In two postseason games, Aaron Pavek has rarely left the field.
That's been a good thing for the Brainerd Warriors, who play Centennial in the quarterfinals of the Class 5A state tournament Friday night at St. Cloud State University.
From his starting defensive end position he harassed Cambridge-Isanti and Buffalo quarterbacks and stuffed the running game. As a tight end, his crunching blocks opened holes for Warriors running backs.
Against C-I, Pavek had eight tackles, three sacks and one pass rush/hurry. Against Buffalo he had 11 tackles.
Position: Tight end, defensive line
Other sports: Basketball
Career highlight: Winning section football championship
Grade-point average: 3.4
Favorite class: Outdoor adventure
Favorite food: Steak
Favorite movie: Friday Night Lights
Favorite TV show: Family Guy
Favorite Web site: ESPN
Hobbies: Hunting, fishing, sports
Future plans: Play college football, major in business or physical therapy
Favorite athlete: Michael Jordan
Parents: Brian and Janet Spreiter, Tim Pavek
"The last game he was the only player we had that played almost the whole game both ways, which is very rare for us, especially for a lineman," Warriors coach Ron Stolski said. "His blocking at tight end, along with Cole Stegora, was a major factor. He handled their best linebacker pretty much.
"Defensively, he's been our anchor all season."
A two-year starter, Pavek conceded that playing both ways is draining.
"It definitely takes a lot out of you," he said, "but I just want to do whatever helps the team out, what's best for the team. I'm in it for the team, definitely."
He ranks third on the team in tackles with 89. He has six sacks, three pass rushes/hurries, one pass breakup/deflection and one fumble recovery.
Pavek starts at right defensive tackle with Kris Garin at left tackle and Sam Lastovich at noseguard. Chad Oman alternates with Lastovich and Myles Marcil spells the tackles.
"I feel like our defense has come around," Pavek said. "Everyone knows their assignments, we've got guys in the right place. Our defense is fast. We showed that on Saturday on turf that we can fill.
"We play aggressive. We're not afraid to hit. We're not afraid of other teams that are bigger than us. We're relentless. We're deep. This is one of the deepest defenses I've ever been part of.
"We have about a 5-man rotation up front. We can put in anybody, not much is lost the whole way through. Everyone steps up and plays."
At 6-5, 235 pounds, Pavek is a challenge to block and his height is an advantage.
"I think it's a huge advantage," he said. "The quarterbacks we've gone up against usually are a lot shorter than me. If I have my hands up it makes it almost impossible to throw over me. It helps me get sacks. If they hesitate, I usually get them."
At tight end, in addition to his blocking, Pavek has caught one pass for 26 yards and a touchdown.
"When we go double tight they bring me in on the right side," he said. "Usually, I have outside linebacker responsibility. Sometimes I downblock on the defensive line. When we want to play smash-mouth football we bring both tight ends in. That's when we really get after teams."
On a team of many quiet leaders, Pavek is a vocal exception.
"He's such an inspirational leader," Stolski said. "He's really stepped up as a senior. We have a bunch of quiet kids. Aaron's a real vocal leader who brings it to practice every day, he brings it to every game."
MIKE BIALKA may be reached at email@example.com or at 855-5861.
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