CLASS A FOOTBALL: Vikings’ senior class cap prep careers with stellar record
MINNEOTA – When the final horn sounded on Saturday, the Minneota Vikings not only captured its third state championship in four years, but their seniors ended their careers with a mark even more special.
The nine members that make up the senior class for the Vikings finished their careers with more state titles (three) than losses (1), and a 51-1 overall record.
“It’s crazy,” Minneota coach Chad Johnston said. “I hope they understand what they got to be part of. Most of people don’t go through their whole career playing in a state championship game. They got to be a part of three state championship teams in four years.”
A year ago the Vikings suffered an unfamiliar feeling when they lost to the Wabasso Rabbits in the section semifinals. That loss was used as motivation for the returning seniors.
“I think that was something that fueled their fire a little bit after bowing out early last year,” Johnston said. “They were just bound and determined to make it back here again.”
Minneota’s seniors got their storybook ending when they defeated the Rabbits, 28-13.
“It was one of those things that we tried to use as a motivator at the beginning of the game,” Johnston said. “Do you want to be 49-2 and know who your two losses came to.”
The nine seniors on the team include, Brant Buysse, Landon Abraham, Alex Pohlen, Skylar Gilbertson, Isaac Hennen, Tyler Myhre, Lucas Bot, Ethan Krier and Trent Esping. Pohlen said winning the state title is the perfect way to go out.
“I don’t know if it’s more special than the other two,” Pohlen said. “Obviously as a senior it’s huge. I couldn’t have asked for anything better.”
Pohlen finishes his career as the only player in the state of Minnesota that played a state tournament game in three different venues, playing in the Metrodome, TCF Bank Stadium and US Bank Stadium.
In his final game as a Viking, Pohlen scored one rushing touchdown. On defense he recorded two tackles.
Hennen turned in one of his finest performances as a Viking in the championship game. Hennen rushed for 291 yards and three of the four Viking touchdowns. On defense Hennen recorded six tackles.
Krier and Abraham both recorded seven tackles, while Buysse recorded four, Gilbertson had three and Bot and Esping both had one.