FAIRMONT — Mat Mahoney’s fifteenth season on the Fairmont soccer program’s helm consisted of various spectacular milestones — the one centesimal victory of his teaching profession on Sept. 17, 2021; the South Central White District championship; and a fifth Class AAA state look.
However Mahoney and his Cardinal gamers felt a bit empty on the heels of a 21-6 state quarterfinal loss to Dassel-Cokato final Nov. 13 on the turf at Prior Lake.
“I feel all of us really feel like we’ve bought some unfinished enterprise to care for this season, and the fellows have been within the weight room ever since, getting ready for returning to the sector this fall. Now it’s right here, and it’s time to maintain the dream going,” stated Mahoney, who enters his sixteenth season with a 106-48 total file for a stellar successful proportion of .688.
Paradoxically, Fairmont captured runner-up accolades throughout Mahoney’s first-ever state look in 2011 on the now-defunct Metrodome in Minneapolis earlier than garnering second place for a second time within the 2018 Prep Bowl at U.S. Financial institution Stadium. The Cardinals additionally netted state berths in 2013, 2017 and final fall.
“We graduated a few record-setting gamers in Zach Jorgensen and Eli Anderson from final yr’s group, and also you merely can’t substitute guys like that, however we’re not ranging from scratch both,” stated Mahoney. “We’ve bought two stable receivers (David Maakestad and Levi Pooley), two operating backs in Johnson and Johnson (James and Elijah) and two good quarterbacks (Brendan Schmidtke and Blaze Geiger) returning to our offensive backfield.
“Our (offensive) line is larger and stronger, with a whole lot of expertise again. All 5 (Sawyer Tordsen, Gavin Junkermeier, David Barrientos, Jacob Singleton and Gunner Wells) at one time or one other performed important time for us final season, and so they’re all very versatile.”
Fairmont generated a formidable 3,711 whole yards of offense in 2021, with 2,428 coming via the air and the remaining 1,283 on the bottom.
“We grew to become a little bit heavier on the passing aspect than prior to now, so we’re engaged on balancing out these numbers a little bit higher this season to make us tougher to defend for opposing groups,” stated Mahoney.
Schmidtke, a 6-foot, 155-pound senior, related on 26 of 36 passes for a staggering 406 yards and eight touchdowns, whereas the 6-1, 170-pound Geiger accomplished 5 of 6 throws for 62 yards and one rating throughout his sophomore marketing campaign.
“On the finish of the day, each (Schmidtke and Geiger) have achieved good jobs below heart for us,” stated Mahoney. “We gained’t know any separation till the lights get vivid on Friday nights.”
Mahoney and offensive coordinator Brian Wille made one pivotal change to the Cardinals’ offensive backfield since 2021, and opponents will take discover.
“We determined to maneuver Hank (Artz) to fullback so he can lead-block and assist our line create extra operating probabilities for us,” Mahoney stated in reference to his 6-1, 230-pound third-year starter, who earned postseason honors as each an offensive and defensive lineman final autumn. “He’s an athlete who provides us a various abilities set.”
James Johnson returns to a operating again spot after ending second on the Cardinals with 415 yards and one TD on 90 carries, and can rotate with youthful sibling Elijah Johnson and speedy senior Landen Meyerdirk this fall.
Mahoney, nevertheless, nonetheless plans to make the most of his two quarterbacks’ passing abilities, with Maakestad and Pooley returning after handing over stable statistics a yr in the past. Maakestad completed No. 2 with 25 catches for 414 yards and three TDs, whereas Pooley hauled in a dozen tosses for 242 yards and 4 scores.
“Put Nolan Schultze, Brock Lutterman, Cooper Steuber and Jace Teveldal into the combination at break up finish and we’ve bought six dependable receivers we are able to go to at any time,” stated Mahoney.
The 6-7, 283-pound Tordsen, who’s being recruited by a rising variety of schools together with Minnesota State College-Mankato, will return to left offensive sort out and be flanked by returning starter Barrientos at guard. Junkermeier will fill his proper guard function, with Singleton at sort out and Wells dealing with the snapping duties. Junior Ethan Geerdes rounds out the beginning line at tight finish, with reserves Reece Buntjer and Cole Wiemers offering blocking depth within the trenches.
Flip the sector and defensive coordinator Brad Johnson returns quickness and power within the entrance seven positions of his 5-2 base alignment, however must rebuild round Maakestad within the secondary this fall.
Artz, a quick-twitch rusher, and Gage Cyphers will deal with the tip spots, whereas Tordsen and Junkermeier return to the sort out positions in flanking 6-5, 295-pound senior nostril guard Jamie Mueller.
Parker Mathiason, Tyson Thate and Josiah Brockenhoff additionally will get reps within the frontline rotation, giving Johnson extra expert depth to use strain onto opposing offenses.
“We’ll have some flexibility in our line of defense this season, and that ought to permit us to leap to totally different units with out having to sub out,” stated Mahoney.
The sure-handed Aden Welcome is again at linebacker, and shall be joined by Elijah Johnson and sophomore Caleb Chambers, whereas Maakestad returns to anchor the secondary.
Mahoney expects to make the most of the velocity of James Johnson and Landen Meyerdirk on the security positions, with Cooper Steuber and Brock Lutterman seeing time on the different cornerback spot. Pooley, Connor Gronewald and Mathew Cone will add depth to the defensive backfield.
Maakestad will deal with each the kickoff and punting duties once more, whereas Owen Burmeister returns because the Cardinals’ placekicker and extra-points specialist. Burmeister made 38 of 45 PATs final season, whereas Maakestad unleashed 9 of Fairmont’s 22 punts for a 34.0-yard common.
Fairmont will get used to hitting the highways for the primary half of the eight-game regular-season schedule, opening at Southwest Minnesota State College in Marshall at 7 p.m. Friday evening earlier than touring to Floyd B. Johnson Discipline in St. Peter on Saturday, Sept. 10, for a 1 p.m. kickoff.
The Cardinals play host to Jordan in Week 3 earlier than making the journey to Waseca throughout Week 4. Fairmont faces New Ulm for Homecoming on Friday, Sept. 30, travels to Worthington throughout Sport 6, performs host to Luverne in Week 7 and closes the common season by internet hosting rival Blue Earth Space on Wednesday, Oct. 19, at Mahoney Discipline in Fairmont.
“It’s a troublesome schedule to open with, but it surely’s not the way you begin the season, however the way you end,” stated Mahoney.
Mahoney anticipates Waseca being one of many high rivals throughout the Part 3AAA playoffs this fall attributable to its sturdy custom and excellent teaching workers.
Dave Shoen, Shawn Chambers, Terry Ehlert, Brent Schultze, Eli Redenius and Jesse Walters will spherical out Mahoney’s teaching workers alongside the sideline and within the sales space this season.