Barnum blanked by MahnomenQuarterback Jacob Pavek passed for a touchdown and ran for two others to lead the No.1 Indians over Barnum 26-0 in a Class A state quarterfinal at a soggy Public Schools Stadium in Duluth.
By: Tyler Korby, Pine Journal
DULUTH – Barnum senior Daniel Warpula said the football was wet, and tough to throw, catch and hang on to. As uncontrollable as the weather was Saturday afternoon, so was top-ranked Mahnomen.
Quarterback Jacob Pavek passed for a touchdown and ran for two others to lead the No.1 Indians over Barnum 26-0 in a Class A state quarterfinal at a soggy Public Schools Stadium in Duluth.
Pavek, a senior, totaled a game-leading 179 rushing yards on 27 carries, while throwing for 48 more during a wetter-than-normal contest. Despite fumbling the game’s first snap, the 6-foot-3, 190-pound Pavek had a hand in three of the Indians’ four scores on the day, running for touchdowns of 1 and 21 yards, and using his left hand to find Nathan Hanson on a 35-yard passing strike.
“It was wet, it was cold, but we just got our feet under us, got going and played football,” Pavek said. “The ball was slick, but we’ve played in some snow and a few mud bowls ourselves.”
Unbeaten Mahnomen (12-0), last season’s Class A runners-up, continue their quest to the Prep Bowl, facing Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City in a state semifinal Saturday at the Metrodome in Minneapolis.
Rain, wind and slippery conditions contributed to nine fumbles in the opening two quarters last Saturday, as the Indians led 14-0 at halftime and never trailed en route to their eighth shutout in 12 games this fall. Overall, they’ve allowed 43 points in 576 minutes and are now in their school’s 21st overall state tournament appearance.
“They were big, fast, and strong – they’re number one in state,” said Warpula, a 1,100-yard running back for the Bombers, who totaled negative yardage on four carries against Mahnomen. “We worked on stuff at practice all week, but didn’t expect that great of a defense. There were no openings at all. They shut our run down.”
Barnum netted only 99 yards of total offense and six first downs the entire day, while turning the ball over seven times.
“We ran into a buzz saw,” Bombers Coach Brian Robertson said of the Indians. “We got a first down or two, but once we did get going, they put us in tough situations and shut us down. They’re definitely going to be a tough [beat], that’s for sure.”
Barnum finished 9-3, marking their third state appearance in seven years. Robertson was positive after the game.
“I’ve been proud of them since day one,” he said. “We won the conference for the first time in six years, won the section again and got a chance to play at the state tournament. That’s all I can ask for.”
“It was a great season; we’re proud,” Warpula said. “We wanted to get to the Dome, but we have nothing to hang our heads about.”
Mahnomen now plays on, not forgetting how they got there.
“That’s a good football team,” Mahnomen Coach John Clark said of Barnum. “The weather played a part in the game today, but we’ll take it and get out of town. We have a lot of respect for them. You can tell they do things right. No way did we expect a shutout today.”