It was far from a one-man show, but there wasn't much Matt Moenkedick didn't do for the Verndale Pirates.
The senior rushed for 2,001 yards and 27 touchdowns. He threw for 233 yards and six scores.
On defense he led the Pirates with 123 tackles to go with 1.5 sacks, one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries.
It is safe to say, wherever the football was, so was Moenkedick.
His skills helped the Pirates to the Nine-Man state tournament and a 10-1 record.
Verndale senior Matt Moenkedick rushed for 2,001 yards and 27 touchdowns and threw for 233 yards and six touchdowns to lead the Pirates to a 10-1 record.
Brainerd Dispatch/Steve Kohls
As a result, Moenkedick is one of two Brainerd Dispatch Football Players of the Year.
"He was definitely our most valuable player," said Verndale head coach Mike Mahlen. "He played offense, defense, kicked off and punted. He was our go-to guy."
His 264 carries were the most of any area running back. Add his blocking, which helped spring teammate Amos Schmidt for 909 yards, and his 123 tackles and Moenkedick absorbed and delivered numerous hits, but never missed a down.
"I guess it kind of comes naturally for me," said Moenkedick. "Some kids really like contact more than others. This year and even kind of last year, I would get that first big hit that would get the team fired up and set the tone. I guess in my mind I would rather be the hitter than the one getting hit."
Few Verndale freshmen ever see the field, but Moenkedick was an exception as he dished out hits for four seasons at linebacker. He also started three years on offense, moving from tight end to quarterback to halfback.
In those three years Verndale owned a 28-6 record with two Section 4 titles and an appearance in the state semifinals.
Position: Running back-linebacker
Stats: Rushed for 2,001 yards and 27 touchdowns and threw for 233 yards and six touchdowns. Had 123 tackles, 1.5 sacks, one forced fumble, two fumble recoveries.
"As a junior we switched him to quarterback," said Mahlen. "He probably would have had more career rushing yards had we kept him in the backfield, but we had to move him to quarterback and he did a good job there. He would never complain about anything. He played where we needed him. He understood that and never had a problem with it."
With a 4.0 grade-point-average, Moenkedick had the intellect to switch from position to position, which he did this year, moving to quarterback when the Pirates went to a spread formation.
He's also smart enough to give credit to his offensive line.
"Our line played real well as a unit with how they communicated with each other and how they blocked," said Moenkedick. "They improved the most from last year and even from the start of the season to the end. They had a good connection with how they were going to block other teams."
As a junior Moenkedick rushed for 487 yards on 140 carries, threw for 258 yards on 25-of-49 passing and added 163 tackles, five sacks and two forced fumbles. Those statistics earned him a spot on last year's all-area team.
During his sophomore season he caught 12 passes for 167 yards and was third in the area with 127 tackles. As a freshman he tallied 95 tackles for a career total of 508.
"Matt is probably one of the more physical kids to ever play football here," said Mahlen, who has coached for 40 years and won a state-record 314 games. "We've had physical kids play football here, but Matt is just a hard runner and on defense he dished out some big hits."
JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5856.
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