It wasn’t an ideal way to end their senior football seasons, but Nevis’ Derek Lindow, Dan Aman and Brodey Johnson took advantage of the limited schedule this fall.
Because of COVID-19, the start of the football season was delayed. Once the season started, each team was limited to six regular-season games. However the coronavirus forced the Tigers to cancel two games midway through the season. On a positive note, Nevis ended the season with back-to-back wins to finish with a 2-2 overall record.
Lindow, Aman and Johnson led the way in earning District 9 West North 9-man honors. Lindow and Aman joined juniors Ian Ahrendt and Cain Mitchell as all-district players while Johnson and sophomore Ethan Klimek received all-district honorable mention consideration.
Lindow also received all-state 9-man honorable mention honors and was named the district’s Offensive MVP as well as receiving the Tigers’ MVP and Offensive Back of the Year awards. The senior quarterback completed 47 of 89 passes for 726 yards and six touchdowns, rushed 59 times for 361 yards and six TDs, and kicked eight extra points in scoring 56 points in Nevis’ four games. Lindow also chipped in nine solo tackles and five assists on defense.
Aman solidified the offensive and defensive lines and ended his high school career by being named the Tigers’ Offensive Lineman of the Year and Defensive Lineman of the Year. Aman, who also received all-state academic honors, tallied 13 solo tackles and 12 assists.
Mitchell was the Tigers’ leading receiver, catching 23 passes for 422 yards and three TDs in scoring 20 points. Mitchell was also second on the team with 39 tackles (25 solo and 14 assists) while leading the team with two interceptions. Mitchell was named the Tigers’ Special Teams Player of the Year.
Ahrendt was named Nevis’ Defensive Back of the Year after leading the team with 56 tackles (27 solo and 29 assists) while recording a quarterback sack. Offensively, Ahrendt rushed 38 times for 186 yards and returned a kickoff for a TD.
Johnson contributed 12 solo tackles and 14 assists while Klimek caught eight passes for 81 yards and a TD.
Other team awards went to senior Dawson Andress (Coaches Award for Hard Work and Effort) and Joe Houchin (Freshman of the Year). The Tigers also received an all-state academic silver award.
Receiving the other district awards were Win-E-Mac’s Gavin Walker (MVP), Win-E-Mac’s Gavin Haskett (Lineman of the Year), Park Christian’s Riley Erkenbrack (Special Teams Player of the Year), Fertile-Beltrami’s Brandon Van Den Einde (Defensive Player of the Year) and Kittson County Central’s Terry Kent (Coach of the Year).
Also playing key roles on offense for the Tigers this season were Houchin (seven receptions for 51 yards and a TD) and sophomore Jon Rice (three catches for 111 yards and a TD).
Defensively, junior Ethan Lewis (13 solo tackles, 19 assists, one interception), Andress (12 solo tackles, three assists), sophomore David Riehle (eight solo tackles, seven assists), Houchin (seven solo tackles, seven assists), sophomore Nate Keiser (eight solo tackles, six assists, one fumble recovery) and senior Reese Kline (two solo tackles, 10 assists) played quality minutes.
That group provided the leadership for the Tigers all season.
Nevis opened the season with a 36-14 loss to Stephen-Argyle and a 41-13 loss to Win-E-Mac. The Tigers compiled 278 yards in offense against Stephen-Argyle and 271 yards offensively against Win-E-Mac. Stephen-Argyle ended the season rated No. 3 and Win-E-Mac was rated No. 8 in the final state 9-man poll.
After missing the next two games, the Tigers returned to defeat Norman County East/Ulen-Hitterdal 41-34 and Blackduck 32-30. Nevis trailed NCE/UH 20-14 before rallying by scoring 27 points in the third quarter and led Blackduck 26-16 at the half. The Tigers racked up 348 yards in offense against NCE/UH and a season-high 413 yards (including 301 yards passing) against Blackduck.
Nevis received the No. 3 seed for the Section 6 playoffs behind No. 1 Win-E-Mac and No. 2 Fertile-Beltrami. The Tigers were scheduled to host No. 6 Park Christian, but that game had to be canceled because of COVID.
“The motto of our 2020 football season was ‘Stay the Course’. We talked about being prepared for anything. The year began not even knowing if we would have a season. Then we were granted a three-week practice season and told we would play in the spring. This was more like a summer program and not your typical fall conditioning. Towards the end of the practice season, we were told to switch gears and prep for a football season. Our first game of the year would take place in October, seven weeks later than normal. However, we were ready to get back on the field,” said Nevis head coach Shawn Klimek. “We started the season playing two teams ranked in the top 10 all year. We were very competitive, but couldn’t get past these two state caliber teams. We had a good bunch of veterans on the team, but we were also playing six freshmen and sophomores. Week 3 and 4 never happened due to a COVID shut down. We defeated NCE/UH and Blackduck and received the No. 3 seed in the section. We had a shot to make the section finals. This dream was not meant to be, as we were shut down again due to COVID. This group of men was resilient all season and the seniors were great leaders and examples for the underclassmen.”