PEQUOT LAKES -- With Brianna Biebighauser graduated, her brother must carry the torch that has made their hard to pronounce and even harder to spell last name a household name.
Justin Biebighauser is doing just that as he rushed for 170 yards and two touchdowns on just eight carries to help the Pequot Lakes Patriots defeat Northome-Kelliher 53-6 in North Star Conference football Friday.
"He's been popping some big ones," said Patriots head coach Tom Smith. "The offensive line has been making some big holes. I could be running through those things.
"He's got good vision. He sees holes well and then he has break away speed for a bigger back to hit those holes hard. He doesn't look like he's running fast but he is. He's also patient and he waits for the openings to develop, then he just nails them."
The 5-foot-10, 190-pound back has teamed up with Robbie Biley, Leo McSherry and Tony Landecker to form one of the most frightening back fields in Minnesota.
Offensively Biebighauser has helped the Patriots average 51.2 points per game. His year totals are 590 yards on 49 carries for a 12.0 average. He's scored nine times. In the last four games he's been over 100 yards, plus with the lopsided wins he's only played a handful of quarters.
Not only does Biebighauser excel on the field, but in the classroom as well.
"He's kind of a quiet kid, but he's a confident kid," said Smith. "He has 3.5 grade-point average. He's a real good student."
Last year Biebighauser was third in the conference in rushing as a sophomore. He gained 769 yards on 106 carries and scored 10 times.
"He's got the whole package," said Smith. "He can catch the ball. He can block. He's committed himself to the weight room. He's a load to get down.
"In my eyes he could probably end up in a Division II college. He could play in the North Central Conference if he keeps working on his game, getting stronger and bigger."
Biebighauser has a couple of years to think about that. Only a junior, he finds himself in the right place at the right time. Pequot is 5-0 and in a first-place tie in the conference.
Critics might say Biebighauser hasn't faced any stiff competition. Smith and Biebighauser himself would agree.
"This year we haven't had much for competition," Biebighauser said. "We're looking forward to Walker (Hackensack-Akeley, whom the Patriots play Friday) to see how good we actually are. But teams can't just key on me because we have Robbie Biley who was injured last year. They can't key on one back.
"With the running back going as good as it is, Chase Nelson is getting time to find receivers James Singer and Eric Miller."
Biebighauser didn't really want to talk about himself. He feels he doesn't deserve all the credit, rather his line does.
"Any running back in the back field, with the holes that the line is creating, any one could score," said Biebighauser. "The line hit the weight room really hard so they're just bigger, faster and stronger than everybody. I owe everything to Dan Ackerson, Seth Neumann, Joel Schmidt, Matt Russell, Mike Schwanke and Eric Miller."
Despite the lack of competition that Pequot has faced, Biebighauser grew up with one of the best athletes in Pequot history, so he's played against some of the best competition his whole life.
Other notable performances:
Football -- Pine River-Backus quarterback Nick Keefe had three rushing touchdowns and threw for another in a 26-0 win over Walker-Hackensack-Akeley.
Verndale running back Matt Kern rushed for 176 yards on 16 carries and scored a touchdown. He also returned a kick off 83 yards for another score in a 49-8 win over Ashby. Teammate Chad Christenson threw for 120 yards on 8-for-19 passing and two touchdowns.
Pierz running back Nick Senn rushed for 124 yards on 15 carries and two touchdowns in a 34-14 victory.
Quarterback Dan Saehr of Pierz threw for three touchdowns and 149 yards as the Pioneers beat Kimball 34-14.
Cross country -- Pequot Lakes runner David Schwen won the Northland-Remer Invitational.
Crosby-Ironton's Sam Anderson won the McGregor Invitational with a time of 17:29.
Wadena-Deer Creek's Adam Asfeld won for the third time this year by taking the St. John's Prep meet.
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