their second state title in three years. Lee’s rushing touchdowns came from 1 and 38 yards, and he threw to Michael Lee for a 36-yard score and to Noah Stelter for 24 yards and a TD.

Joey Lee completed seven of 19 passes for 175 yards. Dalton Palmer led Dawson-Boyd in rushing with 13 carries for 69 yards. David Surprenant of Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s carried 16 times for 103 yards and Brandon Helget ran 19 times for 90 yards and two touchdowns. Helget also threw a 63-yard touchdown pass to Surprenant.


The game’s only points came with three seconds left in the fourth quarter when the Crusaders’ Alex Bornschlegl kicked a 23-yard field goal. It was a defensive struggle which featured only 15 pass attempts and three completions. Proctor (9-3) finished with 86 total yards to 281 for St. Croix Lutheran (10-2). The teams combined for 15 punts.

Sr. Croix Lutheran’s Hans Klingenschmitt rushed 25 times for 135 yards. Joe Carter led Proctor with 13 rushes for 51 yards.


The Wildcats scored 20 points in the second and 16 in the third to defeat the Eagles and advance to the Prep Bowl against St. Croix Lutheran. Adam Essler rushed 18 times for 171 yards and two touchdowns for the Wildcats and Jarret Hatlestad ran eight times for 110 yards and a TD as New London-Spicer ran for a total of 317 yards. Lourdes quarterback Michael Brandt completed eight of 16 passes for 133 yards.


The game went down to the very last second before the Warriors advanced to the Prep Bowl. Brainerd took the 20-19 lead on a 41-yard run by Conor Gessell with 7:10 left in the third quarter, and Brainerd’s defense kept the Hawks out of the end zone after that.

Chaska missed a 27-yard field goal with 5:05 to play. The Hawks’ final possession ended when they were stopped on downs at the Brainerd 32 with 50 seconds remaining. Brainerd held the ball the rest of the game.

Thursday’s Results
Nine-man/ Underwood 34, Ely 20
Class 2A/ Minneota/Lincoln HI (12-0) vs. Maple Lake (8-4)
Class 4A/ Hutchinson 35, Delano 9
Class 6A/ Rosemount 35, Roseville 28

Friday’s Results
Nine-man/ Grand Meadow 21, Kittson Central 7
Class 2A/ Chatfield 41, Hawley 21
Class 5A/ Owatonna 27, St. Michael-Albertville 7
Class 4A/ Holy Angels 33, DeLaSalle 21
Class 6A/ Eden Prairie 47, Totino-Grace 22

Saturday’s Results
Class 1A/ Dawson-Boyd 27, Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s 18
Class 1A/ Mahnomen 19, Bethlehem Academy 0
Class 3A/ St. Croix Lutheran 3, Proctor 0
Class 3A/ New London-Spicer 36, Rochester Lourdes 16
Class 5A/ Brainerd 20, Chaska 19


Friday, Nov. 29
10 a.m.: Nine-man/ Underwood (10-3) vs. Grand Meadow (12-1)
1 p.m: Class 2A/ Minneota (13-0) vs. Chatfield (12-1)
4 p.m.: Class 4A/ Hutchinson (12-0) vs. Holy Angels (7-5)
7 p.m.: Class 6A/ Eden Prairie (11-0) vs. Rosemount (11-1)

Saturday, Nov. 30
10 a.m.: Class 1A/ Dawson-Boyd (12-1) vs. Mahnomen (13-0)
1 p.m.: Class 3A/ St. Croix Lutheran (10-2) vs. New London-Spicer (10-2)
4 p.m.: Class 5A/ Brainerd (12-0) vs. Owatonna (12-0)

--To see a photo gallery from Saturday's games, go to the MSHSL Facebook page. Photos on this page and Facebook were provided by Ian Jamieson, a student at Prior Lake High School and a member of the MSHSL Student Media Program.

--Diet Coke Count: 4 for the day, 14 for the state football tournament, 35 for the fall state tournaments.


*Schools/teams John has visited:185
*Miles John has driven in the Toyota Camry: 5,212
(*During the 2013-14 school year)
Follow John on Twitter: @MSHSLjohn
One More Season For Chisholm Coach Bob McDonald 11/16/2013
Bob McDonald of Chisholm doesn’t plan to spend his retirement winters in Arizona or Florida. He won’t offer any coaching advice to his sons and grandsons who are basketball coaches. He also won’t slow down one little bit during the upcoming boys basketball season, which will be his 59th and final season as a head coach. Read more by clicking here.
For Father And Son, Prep Bowl Memories To Last A Lifetime11/15/2013
Owatonna High School football teams have played in three Prep Bowls, finishing as the state runner-up each time. The Huskies will get another crack at a state championship on Nov. 30 at the Metrodome, meeting the winner of Saturday night’s Class 5A semifinal between Brainerd and Chaska.

The first Owatonna team to get to the Prep Bowl was the 1982 squad. Doug Wanous, then in 11th grade, was the starting center on that team, which lost to Stillwater 34-27. That ’82 squad has lived in local lore for all these years as the team that set the bar for every team since then.

Doug Wanous was a very proud man Friday afternoon after the Huskies defeated St. Michael-Albertville 27-7. He’s an English teacher at the school and coaches the offensive line. Wanous posed for a photo with his son Luke -- a senior tight end and linebacker – as they celebrated a special father-and-son experience.

Doug played in the very first Prep Bowl held in the Metrodome and Luke will play in the last one before the building is torn down.

“It’s kind of a beautiful thing,” Doug said.

Owatonna lost to Totino-Grace 49-21 in last year’s 5A Prep Bowl. So Friday’s victory gives Luke some bragging rights; two Prep Bowls to his father’s one.

“I have not stopped hearing about it, ever since I was born,” Luke said with a giant smile. “He’s always been, ‘Oh, my class in ’82…’ Guess what? I’m back to back, I’ve one-upped him.”

And Doug couldn’t be more proud.

“The cool thing is, I’ve taken Luke to the semifinal games here since he was in third grade. This is really where he’s learned the game of football. We’d be able to look at various techniques, various defenses, various offenses and personnel. This dome is a pretty special place to both of us.”

Luke led the Huskies (12-0) with seven tackles Friday and also broke up a pass. The Owatonna defense held St. Michael-Albertville (10-2) to 49 rushing yards. The Huskies’ Aaron Peterson carried 30 times for 170 yards and two touchdowns and Ian Langeberg completed nine of 12 passes for 85 yards and a score. St. Michael-Albertville’s Jackson Greenwaldt completed nine of 24 passes for 151 yards and a touchdown.

“It’s unbelievable,” Luke said of returning to the Prep Bowl. “This is what we’ve been working for our whole lives, since when we started playing as little kids.”

With Doug’s athletic background and the strong Owatonna sports traditions, Luke was all but destined to be a part of it.

“The ’82 dome team was always talked about,” Doug said. “That was what our community kind of rallied around. And so Luke had no choice but to be inundated into that community.

“To see him experience this is really a wonderful thing. Somebody said to me, ‘I hope things work out for your son,’ and I said ‘It already has.’ ”


The Grand Meadow Superlarks played in the Prep Bowl a year ago, losing to Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley in the nine-man championship game. Looking at that senior-dominated team, any thoughts of back-to-back appearances seemed a little like whimsy. That’s because the Superlarks gathered for the 2013 season with only three returning starters.

But here they are, a high school with only 94 students and a football team with only 24 players in uniform, back in the Prep Bowl. The Superlarks defeated Kittson County Central 21-7 in Friday’s semifinals.

Grand Meadow (12-1) will meet Underwood (10-3) in the championship game on Nov. 29. Underwood advanced to its first Prep Bowl with a 34-20 win over Ely on Thursday.

Is it miraculous that Grand Meadow is back in the Prep Bowl? No, it’s heart.

“We have a lot of inexperienced guys out there,” said Grand Meadow coach Gary Sloan. “I think the kids are just playing with a lot of heart.”

Last year’s Metrodome experience is certainly a factor, because playing in the big stadium for the first time often produces a deer-in-the-headlights scenario.

“I think (last year’s experience) was important,” Sloan said. “Even the guys that maybe didn’t play last year, they got the experience of being around the sideline, doing all the fun things that go with it. We talk about not letting the game be bigger than you, and I think the kids are up to the challenge.”

The Grand Meadow-Kittson game may have set a record for mileage between two high school opponents in the Metrodome. Kittson County Central is in Hallock in northwest Minnesota and Grand Meadow is in the southeastern part of the state. They are 500 miles apart.

Due to the distance, the Grand Meadow coaches weren’t able to scout the Bearcats in person.

“We had two games from them on video, and my coaches did a really good job of putting together a scouting report,” Sloan said. “Kittson’s got a heck of a good team; I wouldn’t want to play them again.”

Grand Meadow was led by Landon Jacobson (pictured), who rushed 33 times for 202 yards and a touchdown. Kittson quarterback Drew Olsonawski completed 15 of 27 passes for 219 yards and a touchdown.


The Gophers scored the game’s first 28 points and advanced to the Prep Bowl, where they will meet the Minneota Vikings. Jacob Neis was the offensive star for Chatfield, carrying 26 times for 233 yards and four touchdowns. Alex Brandt rushed 15 times for 155 yards and the Gophers (12-1) finished with 484 total yards on the ground.

Hawley (10-2) quarterback Jordan Harms completed eight of 22 passes for 168 yards, with Ben Ellefson catching two passes for 103 yards.


After going 3-5 in the regular season, Holy Angels (7-5) extended its postseason winning streak to four games by defeating the Islanders (10-1). The Stars will play in the Prep Bowl on Nov. 29 against Hutchinson (12-0), which beat Delano 35-9 on Thursday.

Connor Moriarty rushed 23 times for 122 yards for the Stars and Danny Hoffman completed eight of 13 passes for 93 yards and a TD. Connor McCarthy ran for two touchdowns. For DeLaSalle, Chris Williams ran 28 times for 156 yards.


The Eden Prairie Eagles advanced to their third consecutive Prep Bowl with a dominating victory over the Totino-Grace Eagles. After a 7-7 first quarter, two-time defending champ Eden Prairie took control with 27 points in the second quarter. Eden Prairie (11-0) will meet Rosemount (11-1) in the Prep Bowl on Nov. 29.


--My favorite football semifinal nicknames: 1. Dawson-Boyd Blackjacks, 2. Hawley Nuggets, 3. Grand Meadow Superlarks, 4. Proctor Rails.

--My favorite mascots: Harley the Husky from Owatonna and Clarkthe Superlark from Grand Meadow.

Thursday’s Results
Nine-man/ Underwood 34, Ely 20
Class 2A/ Minneota/Lincoln HI (12-0) vs. Maple Lake (8-4)
Class 4A/ Hutchinson 35, Delano 9
Class 6A/ Rosemount 35, Roseville 28

Friday’s Results
Nine-man/ Grand Meadow 21, Kittson Central 7
Class 2A/ Chatfield 41, Hawley 21
Class 5A/ Owatonna 27, St. Michael-Albertville 7
Class 4A/ Holy Angels 33, DeLaSalle 21
Class 6A/ Eden Prairie 47, Totino-Grace 22

Saturday’s Games
9 a.m.: Class 1A/ Dawson-Boyd (11-1) vs. Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s (12-0)
11:30 a.m.: Class 1A/ Mahnomen (12-0) vs. Bethlehem Academy (9-3)
2 p.m.: Class 3A/ Proctor (9-2) vs. St. Croix Lutheran (9-2)
4:30 p.m.: Class 3A/ New London-Spicer (9-2) vs. Rochester Lourdes (10-1)
7 p.m.: Class 5A/ Brainerd (11-0) vs. Chaska (11-0)

--Diet Coke Count: 4 for the day, 9 for the state football tournament, 30 for the fall state tournaments.


*Schools/teams John has visited:165
*Miles John has driven in the Toyota Camry: 5,164
(*During the 2013-14 school year)
Follow John on Twitter: @MSHSLjohn
Basketball News: Bob McDonald Will Coach One More Season11/15/2013
There was breaking news Friday night when Chisholm boys basketball coach Bob McDonald, who has more victories than any coach in state history and ranks No. 1 in the nation among active coaches, announced that he will retire after the 2013-14 season.

McDonald, 80, will retire after 59 years as a head coach. He has been the Bluestreaks coach since 1961-62. Before that he coached for four years at McGregor and two at Barnum. He has 994 career victories.

Chisholm will open the season next Friday, Nov. 22, with a home game against North Woods.
Noah Way: Underwood Gets To Prep Bowl With Star On Sideline11/14/2013
Noah Thompson, a 2,000-yard rusher from Underwood, left Thursday’s nine-man state semifinal game against Ely with eight minutes to play. At the time, Underwood held a seven-point lead and the outcome was up for grabs.

Having Thompson watching from the Metrodome sidelines was not optimal for the Rockets. He had carried the ball 239 times this season for 2,107 yards and 20 touchdowns. When he left Thursday’s game with an injury, he had rushed 31 times for 188 yards and three touchdowns.

The good news for Underwood: The Rockets went on to a 34-20 victory and their first berth in the Prep Bowl.

Thompson was hurt while playing defense; the helmet of Ely’s Mark Heiman slammed into his left bicep. The result was a bruise, a painful bruise.

“It hurt right away,” Thompson said. But a little pain is nothing new for the 5-foot-7, 157-pound junior. When I inquired if he had ever been injured before, he ran down the list.

--He broke his right thumb six weeks ago but didn’t miss any games while playing with a cast on his hand.

--He suffered a left knee injury early in the season.

--He injured his back playing softball last summer. “It still hurts,” he said.

More good news for the Rockets (10-3): They won’t play in the Prep Bowl for more than two weeks, which should give Thompson time to heal. They will meet the winner of Friday’s game between Kittson Country Central (12-0) and Grand Meadow (11-1) on Nov. 29.

Thompson isn’t the Rockets’ only weapon. Quarterback Adam Creek ran 15 times for 129 yards and Matt Biegler and Dylan Kalenze both ran for touchdowns. Kalenze’s score, a 13-yard burst, sealed the victory with 54 seconds left in the game.

Louis Gerzin led Ely (12-1) with 25 carries for 170 yards and a score, and quarterback Sean Jordan completed 10 of 15 passes for 99 yards, including a 15-yard touchdown strike to Michael Lah. Mark Heiman scored a rushing TD for the Timberwolves.


At the state football semifinals a year ago, I was walking behind one of the Metrodome end zones when someone in the bleachers hollered, “Hi John!” I looked up at a young man sitting in the second row and said, “Do I know you?” He smiled a big smile and said, “No, but I read your journal.”

It was Austin Buysse, who was then a junior at Minneota. The Vikings’ 2012 season had ended with a loss to Dawson-Boyd in the Class 1A Section 5 championship game.

We had a reunion on Thursday, and this time Austin (pictured) wasn’t sitting in the stands. The 6-foot-4, 175-pound senior threw two touchdown passes and ran for a score as Minneota/Lincoln HI (13-0) defeated Maple Lake (8-5) 50-24 in the Class 2A semifinals.

Austin said that as he watched the games a year ago, he was hoping the Vikings would be on the field this season.

“It’s crazy,” he said. “I’ve been coming to the games here every year in high school, and to finally play here is like a dream come true.”

Footnote: Austin is one of five people named Buysse on the Minneota roster. Brock, Leo and student manager Brant are his first cousins, and Joe is a more distant cousin. Brock Buysse had a touchdown run Thursday and Leo had six tackles.


Hutchinson defeated Delano 35-9 in the Class 4A semifinals, as the Tigers (12-0) attempt to repeat as state champions. The game was close into the third quarter, after a safety brought Delano (10-2) within 21-9 of Hutchinson. But Hutchinson scored two touchdowns in the fourt quarter to lock up the victory.

Hutch quarterback Marcus Hahn was the game’s leading rusher, carrying six times for 121 yards and two touchdowns, including an 80-yarder. He also threw a 13-yard TD pass to Jake Wendland.


In an entertaining, back-and-forth 6A semifinal, Rosemount (11-1) recorded a 35-28 victory over Roseville (9-3). The victory was the 11th in a row for the Irish, who lost to Wayzata in double overtime in the season opener.

Dimitri Williams led Rosemount with 15 rushes for 135 yards, plus a 77-yard punt return for a touchdown. Roseville quarterback Jacques Perra completed 22 of 34 passes for 296 yards and three touchdowns.

Thursday’s Results
Nine-man/ Underwood 34, Ely 20
Class 2A/ Minneota/Lincoln HI 50, Maple Lake 24
Class 4A/ Hutchinson 35, Delano 9
Class 6A/ Rosemount 35, Roseville 28

Friday’s Games
9 a.m.: Nine-man/ Kittson Central (12-0) vs. Grand Meadow (11-1)
11:30 a.m.: Class 2A/ Hawley (10-1) vs. Chatfield (11-1)
2 p.m.: Class 5A/ St. Michael-Albertville (10-1) vs. Owatonna (11-0)
4:30 p.m.: Class 4A/ DeLaSalle (10-1) vs. Holy Angels (6-5)
7 p.m.: Class 6A/ Eden Prairie (10-0) vs. Totino-Grace (9-2)

Saturday’s Games
9 a.m.: Class 1A/ Dawson-Boyd (11-1) vs. Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s (12-0)
11:30 a.m.: Class 1A/ Mahnomen (12-0) vs. Bethlehem Academy (9-3)
2 p.m.: Class 3A/ Proctor (9-2) vs. St. Croix Lutheran (9-2)
4:30 p.m.: Class 3A/ New London-Spicer (9-2) vs. Rochester Lourdes (10-1)
7 p.m.: Class 5A/ Brainerd (11-0) vs. Chaska (11-0)

--Diet Coke Count: 4 for the day, 4 for the state football tournament, 26 for the fall state tournaments.


*Schools/teams John has visited:165
*Miles John has driven in the Toyota Camry: 5,116
(*During the 2013-14 school year)
Follow John on Twitter: @MSHSLjohn