No. 7 Fairmont football hits road to Jordan in Week 3
FAIRMONT — Sept. 7, 2018. Jordan defeated Fairmont, 45-26, during a Week 2 football clash at Mahoney Field.
Ironically, the regular-season loss proved a pivotal turning point for the hometown team as the Cardinals reeled off 10 consecutive victories to capture Class AAA state runner-up honors to Rochester Lourdes.
Three years later, the Class AAA No. 7-ranked Cardinals hit the road to Jordan on Friday night to square off against the unranked Class AAAA Hubmen for a Week 3 turf battle of early-season unbeatens.
Ozzie Sand, who earned a promotion from offensive coordinator to head coach at Jordan due to Bo Wasurick’s departure to Anoka, has used a spread offense and 3-4 defense to produce back-to-back road wins this fall.
“Jordan’s quarterback (Noah Millhouse) throws a nice ball, read defenses well and makes good decisions,” said Mat Mahoney, who’s in his 15th season at the Cardinals’ helm. “Their screen and run games will keep defenses off-balanced, so we’ll have to make sure to stick to our defensive assignments Friday night.
“When you look at their offense, it looks fairly similar to us — a quarterback who can both throw and run, with a number of talented teammates surrounding him.”
Indeed. Millhouse and Fairmont signal-caller Zach Jorgensen each threw for four touchdowns during their respective programs’ Week 2 wins.
Jorgensen amassed 269 yards through the air, paced by three TDs to split end Eli Anderson, and another six-pointer to David Maakestad to help trigger the Cardinals’ 36-16 decision over St. Peter.
Millhouse mirrored Jorgensen’s passing performance by connecting on scoring strikes of 35, 12 and 38 yards, respectively, to split end Ashton Sivilay, while rounding out his four-score effort with a 10-yarder to running back David Buesgens in the Hubmen’s 41-16 triumph over New Ulm last week. Buesgens also added TD runs from 8 and 5 yards out, respectively.
“No. 2 (Sivilay) makes a lot of big plays and is an elusive receiver once he gets the football in his hands, so we’ll have to defend not only north and south, but east and west, too,” said Mahoney. “Then again, we’ve got a couple of guys on our offense they’ll have to worry about, too.”
The backfield trio of Jorgensen, James Johnson and Gavin Rodning rushed for 57, 54 and 43 yards, respectively, to pack offensive punch to the Cardinals’ lethal passing attack against the Saints last Friday night.
Jordan will look to use a 3-4 defensive alignment to counter Fairmont’s high-octane offense, with 6-foot-2, 255-pound senior nose guard Zach Schlicht jamming up the middle.
“They have a couple of big guys up front in Schlicht and (250-pounder Peyton) Nawrocki, and like to bring pressure with timely blitzes,” said Mahoney. “We’ll have to be prepared for whatever they send at us.”
So, what does the Cardinal mentor think will be the key to only one team exiting the turf at Jordan still undefeated?
“It still comes down to which team can prevent the other from making a big play,” said Mahoney. “We’ve focused on a couple of aspects this week. One, reduce our penalties — 17 for 185 yards in two games is way too many, and when we get in the red zone, get points out of the possession.”
NOTES: Blue Earth Area climbed one spot to No. 2 in this week’s Minnesota Associated Press’ Class AA state football rankings.
Blooming Prairie remained atop the Class AA poll, with Pipestone Area and Redwood Valley following in the Nos. 3 and 4 positions, respectively.
Waseca holds down the No. 9 spot in the Class AAA football voting, while Mountain Lake Area remained No. 1 in the 9-Man poll.