Running, throwing, tackling and leading.
Alex Jansson has done his part in helping the Staples-Motley Cardinals to a 9-0 record and a spot in the Section 8-3A semifinals.
The junior quarterback threw for 140 yards and a touchdown on just 3-of-5 passing in the Cardinals' 44-0 rout of East Grand Forks in the section quarterfinals Tuesday.
In S-M's final regular-season game, Jansson threw for 105 yards on 4-of-6 passing and rushed for 61 more.
"With option run, you want to put the ball in the hands of one of your best athletes," said Cardinals head coach Ryan Beachy. "Not saying we don't have other good athletes, but Alex can throw the ball, run the ball and he makes good decisions. He's still learning how to call audibles. We haven't done an awful lot of that. He's a junior, though, and he's still learning and getting better.
"He's also better at getting rid of the ball on time."
Jansson finished the regular season with 846 yards and 11 touchdowns on 37 of 63 passing. He threw only four interceptions.
Beachy said Jansson doesn't possess the strongest arm, but is accurate and does well at reading the defense.
"His younger brother Kyle is a freshman quarterback and we tease Alex all the time that his brother has a stronger arm than he does," said Beachy. "He completed 59 percent of his passes, though, and that's pretty good for a high school kid.
"He's doing a nice job. We don't throw a lot, but we run the play action and he's got his first option and then his second option. If those aren't open he's usually scrambling or throwing the ball away."
Jansson also leads the team in rushing with 671 yards and 12 touchdowns on 82 carries.
Key stat: Threw for 105 yards and rushed for 61 against Breckenridge. Threw for 140 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 48 and a score against East Grand Forks
From his safety position he has 20 solo tackles, 20 assists and an interception.
In S-M's 38-0 win over Warroad Oct. 14, Jansson threw for 220 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for 28 yards.
"He's handled the quarterback position and the leadership that comes with it very well," Beachy said. "There were a few games where we took him off the defensive side. I think there were three games where he didn't play defense at all because his ankle was hurting him a little.
"The other teams didn't know that, but they see his stats and think, well we have to stop their quarterback. Luckily, that allowed us to pitch the ball and run some different things with our other guys."
Last season Jansson shared time with Devin Becker. This season the quarterback position was all his. With the job came responsibility and Beachy thinks Jansson has handled that part well, too.
"He's an older kid for his grade level," said the coach. "He's very mature for his age. He does what he's supposed to do. He's one of the leaders of this team and I think he was big in the team's turnaround on the field and in the classroom. He does a good job of making sure his friends and teammates make the right choices."
Other notable performances:
Cross country: Silas Lydeen, Pequot Lakes, won the Birch Tree Conference in 17:33.
Football: Sean Nokken, Pillager, rushed for 132 yards and two touchdowns and caught seven passes for 72 yards and two touchdowns against New York Mills.
Jordan Hunstad, Pillager, threw for 151 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 72 yards and a touchdown against New York Mills.
Mitch Woitalla, Pierz, rushed for 105 yards and two touchdowns against Howard Lake-Waverly.
Amos Schmidt, Verndale, rushed for 234 yards and four touchdowns against Chokio-Alberta/Herman-Norcross.
Aaron Kern, Wadena-Deer Creek, rushed for 122 yards and two touchdowns against West Central.
Matt Michaelson, Pequot Lakes, rushed for 242 yards and four touchdowns against Thief River Falls.
Dillon Hales, Staples-Motley, rushed for 154 yards and a touchdown against Breckenridge.
Alex Scott, Little Falls, rushed for 111 yards and a touchdown and threw for 92 yards against Sauk Rapids.
JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5856.
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