Magic moment set up win
The way Minneota dominated Dawson-Boyd, 47-0, there were plenty of highlights.
But most agreed it may have been one, “magic moment” that set the wheels in motion for Minneota’s largest victory over the arch-rival Blackjacks.
The first pass of the game, a 33-yard from newly appointed quarterback Thomas Hennen sailed high over everyone’s heads — except for Landon Rolbiecki.
Yes, that Rolbiecki, the one who suffered two broken bones in his leg last year and struggled through a dozen surgeries.
He went high for the ball, twisted, turned and came down with it as Dawson-Boyd’s Romell Horton attacked Rolbiecki. His helmet came off but he hung onto the ball.
Rolbiecki popped up enthusiasm, the crowd exploded and his teammates ran onto the field to congratulate him.
“It felt awesome to get that first one,” said Rolbiecki. When we went down he ripped my helmet off,” said the Viking senior about his opponent.
“You could tell they were happy to have me back,” said Rolbiecki.
For running back Cole Sanow, it was special.
“It makes me so happy to have him out there. He brings so much energy.”
“I think that’s right. His catch sure brought a lot of enthusiasm,” said Coach Chad Johnston.
“I was super excited to have him catch my first pass. That got everyone so fired up,” said the senior quarterback-captain.
After suffering through surgery after surgery, uncertainty about his future in athletics and his senior year closing in, Rolbiecki had become more and more determined to play football.
After Jacob Hennen broke his wrist in the opener against Sleepy Eye, his brother Thomas was called on to quarterback the team. That left a big void at wide receiver.
That’s where Rolbiecki came in. “He has so much speed and such determination,” said Coach Johnston, who received the word Rolbiecki was cleared by his doctor to play.
Suddenly, the receiver spot vacated by Thomas Hennen was filled.
And Rolbiecki’s first catch couldn’t have come at a better moment. Minneota drove to an 11-yard touchdown by Hennen, scored the first three times they had the ball and never looked bck.
After the game, Coach Johnston rubbed Rolbiecki’s head and said, “Welcome Home Buddy!”
Other BIG moments
•The second time Dawson-Boyd quarterback Jake Lee he was hit by Cole VanOverbeke and dropped for a two-yard loss.
The senior quarterback never recovered, hit just four of 14 passes and seemed to have one eye always peeled on the Viking defense.
VanOverbeke, who was constantly in the Blackjacks backfield, has three tackles and was part of defensive push that allowed just 121 yards rushing and held the defending Camden Conference running champion Bentley Boike to just 57 yards rushing.
•A 16-yard, smash-mouth run by Cole Sanow for 16 yards that was part of his 103-yard rushing night — which he followed up with a 78-yard dump pass touchdown run that electrified the crowd. Sanow ended with 103 yards rushing and 92 yards receiving for a 195-yard night rushing and receiving.
•A sack by Logan Sussner in the second quarter that caused Lee to choke up the ball that was recovered by Ty Lipinski.
•Thomas Hennen, in his first varsity game at quarterack, passed for 233 yards, rushed for another 53 (including a 37-yard romp on a keeper to set up the fourth touchdown of the first half), and intercepted a pass on defense.
He called his night, “A lot of fun,” although he said the job at quarterback was a long time in coming. He last played the position in eighth grade, when Alex Pohlen emerged as the Viking QB and Hennen was shifted to wide receiver.
In the back of his mind, he was always a quarterback — although he admitted also enjoying the receiver position.
As for this “first performance as a quarterback,” Hennen said, “My line and receivers made it easy.”
•Emergence of LaShad Smith. The diminutive 150-pound, 5-8 sophomore rushed seven times for 151 yards, including a 57-yard romp that set up the Vikings sixth touchdown. He also kicked six of eight extra points (one was blocked).
A fast start
Hennen ran over the first touchdown, an 11-yard scamper off tackle. LaShad Smith kicked the point.
Sanow took the Wildcat (direct snap) and ran nine yards for the second touchdown and Smith responded for the 14-0 lead.
The third score came on a quarterback sneak by Hennen and when Smith kicked the point, it was 21-0 with 6:26 to go in the first half.
It wasn’t until the fourth series when Dawson-Boyd finally stopped Minneota.
But after the sack by Logan Sussner, Minneota took off four the fourth touchdown and with 1.7 seconds on the clock, Hennen passed to Sussner for the touchdown. Smith converted again and it was 28-0 at the half.
“I definately felt I had tocomplete to the best of my ability,” said Hennen.
He was pushed to success by what he his teammates were doing defensively. “The defensive line was so amazing,” Vikings new field general said.
After the game Offensive Coordinator Matt Myrvik told his troops, “You don’t let anything deter you. You step up and improve. We do not take steps backward.”
After a tough game at Sleepy Eye, the coach liked the way the line blocked, the defense rose up and took control of the game.
“Don’t take anything for granted. We build off it,” Myrvik said.
He chuckled and said, “You made plays tonight I didn’t even know what you were doing.”
Coach Johnston added, “We were physical off the bat. Last week we shot ourselves in the foot and we told the kids the key word is discipline. Each guy has to know his assignment.”
The coach said everyone rallied around Rolbiecki and they were “pumped.”
“He’s got quickness and has good hands. He’s a good receiver,” the coach said.
As for Hennen, “He’s a great athlete. He took some shots and just got it done. He was brave to take those shots,” said the coach.
Minneota MASH Unit
The Vikings were being called, “The Minneota MASH unit, with all the walking wounded they are accumulating.
In addition to Jacob Hennen with his arm in a sling and Tanner Sterzinger on crutches and in a “boot,” before the game, the team likely lost junior running back Austin Kloos with an injured knee. He was on crutches over the weekend.
He had a knee hurt earlier in his career, but, “This was the other one,” said Coach Johnston.
Tackle Beau Banish, who has also been treating a sore knee, was icing it after the game.
There are various other bumps and bruises — but the “crutches” have quickly become the ‘symbol’ of theVikings early season.
Minneota 47, Dawson-Boyd 0
Minneota 14 14 13 6 — 47
Dawson-Boyd 0 0 0 0 — 0
M-Thomas Hennen 11 run. PAT-LaShad Smith kick.
M-Cole Sanow 9 run. PAT-Smith kick.
M-Hennen 1 run. PAT-Smith kick.
M-Logan Sussner 8 pass from Hennen. PAT-Smith kick.
M-Sanow 78 pass from Hennen. PAT-Smith kick.
M-Sanow 15 run.. PAT-Smith kick failed.
M-Smith 22 run. PAT-Smith kick blocked.
19 First Downs 8
5-31 Penalties/Yards 3-15
44-320 Rushes/Yards 27-121
233 Passing Yards 91
553 Total Yard 212
RUSHING (No., yds.) Minneota-L. Smith 7-151; Sanow 20-103; T. Hennen 6-53; Kloos 5-7; A. Josephson 2-7; Blake Reiss 4-minus 8. Dawson-Boyd-Bentley Boike 11-57; Colton Husby 7-8; others 9 for 58 yards.
RECEIVING (No., yds.) Minneota-Sanow 2-92; Sussner 2-51; Saltzer 1-34; L. Rolbiecki 1-33; Austin Kloos 2-23. Dawson-Boyd-Josh Anyasike 1 for minus 2; Romell Horton 1-27; Zach Durfee 1-4; Keaton Schuelke 1-33.
PASSING: (No., comp., int., yds.) Minneota-Hennen 13-8-1-233; Dawson-Boyd-Jake Lee 14-4-1-91. Other: 30 yards.
KICKOFFS: (No., yds., avg.) Minneota-Smith 8-278-47.0; Dawson-Boyd-Boike 1-50-50.0.
KICKOFF RETURNS: (No., yds.) Minneota-Smith 1-8; Dawson-Boyd: Horton 3-51; Anyasike 3-50; other 2 for 30.
PUNTING: (No., yds., avg.) Minneota-Alex Saltzer 1-29-29.0. Dawson-Boyd-Boike 4-105-26.3.
FUMBLE RECOVERIES: Minneota-Ty Lipinski; Dawson-Boyd-None.
INTERCEPTIONS: Minneota-Thomas Hennen. Dawson-Boyd: Anyasike.
TACKLES: (Solos, assists) Logan Sussner 3-2; Josh Laleman 2-2; Thomas Hennen 1-0; Blake Reiss 1-5; Cole VanOverbeke 1-1; Layne Lozinski 1-0; Mitchell Rost 1-5; Beau Banish 1-4; Alex Saltzer 1-0; A. J. Myhre 1-1; Jacob Citterman 1-0; Kade Lozinski 1-0; Sanow 0-1; Smith 0-4; Rolbiecki 0-2; Austin Sorenson 0-3; Shawn Buysse 0-10; Alex Lacek 2; Grady Moorse 2; Ty Lipinski 1; James Gednalski 1.
SACKS: Minneota-Sussner, VanOverbeke.