Lake Park Minn.
The stats do not tell the story of the Mahnomen defense because keeping the stats is incredibly difficult for the top-ranked football squad in Class 1A.
"Our statistician has had a really hard time this season," said Mahnomen coach John Clark Jr. "There are five kids on every play making the tackle. It just seems like there's a big pile at the tackle every time. Our defense takes pride in getting to the ball."
No one player jumps out for Mahnomen. Coming into Friday's game on the road against Lake Park-Audubon, Jacob Hedstrom led the Indians with 20.5 tackles, with Kal Handyside trailing with 16 tackles and Darin Geray is behind him with 12.5 tackles.
The Indians had just 4.5 sacks and four interceptions, with no player registering multiple sacks or interceptions to go along with no fumble recoveries coming into Friday.
The only number that matters to the Mahnomen defense is 1.2. Coming into Friday night, Mahnomen's average of 1.2 points allowed per game was the best in all of Minnesota with Detroit Lakes' 4 points-per-game average in second. The Indians third-team defense gave up a touchdown in Week 1 and four shutouts followed.
"We preach no heroes and to trust your teammates," Clark said. "I think the kids have bought into the system."
Mahnomen's shutout streak came to an end Friday when the Indians defeated LP-A 66-6. A couple far more important numbers for the Indians are six and zero because that's their record after Friday's win.
"Defense is what we stress the most," Mahnomen quarterback and defensive back Jacob Pavek said. "We just go hard, we go to the ball, we pursue and we drive back. We don't have any outstanding tacklers on our team. It's a team effort.
"It was tough to lose the shutout streak, but it was secondary."
Mahnomen scored on its first three drives of the game. Bob Bjorge opened the scoring a little under four minutes into the game on a 10-yard run. Garret Hoffner followed with a 21-yard touchdown run on the next drive and Bryce Penner made it 21-0 with a 24-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. Pavek would add a 16-yard touchdown run right before the half to make it 28-0 at the break.
Penner made it 34-0 on a 73-yard touchdown scamper on the second play of the second half and the route was on.
Mahnomen would add a 15-yard touchdown run from Hoffner, a 73-yard touchdown run from Pavek, a 3-yard touchdown run from Trevor Kresbach, a 3-yard rumble from Jake Worms and a
35-yard touchdown run from Tom Pavek to cap the scoring.
A 50-yard touchdown pass from Mason Swegarden to Isaiah Pearson for LP-A (2-4) ended Mahnomen's scoreless streak with 15 seconds remaining in the third quarter. It had been 18 quarters since a team had found the end zone versus the Indians.
"It was difficult, but it was second string," said Penner, who also plays defensive back for Mahnomen. "We're always hitting them hard and trying to get in there and get the ball back. Our defense is based on just a team aspect. We all just have to work together. There's no heroes on our defense."
M 21 7 18 20 - 66
LP-A 0 0 6 0 - 6
M-Bjorge 10 run (Pavek kick)
M-Hoffner 21 run (Pavek kick)
M-Penner 24 run (Pavek kick)
M-Pavek 16 run (Pavek kick)
M-Penner 73 run (pass no good)
M-Hoffner 15 run (kick no good)
M-Pavek 73 run (kick no good)
LP-Pearson 50 pass from Swegarden (kick no good)
M- Kresbach 3 run (Kresbach run good)
M-Worms 3 run (run no good)
M-T. Pavek 35 run (run no good)
RUSHING: LP-A, Renner 18-47, Swegarden 1-(-4), Kohler 6-6, Olson 2-0, Brekken 1-0. M, J. Pavek 5-139, G. Hoffner 6-99, Bjorge 12-74, Penner 5-108, Haugo 1-12, Kresbach 2-6, J. Hoffner 4-67, T. Pavek 3-56, Worms 5-43, Kahlbaugh 1-11, McCollum 5-8.
PASSING: LP-A, Swegarden 5-19-2 125 yards. M, J. Pavek 3-8-0 42 yards.
RECEIVING: LP-A, Larson 1-11, Olson 3-67, Pearson 1-14. M, Schoenborn 1-15, Haugo 1-20, G. Hoffner 1-7.
Readers can reach Forum reporter
Chris Murphy at (701) 241-5548