MN Football: Mahnomen-Waubun Vies For Class A Championship

Mahnomen-Waubun defense held five teams scoreless this season

MAHNOMEN, Minn. — The (9-0) Mahnomen-Waubun Thunderbirds defense has given their crowd something to cheer about all season long.

“Our boys are very aggressive, they’re very athletic and fortunately for us they like contact and they like to hit and they get after it,” Mahnomen-Waubun head coach John Clark, Jr. said.

“They say defense wins championships, so I think that’s something that we stress pretty hard,” senior running back Parker Syverson added.

Their defense held five teams scoreless this season, which is a big reason they’ll vie for a title this Saturday. But their opponent, BOLD (13-0) is perhaps equally as dominant.

“BOLD is a very good team, obviously,” coach Clark said. “They’ve pretty much had their way with every opponent they played. They’re big, and they’re fast, and they’re strong and they’re very aggressive too.”

Given BOLD’s talent, the Thunderbirds are reminding one another of a motto that’s gotten them this far.

“Every play will be important in the championship game,” coach Clark said. “The other team will make some plays and our motto all year long has been ‘win the next play anyway,’ so it’s just going to be a case of that. Win the next play, forget about what happened, learn from it, but forget about it.”

Clark’s student-athletes agree that motto will come be useful in the championship.

“It’ll come very handy this weekend because if they get a big play we’ll just have to come in and win the next play and make sure we stop them,” senior defensive back William Bly said.

“Yeah it doesn’t matter what the previous play was, if it was good or bad,” Syverson added. “I think you have to forget it and do your job on that given play.”

If they can each do their jobs for four full quarters, the payoff, especially for the seniors, will be worth the hard work.

“It’d mean everything,” senior quarterback Jon Starkey said. “I was a manager on this team in 5th and 6th grade when they won a state championship and I always wanted to do that.”

“It’d mean a lot to all of us, especially us seniors who have been working together since we were in 5th grade out on the playground,” Bly agreed. “Waubun kids it’s the third straight trip to state, Mahnomen it’s the fourth straight and to finally win one would be awesome.”

“It’s been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember to win a state championship in anything, but I think especially football,” Syverson said. “Just growing up around here that’s been the thing, football, and it’d mean a lot to me.”

And with football being a staple in the community, the team knows the Thunderbird fans will flock to the big game.

“You really can’t go anywhere without somebody talking football and asking you about the next game and about the team and wishing you good luck,” coach Clark said. “Both communities have just been outstanding and our following has gotten bigger and bigger. We’re looking for a packed section down there. We can’t pack that place, but we can pack a section.”

Prior to the 2018 season, Mahnomen football had eight championships in school history and reached the state tournament every year since 2010.
Waubon had claimed two section championships.

Together they’ll battle for the title at U.S. Bank Stadium, Saturday at 10:00 a.m.

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