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Prep Bowl: Dawson-Boyd falls in Class A title game

Dawson-Boyd wide receiver Michael Lee hauls in one of his two touchdown passes against Mahnomen in the Class A state championship game Saturday at the Metrodome. The Blackjacks lost 46-13 but Lee set a Prep Bowl record with 12 receptions. Tribune photo by Rand Middleton.1 / 2
Dawson-Boyd quarterback Joey Lee set Prep Bowl records for completions (27) and attempts (52) in the Class A state championship game Saturday at the Metrodome. Despite Lee's record-setting performance, the Blackjacks fell to defending champ Mahnomen 46-13. Tribune photo by Rand Middleton.2 / 2

MINNEAPOLIS – It seemed like the Dawson-Boyd football team had barely stepped off their bus and Mahnomen was ahead by three touchdowns.

The defending Class A state champions played nearly perfect ball while Dawson-Boyd never had a chance and the Indians claimed the 2013 Prep Bowl championship 46-13 on Saturday at the Metrodome.

Mahnomen scored on a lengthy game-opening drive, then recovered the ensuing squib kick and needed just two plays to score again. After the Blackjacks went three-and-out, the Indians scored a third touchdown in three plays.

“We ran three plays and were down 18-0,” said Dawson-Boyd head coach Cory Larson. “That’s tough to bounce back from.”

It was the second time in three years the teams met in the Class A title game, with Dawson-Boyd winning in 2011. Last year, Mahnomen defeated Bethlehem Academy for the championship. The Blackjacks finished 12-2 while Mahnomen wrapped up its second straight 14-0 season, their last loss coming 35-20 to Dawson-Boyd in the ’11 title game.

“It’s an awesome feeling,” said Mahnomen quarterback Tom Pavek, who ran for two touchdowns and caught a pass for a third. “It’s the best feeling in the world.”

The Blackjacks will have plenty to console themselves in the days ahead. They won the 2011 championship and reached the state semifinals last year. They are 37-4 those three years and 46-6 the last four years.

“It just wasn’t our day but it’s tough not to look back on it and say it wasn’t a great year,” said D-B quarterback Joey Lee. “That’s the way things happen. Things bounced their way and, give them credit, they did a great job of making things happen.”

“This loss is hard,” said Blackjacks lineman Keith Abraham, “but it’s been a good year. It’s been a good three years. We busted our butts and we can’t wait to watch them next year.”

The Blackjacks were missing any semblance of a running game, with leading rusher Dalton Palmer essentially sidelined offensively with an ankle injury. D-B, which averaged 245 yards on the ground the previous 13 games, were held to 21 yards on 13 attempts Saturday.

“That’s what we wanted to do,” Pavek said. “Shut down their run and make them throw the ball.”

And throw they did. Joey Lee set Prep Bowl records with 27 completions in 52 attempts, and wide receiver Michael Lee set a Prep Bowl record with 12 receptions. He totaled 112 yards and caught both of D-B’s touchdowns.

“Dalton wasn’t going to be effective,” Larson said, “but give them credit: We were banged up at the running back position but they did a great job against run.”

 This is the eighth state football championship for Mahnomen. Over the last three state tournaments, the Indians are 8-1, the only loss was 35-20 to the Jacks in the 2011 Prep Bowl final, also their last loss.

Indians starting linebacker Trevor Haugo was a starter on that team.

"They beat us two years ago," said Haugo, "so we had that on our minds to get even." 

Football is huge in Mahnomen, he added. 

"The stands are full of people every game and others are in their cars around the field watching. As kids we grew up watching the older kids succeed and we wanted to be like them."

Indian fans wore shirts with a slogan "Other teams 'play' football Mahnomen 'lives' football."

Tom Larson

Tom Larson is the sports editor of the West Central Tribune.

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