Devin Strack is the smallest of Pillager’s three-headed rushing attack.
He’s also the most explosive. The senior running back is a big play waiting to happen.
On just seven carries he rushed for 116 yards, including a 50-yard touchdown, to propel the Pillager Huskies past the Pine River-Backus Tigers in the Section 6-1A semifinals Oct. 27.
Strack also caught three passes for 37 yards in the 51-7 rout.
“He’s been very good all year,” said Pillager head coach Lowell Scearcy. “He’s one of our fastest kids. What Devin does best is he follows his blocking really well. He’s real good at watching what’s in front of him.”
In the Huskies’ 54-14 Section 6-1A quarterfinal victory over West Central Oct. 23, Strack returned a kickoff 82 yards for a score. It was his fourth return for a touchdown this season.
“Our special teams have been awesome and it’s all about my teammates,” Strack said. “It’s not only me, it’s my teammates making blocks. We work a lot on special teams.”
In the Huskies’ final regular season game, Strack needed just eight carries to gain 256 yards rushing. He scored on runs of 54 and 95 yards and returned a kickoff 94 yards.
“It has a lot to do with our offensive line,” said Strack. “They get out there and make the blocks. Last year, was my first year running the sweep and so this year I came into the season I was better able to read the blocks and that has helped me out a lot.”
Strack has gained 713 yards on 58 carries for a 12.3 yards-per-carry average this season. He’s scored 13 touchdowns and added two 2-point conversions. He’s caught 12 passes for 227 yards and another score and even completed a pass for 43 yards.
The biggest surprise, however, has been on the defensive side of the ball.
“He does a good job back at the safety position,” Scearcy said. “He only played offense and special teams last year and we hadn’t planned on putting Devin on defense this year either. But we had a key injury to our secondary and Devin stepped in and he’s played safety ever since.”
Strack has 15 tackles, one interception and one pass breakup.
“I played it as a sophomore so I had a little bit of an idea of what I was doing,” Strack said. “Not many teams throw the ball that much, though. We have a great group of defensive linemen and linebackers so I don’t see a whole lot of action.”
Strack plans on attending Minnesota State Moorhead next year and is debating about maybe competing in athletics. He also plays basketball and is on the track and field team.
“We have a good group of kids, and I know everyone says that about their team, but our 16 seniors are a pretty good group of kids in the school and the community and Devin is one of those guys,” Scearcy said “You hear it from the teachers in the school that his is a good group of kids and we’re all every bit as proud of that as what they do on the athletic field.”
Other notable performances:
Cross country: Will Goodwin and Jude Severson, Crosby-Ironton, qualified for state during the Section 7-1A meet.
Mike Ryan, Pequot Lakes, finished ninth at the Section 8-1A meet to qualify for state.
Matt Neururer, Pillager, finished 10th at the Section 8-1A meet to qualify for state.
Korey Zetah, Staples-Motley, finished eighth at the Section 8-1A meet to qualify for state.
Football: Daniel Hudrlik, Crosby-Ironton, returned a punt 71 yards for a score and a kickoff 79 yards for a score, while rushing for 37 yards and catching one pass for 40 yards against Long Prairie-Grey Eagle.
Jalen Wuchko, Little Falls, rushed for 117 yards and a touchdown against Thief River Falls.
Beau Howard, Pine River-Backus, threw for 113 yards and rushed for 39 yards and a touchdown against Royalton.
Tyler Millner, Pierz, rushed for 116 yards and a touchdown against Breckenridge.
Travis Richards, Pillager, rushed for 133 yards and three touchdowns against West Central.
Jeff Flickinger, Pillager, rushed for 99 yards and two touchdowns against West Central.
Josh Lanners, Pierz, rushed for 164 yards and a touchdown against Holdingford.
Soccer: Jonah Trout, Lake Region, scored three goals against Chisago Lakes.