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Rahn’s senior year to come full circle at Fairmont High School

JARRING TACKLE — Fairmont Cardinals defensive lineman Jacob Rahn (55) jars the football loose as he tackles Belle Plaine running back Cole Brown (40) during a regular-season game Oct. 4 at Mahoney Field in Fairmont. Rahn opened his senior school year on the gridiron last fall and is slated to close it out with graduation at Mahoney Field on June 7. (Photo by Greg Abel/Sentinel Archives)

FAIRMONT — Three-sport standout Jacob Rahn’s senior year at Fairmont High School will come full circle in 32 days.

The 6-foot-3, 210-pound Rahn kicked off his final prep football campaign within the friendly confines of Mahoney Field last August before wrestling his way to the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul with the state runner-up Martin County Red Bulls during the last three days of February.

Now, Rahn can only play the waiting game through a statewide spring sports shutdown — due to the COVID-19 pandemic — that halted his track & field season before he officially either heaved the shot or hurled a discus one final time.

Ironically, the two-time Sentinel All-Area football selection will take his final steps as a prep student on Mahoney Field at 3 p.m. Sunday, June 7, in a modified graduation ceremony.

“We (senior class) were told the (tentative) plan for graduation will be students and administration only at the football field, and it will be live-streamed (by Gemini Studios) so that family and friends can watch,” said Rahn. “If that’s what happens, I’ll be a little disappointed that my family can’t be there in person to watch me graduate.”

Hopefully, if the nation can flatten the coronavirus curve within the next couple of months, those people nearest and dearest to Rahn will be able to completely share the next milestone in his life during the upcoming fall.

Fittingly, the 2019 South Central Silver District Defensive Lineman of the Year will play in the defensive trenches for the Dordt University Defenders football team in Sioux Center, Iowa, as a true collegiate freshman.

“I made my decision to commit to Dordt in December,” Rahn said in reference to the NAIA football program that’s coming off a 7-4 season last fall. “During the entire recruiting process, out of all the schools interested, they showed they were committed to me. The coaching staff made an effort to get to know me, visited our school and watched a couple of my games in person. All of that made my decision easier.”

While the two-year, two-way starting lineman played integral roles in powering the Cardinals to Minnesota Class AAA state runner-up football honors and a share of the South Central Red District championship in 2018 before helping engineer the South Central Silver District crown and a fifth straight appearance in the Section 3 finals in 2019, Rahn’s most difficult task was deciding which athletic endeavor to pursue at the next level.

“I received some offers for wrestling, but it came down to going to a school I felt was the right fit for me and that was Dordt,” said Rahn, who grappled his way to a fifth-place individual state medal in the 2020 Class AA 195-pound weight class. “I was really torn between wrestling and football.”

Red Bulls head wrestling coach Adam Williamson anticipated that Rahn would have the option to compete on either the canvas or the gridiron at the collegiate level due to his work ethic, athleticism and intelligence.

“Jake came a long way the last couple of years for us on the mat,” Williamson said in reference to Rahn, who struck gold at both the Big South and Valley Conference Meets this winter. “He’s one of our most improved wrestlers, and definitely was a huge part of our program’s success.

“He was a bit of a late bloomer in wrestling, but ironically, he earned his 100th career win in capturing fifth place at the state individual meet. What a way to end your (prep wrestling) career!”

Similar to his skills set on the canvas, Rahn utilized his strength and quickness to take down 102 ball carriers during the course of a combined overall 19-4 record during his two-year tenure on the football field.

The Fairmont football co-captain also provided pass protection and created running room on the ground for an offense that amassed 3,050 yards of total offense and a 32.3-point scoring clip in 2019.

“He’s a lunch-pail, hard-working, blue-collar kind of football player,” said Fairmont head football coach Mat Mahoney. “He’s a humble leader who gets the job done quietly and efficiently.

“At the end of the day, he’s gonna be successful at whatever he chooses to do in life.”

Rahn plans to major in health & human performance at Dordt, followed by a potential career as an athletic trainer and/or physical therapist.

But for now, Rahn will finish his CIS (college in school) courses via distance-learning online and continue to complete his daily football workouts sent to him via an “app” from Dordt.

With only about a month remaining in his high school days, what moment in time stands out to Rahn?

“I think being told by my parents and teachers that I was a role model that kids could look up to, and that means a lot,” said Rahn.

Ironically, Rahn also has experienced a small silver lining created by the current stay-at-home scenario.

“I’ve enjoyed spending more time with my family, but I’ve actually had time to focus on something I haven’t been good at in the past — cooking,” Rahn said with a chuckle. “I’d better improve at that when I go to college.”

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