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Posted by Guest (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 11/25/2011 4:53:49 PM

By Luke Sleeper

The Dawson-Boyd Blackjacks took full advantage of their first appearance in the Prep Bowl, defeating Mahnomen 35-20 in Friday’s Class 1A title game.

The offensive numbers from both teams were relatively similar; each squad found success with its running game, especially Mahnomen, which gained 271 yards on the ground. The triple-option offense of the Indians kept Dawson-Boyd defenders off balance for much of the game, as quarterback Jacob Pavek and running back Avery Fairbanks combined for 252 rushing yards.

Dawson-Boyd coach Cory Larson was full of praise for the Indians. “Offensively, they are so good fundamentally. We may have had the size advantage but (Mahnomen’s) offensive line gets off the ball so well and you saw when we missed assignments on defense they made some big plays on us.”

Taking care of the ball became essential in a game in which each offense was moving downfield at will. It was the Blackjacks that won the turnover battle, and eventually the game. After Dawson-Boyd took a 21-6 lead into halftime, Mahnomen found itself behind and forced to throw the football, a situation the previously undefeated Indians had not experienced all season.

Three of Pavek’s passes found the hands of Dawson-Boyd defensive back Evan Robertson, whose trifecta of takeaways tied a Prep Bowl record. The third and final interception occurred midway through the fourth quarter, ending a long Mahnomen drive and its hopes at a comeback. Blackjacks running back Esten Weber ran in a 28-yard touchdown moments later, making the score 35-14, ultimately putting the game away for Dawson-Boyd.

“(Robertson) has been huge for us all season, especially in the playoffs. He seems to always put himself in position to make big plays.” Larson said.

The Blackjacks (14-0) were led all season by sophomore quarterback Joey Lee, who might not have had as statistically prolific of a game Friday as in recent weeks, but he minimized mistakes and put his team in supreme position to win the game. The great running back duo of Weber and Joey Lee had 90 rushing yards and two touchdowns apiece. The versatile Weber also led the way on defense, making 10 tackles for the Indians.

--Luke Sleeper is a journalism student at the University of Minnesota


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