Minneota senior DeSmet to play in MFCA All-Star Game

MINNEOTA — When Minneota High School senior Sawyer DeSmet broke into the starting lineup as a sophomore, he was 6-1 and 150 pounds.

Two years later, he’s 6-5 and 205 pounds, and proud to represent Minneota at the Saturday, Dec. 2 Minnesota Football Coaches Association High School All-Star Game, played at US Bank Stadium at 1 p.m. He is on the South team.

“He’s a bottomless pit,” he mother Jasmine quipped about his eating habits.

DeSmet played tight end and defensive end at Minneota, which recently won its second consecutive Class A state title, defeating Springfield for the second straight year in the title game.

DeSmet is the youngest of three children in the Richard and Jasmine DeSmet family. Older brother Landon also played for the Vikings, and sister Mattea has supported their gridiron exploits through the years.

DeSmet reported to “camp” this past Tuesday. The team will have two-a-day practices as well as a number of banquets and speakers associated with the honor of being selected as one of the best players in the state. The South team will practice in the Minnetonka Dome.

And he won’t have a lot of rest between seasons. After Saturday’s game, DeSmet will join the basketball team Monday as it prepares for its 2023-24 season.

He was a sophomore when Landon was a senior and his older brother has been an important part of “Team DeSmet.” Sawyer has drawn interest from several colleges in the region and Landon has put together highlight films to send to schools wishing to recruit the talented senior. He’s also given him advice about the recruiting process.

DeSmet is not sure where his football journey will take him, but he is sure he wants to become a veterinarian in his future professional life.

He said the colleges that are recruiting him see him as more of a defensive end. Given how he’s grown and matured over the past two years, it’s hard to fathom how he will grow and mature in a college program, where diet/nutrition and weight training play such a big part of the transition from high school to college ball.

Minneota football has become a real machine in the state and the success of the program has a cornerstone of commitment that has been passed from former head coach Gerald Meidt to current coach Chad Johnston. High school players set the example in the summer month for the younger players.

“They see the varsity players lifting, participating in 7-on-7 drills, the young kids want to do it, too, he said.

It also helps that there’s an offensive consistency from the youngsters to the varsity. “You aren’t learning a new offense each year, you are refining what you learned in the younger grades. It’s consistent. We don’t have a huge playbook.”

His second state title was a bit more meaningful, he said, simply because he knew it would be the final time he’d play as a Minneota Viking. “I think that when it got to be 14-0 (in the championship game), that’s a memory I’ll take forward — I had a good feeling, we were doing well and had momentum.”

Once they reached the state tournament, the Vikings rolled to the title by scores of 55-0, 63-6 and 43-22. Getting to the state tournament proved the biggest test for the team. “BOLD was a very good team, disciplined,” he said. The Vikings beat BOLD 42-28 in the regular season, and 14-6 in the section championship. “That was like a state game, just getting out of the section,” he said.

He’ll take with him many memories and though he’s not sure where his path will lead in then future, he’s sure of one thing: “It’s hard to say goodbye to football.”


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