Mahnomen is the Chippewa word for”wild rice” and Saturday at the Metrodome, the Indiams cultivated another state title as Tom Pavek and Kody Lefebvre rushed for two touchdowns apiece en route to a 44-13 win over the Dawson-Boyd Blackjacks in the Class A championship game.
It was the second consecutive state championship and eighth overall for the northwest Minnesota community of 1,214 inhabitants according to the US Census. The game was also a rematch of the 2011 game between the two schools that was won by Dawson-Boyd 35-20.
The Indians reached the end zone three times in the first quarter. The first came on Pavek’s left side pitch to Lefebvre and he took the ball seven yards for a touchdown. The ball returned to Mahnomen after a fumbled Dawson-Boyd kickoff return that spotted the ball at the Blackjack 40 and Pavek scored on a 10 yd.keeper 17 seconds later. Mahnomen went up by 18 as Bob Bjorge scored on a 36 yd. run.
Dawson-Boyd would end Mahnomen’s run of 18 unanswered points in the second quarter when Joey Lee converted a 9 yard touchdown pass on fourth and three to his brother Michael deep in the end zone. Pavek played the role of receiver on the Indians next touchdown after he handed off to Lefebvre, hustled down field and caught a 44 yard left side pass from Lefebvre to increase their lead to 18. Then it was Austin Reitan’s turn to find the end zone as he ran right to score on a 40 yard run. Mahnomen led 31-7 at the half.
The Lee Brothers took part in the Blackjacks only third quarter touchdowns when Joey completed a seven yard pass to Michael. Pavek, the Indians sophomore quarterback would have his longest run of the game when he darted 61 yards for his second rushing touchdown.
Lefebvre would wrap up the scoring for Mahnomen in the fourth quarter as he ran for 13 yards to give the Indians first and goal at the Dawson-Boyd one yard line and on the next play, he picked up his second touchdown.
Pavek would lead the Indians with 24 carries for 179 yards. Several Prep Bowl records were set and tied. Joey Lee, who led the Blackjacks in passing, attempted 52 passes and completed 27 for 230 yards. He broke Ryan Hulke of Nicollet’s record of 44 that was set in 1999 and Chris Meidt of Minneota’s record of 26 that was set in 1987. Michael Lee had 12 receptions for 107 yards, breaking Eric Hennen of Minneota’s record of 11 also set in 1987. Dawson-Boyd also tied a team record for pass completions with 27, shared with Minneota in 1986.
In a conversation with Don Schoenborn, who was a running back on the 1982 Mahnomen team that played in the first Prep Bowl game against Le Center, he pointed out that five players in Saturday’s Class A final had relatives who played in the inaugural game. Don’s son Jordan, Levi Liebl, the nephew of Doug Liebl, who was killed in a car accident in 1991, Mitchel Foss, the son of lineman Leonard, Jake Refshaw, the son of lineman Corey and Jack Starkey, the son of defensive lineman Bruce.
Mahnomen concluded the season with a record of 13-0 and Dawson-Boyd ended their season 10-2.