MINNEAPOLIS - The last time any team defeated Mahnomen came in 2011 when Dawson-Boyd beat the Indians in the 2011 Class A state championship, so if any team were to snap No. 1-ranked Mahnomen's 27-game winning streak it might as well been the Blackjacks.
But fifth-ranked Dawson-Boyd had little answer to the Indians' vaunted running game in a 46-13 loss Saturday at the Metrodome.
"There's only really one team that end their season with tears of joy," Blackjacks head coach Cory Larson said. "Certainly it wasn't us today. To see the pain in their faces it's tough."
Photo by Nick Gerhardt
Dawson-Boyd junior Michael Lee makes a leaping touchdown catch Saturday in the Class A state title game against No. 1-ranked Mahnomen at the Metrodome in Minneapolis. Lee set a Prep Bowl record for most receptions in a game with 12 in a 46-13 loss.
Dawson-Boyd got ahead 21-6 at halftime when the two teams met in 2011, but in the second meeting Mahnomen rushed out to a 12-0 lead before the Blackjacks even had an offensive possession.
A 7-yard touchdown from Indians running back Kody Lefebvre put Mahnomen up 6-0 and the Indians recovered the ensuing kickoff. Mahnomen needed just two plays to go up 12-0 after sophomore quarterback Tom Pavek rushed for 30 yards on the first play of the drive and capped it off with a 10-yard touchdown run.
Pavek rushed for 179 yards and two touchdowns as the Indians put up 482 yards of total offense, 399 of which came on the ground. Mahnomen came into the game averaging 41.2 points per game while only giving up an average of 3.3 points per game.
"From the start I thought Mahnomen looked very hungry," Larson said. "I don't want to say they were looking for revenge, they were certainly ready to play and had some good things happen early, kept the momentum on their side. The other big difference was we didn't turn the ball over two years ago against Mahnomen and they did. Today was kind of the other way around."
When Pavek wasn't finding seams in the defense running backs Austin Reitan, Lefebvre and Bob Bjorge did the job. Reitan finished with 79 yards on six carries and a touchdown while Lefebvre ran 10 times for 67 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Bjorge had 51 yards and a touchdown.
Dawson-Boyd (12-2) struggled to run the ball, especially without junior running back and leading rusher Dalton Palmer sidelined with an ankle injury. The Blackjacks had just 21 yards rushing and Palmer did not have a carry in the game.
"It wasn't necessarily us being a little banged up at the running back position, they're just very good against the run," Larson said. "Teams that run the ball that well, probably also are going to be pretty stout against the run defensively."
Dawson-Boyd went to the air frequently with senior quarterback Joey Lee and junior wide receiver Michael Lee. Joey Lee set a Prep Bowl record for most completions and attempts in a game by going 27 of 52 passing for 230 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Michael Lee also set a Prep Bowl record for most receptions in a game with 12 and finished with 107 yards receiving with two touchdowns for the Blackjacks.
The Indians (14-0) took an 18-0 lead by the end of the first quarter and Dawson-Boyd didn't score until 1 minute, 10 seconds into the second quarter when Joey Lee found Michael Lee for a 9-yard touchdown pass to make it an 18-7 game.
Just as the Blackjacks started to get back into the game, Mahnomen answered back quickly with a nine-play, 68-yard drive that culminated in Lefebvre throwing a 44-yard halfback pass to Pavek for a touchdown. The pass came on a third-and-11.
Dawson-Boyd fumbled on its next possession and the Indians recovered at the Blackjacks 47-yard line. Three plays later Reitan scored from 40 yards out to build a 31-7 lead.
Dawson-Boyd scored on its second possession of the second half after 13-play, 79-yard drive that ate up 5:07 when Joey Lee found Michael Lee for a 7-yard touchdown that cut the lead to 31-13.
Pavek answered back immediately with a 61-yard touchdown run on the opening play from scrimmage following the kickoff as Mahnomen refused to cede any momentum to the Blackjacks to grab a 38-13 lead.
The Indians got the ball back with 13 seconds to play in the third quarter and produced a clock-killing drive that last 6:35. Lefebvre scored his second touchdown of the game on a 1-yard run to cap off a 16-play, 91-yard drive that started after Dawson-Boyd failed to convert a fourth-and-goal from the 9-yard line. The Blackjacks failed to convert two fourth down chances inside the red zone in the game.
Mahnomen held the ball for more eight minutes in both the first and fourth quarters to continually wear down the Blackjacks on defense.
"We knew what they were going to do, but it was all about sticking to our assignments and we did that a couple of times," Joey Lee said. "We just weren't disciplined enough throughout the game, every single time and they had a few big plays where guys made the wrong reads or guys tackled the wrong guy. They did a good job. They kicked our butt is what it basically comes down to."
Dawson-Boyd finished with 251 yards of total offense and had two turnovers. The Blackjacks had two 1,000-yard rushers on the season in Palmer and Anyasike, but the Indians held them to just 21 yards. Dawson-Boyd also went 2 of 12 on third-down conversions and allowed Mahnomen to convert 9 of 12 attempts.
Mahnomen won its eighth state championship in school history with the victory. The Indians defeated Bethlehem Academy 20-14 in last year's championship and have been to the state playoffs the past four consecutive years. Mahnomen has appeared in 22 state playoffs.
The Blackjacks lost in the semifinals last season to Bethlehem Academy 29-20 and the senior class for Dawson-Boyd finishes with just six losses in four years.
"It's frustrating at times," Michael Lee said. "Playing for a state championship, it's a tough way to go out. We made it here. It's was a fun ride. I enjoyed it."
MSHSL PREP BOWL CLASS A FOOTBALL STATE TOURNAMENT
At Metrodome, Minneapolis
Mahnomen 46, Dawson-Boyd 13
Dawson-Boyd 0760 - 13
Mahnomen 181378 - 46
M - Kody Lefebvre 7 run (Tom Pavek kick failed), 6:25
M - Pavek 10 run (Pavek run failed), 6:08
M - Bob Bjorge 36 run (Austin Reitan run failed), 3:51.
DB - Michael Lee 9 pass from Joey Lee (Easton Popma kick), 10:50.
M - Pavek 44 run (Pavek kick), 6:04.
M - Reitan 40 run (Pavek kick failed), 4:53.
DB - Michael Lee 7 pass from Joey Lee (Joey Lee pass intercepted), 3:42.
M - Pavek 61 run (Pavek kick), 3:21.
M - Lefebvre 1 run (Reitan run), 5:38.
TEAM STATISTICS DB M
First Downs 17 20
Total Net Yards 251 482
Rushes-Yards 13-21 54-399
Passing Yards 230 83
Cmp.-Att.-Int. 27-52-1 3-5-0
Return Yards 150 253
Punts-Avg. 1-31 1-14
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 2-0
Penalties-Yards 3-21 8-59
Time of Possession 21:28 26:24
Third-Down Conversions 2 of 12 9 of 12
Fourth-Down Conversions 4 of 9 0 of 2
Red-Zone Scores-Chances 2-4 3-3
Sacked-Yards Lost 0-0 0-0
RUSHING - Dawson-Boyd (Michael Anyasike 7-14, Joey Lee 6-7); Mahnomen (Pavek 24-179, Reitan 6-79, Lefebvre 10-67, Bjorge 4-51, Trevor Haugo 5-16, Mitch Foss 1-5, Jerell Londo 1-2, Brian Schoenborn 1-0).
PASSING - Dawson-Boyd (Joey Lee 27-52-230-2-1); Mahnomen (Pavek 2-4-39-0-0, Lefebvre 1-1-44-1-0).
RECEIVING - Dawson-Boyd (Michael Lee 12-107, Noah Stelter 5-56, Karson Lindblad 2-17, Kyler Collins 3-16, Anyasike 2-14, Jordan Bothun 2-13, Hunter Olson 1-7); Mahnomen (Lefebvre 2-39, Pavek 1-44).
TACKLES - Dawson-Boyd (Collins 11, Lindblad 8, Noah Stelter 5, Jamie Arvold 4, Jake Lehmann 3, Michael Lee 3, Keith Abraham 3, Joey Lee 2, Christian Thoen 2, Dalton Palmer 2, Anyasike 2, Olson 1, Bothun 1, Wyatt Ireland 1, Aaron Redmond 1, Zach Stratmoen 1); Mahnomen (Kody Lefebvre 8, Kole Lefebvre 6, Nathan Hanson 5, Reitan 4, Trevor Haugo 3, John Francis 3, Kal Handyside 2, Bjorge 2, Kurt Francis 2, Gabe Large 1, Luke Warnsholz 1, Daniel Olson-Agiular 1, Pavek 1, Hawk LaFriniere 1, Anthony Sanchez 1, Levi Liebl 1).
SACKS - Dawson-Boyd (none); Mahnomen (none).
INTERCEPTIONS - Dawson-Boyd (none); Mahnomen (Kody Lefebvre).