Not many things slow down Travis Dixon.
A broken neck he suffered last spring hasn't hampered the Pillager Huskies senior.
The Upsala defense couldn't stop the halfback Sept. 9 either. Dixon rushed for 166 yards and two touchdowns. He also intercepted a pass, his second of the game, and returned it 45 yards for another score. Dixon's three touchdowns helped Pillager win 20-0.
"The line was getting off the ball and creating big enough holes for me to get through," said Dixon. "That allowed me to get outside."
Position: Running back, free safety
Key stat: Rushed for 166 yards and two touchdowns and returned an interception for a score.
Despite beating Pillager 43-20 Sept. 1, Royalton also struggled to stop Dixon. He gained 103 yards on 14 carries and scored on runs of five and four yards.
"He's a slasher-style running back," said Pillager coach Derek Schlieve. "He runs pretty hard and he has the speed to break it back against the grain. He also has the durability to carry the ball as many times as we need him to. He doesn't shy away from contact at all."
At 6-foot-1, 190 pounds, the three-year starter isn't the biggest player, but he might be the toughest.
He said he wasn't sure if his neck, broken in two spots, has finished fusing back together.
"I don't think about it at all," said Dixon. "If I made it this far it should be good to go unless something freaky happens."
Dixon, a free safety, is in charge of directing the Pillager secondary. After breaking down film of the Upsala offense he directed himself to the second interception.
"The second pick was on a play we went over in film," said Schlieve. "We broke down the film and we noticed that every time they lined up in a certain formation they threw a quick slot pass. Well he read it and after he caught it no one was going to catch him.
"On the first interception he just made a nice play."
As a junior Dixon rushed for 672 yards and seven touchdowns on 154 carries. He led the Pillager defense with 108 tackles, three interceptions and two fumble recoveries.
"He personifies what we're about here on defense," said Schlieve. "He loves to get in and mix it up. He's coming off a broken neck and he hasn't missed a beat at all. He is just as aggressive, if not more, than he was before the accident."
Other notable performances:
Cross country -- Clayton Foster, Pequot Lakes, won the Pequot Lakes Invitational in 18:23.
Football -- Alan Anderson, Pine River-Backus, rushed for 102 yards and two touchdowns and returned a punt 48 yards for a score against Cass Lake-Bena.
Preston Stearns, Wadena-Deer Creek, was 7-of-12 passing for 203 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for 90 yards and a touchdown against Warroad.
Warren Gall, Pierz, rushed for 110 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries and caught a 49-yard touchdown pass against Rockford.
JEREMY MILLSOP can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5856.
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