Fairmont soccer is back in business in 2022 | News, Sports, Jobs


BACK TO THE GRIDIRON — Members of the Fairmont Cardinals football team kick off the season by traveling to Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall for a game against the Marshall Tigers on Friday night, front row (from left to right): James Johnson, Jaron Schutz, Taylor Austin, Elijah Johnson, Levi Pooley, Jace Teveldal, Tyler Heckman, Ivan Martin, Devon Szafryk, Gage Cyphers, Caleb Chambers, and Jacob Wiemers. Second row: David Barrientos, Cooper Steuber, assistant coach Brent Schultze, assistant coach Shawn Chambers, assistant coach Jesse Walters, assistant coach Brian Wille, head coach Mat Mahoney, assistant coach Brad Johnson, assistant coach David Shoen, assistant coach Terry Ehlert, Andrés Rhodes, Josiah Brockenhoff and Isaac Taplin. Third Row: John Fernandez, Hadan Toomer, Brock Lutterman, Gunner Wells, Landen Meyerdirk, Dakota Madias, Brendan Schmidtke, Ethan Geerdes, Tyson Thate, Parker Mathiason, Connor Gronewald, Nolan Schultze, and Owen Burmeister. Fourth Row: Cole Wiemers, Hunter Johnson, Mathew Cone, Blaze Geiger, Aden Welcome, Brett Williams, Jacob Singleton, Harmon Schrunk, David Maakestad, Hank Artz, and Nolan Hanson. Back row: Gage Borntrager, Ian Hatfield, Lucas Rosburg, Jamie Mueller, Oliver Tordsen, Sawyer Tordsen, Trevor Maakestad, Reece Buntjer, Gavin Junkermeier and Guy Davis. (Photo by Greg Abel)

FAIRMONT — Mat Mahoney’s 15th season at the helm of the Fairmont soccer program featured a series of impressive milestones: the 100th win of his coaching career on Sept. 17, 2021; the South Central White District championship; and a fifth Class AAA state appearance.

But Mahoney and his Cardinal players felt a bit empty after a 21-6 state quarterfinal loss to Dassel-Cokato last Nov. 13 on the grass of Prior Lake.

“I think we all feel like we have some unfinished business to take care of this season, and the guys have been in the weight room ever since, preparing to return to the field this fall. Now it’s here, and it’s time to keep the dream going.” said Mahoney, who enters his 16th season with an overall record of 106-48 for a stellar .688 winning percentage.

Ironically, Fairmont earned runner-up accolades during Mahoney’s first state appearance in 2011 at the now-defunct Metrodome in Minneapolis before taking second place for the second time in the 2018 Prep Bowl at US Bank Stadium. The Cardinals also earned state berths in 2013, 2017 and last fall.

“We graduated a couple of record-setting players in Zach Jorgensen and Eli Anderson from last year’s team, and you just can’t replace guys like that, but we’re not starting from scratch either.” Mahoney said. “We have two solid receivers (David Maakestad and Levi Pooley), two running backs in Johnson and Johnson (James and Elijah) and two good quarterbacks (Brendan Schmidtke and Blaze Geiger) coming back into our offensive backfield.

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“Our (offensive) line is bigger and stronger, with a lot of experience behind. All five of them (Sawyer Tordsen, Gavin Junkermeier, David Barrientos, Jacob Singleton and Gunner Wells) at one point or another played significant time for us last season, and they’re all very versatile.”

Fairmont generated an impressive 3,711 yards of offense in 2021, with 2,428 passing and the remaining 1,283 rushing.

“We got a little bit heavier on the passing side than we have in the past, so we’re working to balance those numbers a little bit better this season to make it harder for opposing teams to defend against.” Mahoney said.

Schmidtke, a 6-foot, 155-pound senior, connected on 26 of 36 passes for a staggering 406 yards and eight touchdowns, while the 6-foot, 170-pound Geiger was 5 of 6 for 62 yards and a touchdown during his career. sophomore campaign.

“At the end of the day, both (Schmidtke and Geiger) have done a good job under center for us.” Mahoney said. “We won’t know any separation until the lights shine on Friday nights.”

Mahoney and offensive coordinator Brian Wille made a fundamental change to the Cardinals’ offensive backfield since 2021, and opponents will notice.

“We decided to move Hank (Artz) to fullback so he can lead the block and help our line create more run opportunities for us.” Mahoney said in reference to his 6-1, 230-pound third-year starter, who earned postseason honors as an offensive and defensive lineman last fall. “He is an athlete who gives us a diverse set of skills.”

James Johnson returns to running back after finishing second on the Cardinals with 415 yards and a 90-carry TD, and will rotate with younger brother Elijah Johnson and speedy senior Landen Meyerdirk this fall.

Mahoney, however, still plans to utilize the passing skills of both of his quarterbacks, with Maakestad and Pooley returning after putting up strong stats a year ago. Maakestad finished second with 25 receptions for 414 yards and three touchdowns, while Pooley had a dozen throws for 242 yards and four touchdowns.

“Put Nolan Schultze, Brock Lutterman, Cooper Steuber and Jace Teveldal in the mix at the split end and we’ve got six reliable receivers we can go to at any time.” Mahoney said.

The 6-7, 283-pound Tordsen, who is being recruited by a growing number of colleges including Minnesota State University-Mankato, will return at left offensive tackle and will be flanked by starter Barrientos at guard. Junkermeier will fill his role at right guard, with Singleton at tackle and Wells handling center duties. Junior Ethan Geerdes fills out the starting lineup at tight end, with backups Reece Buntjer and Cole Wiemers providing blocking depth in the trenches.

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He turns the field around and defensive coordinator Brad Johnson returns quick and strong at the front seven positions of his 5-2 base lineup, but he’ll have to rebuild around Maakestad in the secondary this fall.

Artz, a fast running back, and Gage Cyphers will handle the final points, while Tordsen and Junkermeier return to the tackle positions flanking 6-5, 295-pound senior nose guard Jamie Mueller.

Parker Mathiason, Tyson Thate and Josiah Brockenhoff will also get reps in the front-row rotation, giving Johnson depth more adept at applying pressure to opposing offenses.

“We will have some flexibility in our defensive line this season, and that should allow us to jump to different teams without having to substitute.” Mahoney said.

Confident Aden Welcome is back at linebacker, and he will be joined by Elijah Johnson and sophomore Caleb Chambers, while Maakestad returns to anchor the secondary.

Mahoney hopes to utilize the speed of James Johnson and Landen Meyerdirk at the safety positions, with Cooper Steuber and Brock Lutterman seeing time at the other cornerback spot. Pooley, Connor Gronewald and Mathew Cone will add depth to the defensive backfield.

Maakestad will handle kickoff and punt duties again, while Owen Burmeister returns as the Cardinals’ placekicker and extra-point specialist. Burmeister made 38 of 45 PATs last season, while Maakestad unleashed nine of Fairmont’s 22 punts for an average of 34.0 yards.

Fairmont will get used to hitting the roads for the first half of the eight-game regular season schedule, opening at Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall at 7 p.m. Friday night before traveling to Floyd B. Johnson Field in St. Peter on Saturday. September 10, for a 1 pm start.

Cardinals host Jordan in Week 3 before making the trip to Waseca during Week 4. Fairmont meets New Ulm for homecoming on Friday, Sept. 30, travels to Worthington during Game 6, hosts Luverne in Week 7 and closes the regular tournament. season by hosting rival Blue Earth Area on Wednesday, October 19 at Mahoney Field in Fairmont.

“It’s a tough schedule to open, but it’s not about how you start the season, it’s about how you finish.” Mahoney said.

Mahoney anticipates Waseca to be one of the main contenders during the Section 3AAA playoffs this fall due to its strong tradition and outstanding coaching staff.

Dave Shoen, Shawn Chambers, Terry Ehlert, Brent Schultze, Eli Redenius and Jesse Walters will round out Mahoney’s coaching staff on the bench and in the booth this season.



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