Like the Pequot Lakes Patriots, Matt Michaelson's season started slowly.
In the Patriots' season-opening 21-20 loss to Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton, Michaelson rushed for 30 yards and a touchdown on just six carries.
"He was going to be starting somewhere for us, but he was in competition for the starting quarterback job," said Pequot Lakes head coach Chip Lohmiller. "Jeff (Redmond) matured enough where we felt comfortable with him at quarterback, plus having Matt at tailback in the I-formation works kind of nice."
In Pequot's 31-0 rout of East Grand Forks to open the North Heart O'Lakes Conference Sept. 12, Michaelson rushed for 161 yards and a score on 15 carries.
The junior again broke the century mark with 100 yards on 28 carries for a 19-6 Pequot victory over Crookston Sept. 19. He added three catches for 50 yards.
Both times the back reached 100 rushing yards Pequot won.
"This is the first year I've actually played tailback," said Michaelson. "I picked it up pretty easily because I knew the offense from being quarterback.
"I had an idea at the beginning of the season that I might be moved to wide receiver. I didn't want to play running back. When we scrimmaged Pillager and Pine River I got frustrated at quarterback and didn't play well. Kind of out of anger, kind of out of frustration, I asked to let me run the ball a couple of times. I ran pretty well and coach decided to put me there."
Michaelson learned early to follow his fullback. The combination of fullback Cody Chambers and Michaelson has been successful for Pequot.
School: Pequot Lakes
Position: Tailback, cornerback
Key stat: Has rushed for 261 yards in the last two weeks
"He is a great athlete, "said Lohmiller. "He runs very hard. He is very smart and can catch the ball. He plays corner on defense. If I ever need someone to go one-on-one he is capable of doing that.
"He's only a junior. If he keeps up this pace he can do really well."
Lohmiller likened Michaelson to former Patriots James Baumann and Justin Biebighauser. He said Michaelson is a more straight ahead runner and doesn't have the moves of Baumann, but believes he is close to that caliber of runner.
"I think he's faster," said Lohmiller. "He feels faster because he hits the holes a little quicker. He's only really had two games at tailback where he was named the starter."
Michaelson is a member of the Patriots' basketball and golf teams. A smart athlete, Michaelson doesn't care for numbers, however, at least not his own. The numbers he does care about are the number of team wins.
"I'm one of those guys that I don't care if I do well personally," Michaelson said. "If the team wins I'm happy.
"I don't compare myself to anyone else. I try and do my best and if I ask myself at the end of the game if I gave 100 percent then I'm happy. Numbers? I don't really look at numbers a lot."
Other notable performances:
Cross country: Clayton Foster, Pequot Lakes, won the Grand Rapids Invite in 16:36 and the Milaca Mega meet in 16:31.3.
Football: Jeff Redmond, Pequot Lakes, threw for 170 yards and two touchdowns against Crookston.
Cody Stangle, Pierz, rushed for 109 yards and three touchdowns against Rockford.
Mike Weber, Pierz, threw for 166 yards and a touchdown against Rockford.
Sam Johnson, Aitkin, rushed for 106 yards against Rush City.
Matt Moenkedick, Verndale, rushed for 140 yards and two touchdowns.
Amos Schmidt, Verndale, rushed for 109 yards and two touchdowns.
JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5856.
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