ST. CLOUD - Only two men have won more than 307 games in Minnesota State High School League football history.
And they coach about 45 miles apart.
Verndale's Mike Mahlen is the leader with 309 wins after the Pirates' 56-12 thrashing of Hillcrest Academy on Friday.
Next is Brainerd's Ron Stolski, who has 308 wins after the Warriors' 21-2 victory over St. Cloud Apollo on Friday.
"Again, it's a tribute to all the coaches that we've coached with and all the kids who have played for us," Stolski said.
Scott Parsons played in several victories when Stolski was head coach at Park Center. Parsons is in his 31st year as Warrior linebackers coach.
"It's a pleasure and a real treat, but quite honestly we don't even think about it because he never brings it up," Parsons said of the 308 wins. "It's just not a big deal to him. It's a 'one game at a time' kind of deal.
"A lot of us have been around for a lot of those wins and we enjoy every one thoroughly. It's a great honor for Ron. It's a tribute to his coaching style and his longevity. We just hope that he's around for many more."
Career records of the top three coaches in Minnesota State High School football history after Friday's games:
309-94-3, Mike Mahlen, Verndale, 40th season
308-141-5, Ron Stolski, Brainerd, 47th season
307-66-6, George Larson, retired, Cambridge, 40 years
Stolski, in his 47th season, said there's no end to his coaching career in sight.
"Not that I know of," he said. "I had heartburn today. Maybe that's a sign."
Fine offensive line
Jared Erickson and David Titus started at tackle for the Warriors last season, Clint Dwire started at center and Tyler Blong was a part-time starter at guard.
This year, Mitch Weideman has joined the group, which has helped Brainerd average 324 yards and 25.8 points a game.
"You can always be better," Erickson said of the line, "but we're coming together as a group. We did last year. Now we've got Weideman so we're all coming together."
Stopping the run
Linebacker Alex Rahn made several key tackles to end Apollo drives and blocked a punt. His play helped limit the Eagles' to 110 yards on the ground.
"They weren't totally a team that was going to run right at you," Rahn said. "With their speed, their little running backs, they like to run outside. We did a good job of containing, getting to the play wherever it was."
MIKE BIALKA may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 855-5861.
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