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Football: Posting a winning record fulfilled main goal for Menahga

Earning a home playoff game capped off a 5-4 season for the Braves.

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Menahga quarterback Brock Berttunen (left) capped off his senior season by being named to the 2022 Northwest South District team.
Vance Carlson / Park Rapids Enterprise
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Defeating the No. 3-rated team in Class A, earning a home playoff game and finishing with a winning record highlighted a successful season for the Menahga football team.

The Braves upset No. 3 New York Mills 14-8 in Week 6, received the No. 4 seed for the Section 6A playoffs and finished with a 5-4 record.

“The season was great,” said Menahga head coach Kevin Sommers. “The players all learned so much and had a wonderful time making memories. We had a team goal of making the section finals. We didn't make that goal. Two other goals we did achieve were being over .500 and having a home playoff game.”

Menahga opened the season with a 48-26 win over Bagley. The Braves had 341 yards offensively and led 34-14 at the half.

Wadena-Deer Creek used a 21-6 halftime lead for a 42-18 victory in Week 2. Menahga had 232 yards offensively.

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In Week 3, the Braves couldn’t hold on to a 14-12 halftime lead in a 30-22 loss to Pine River-Backus. Menahga’s offense compiled 255 yards.

The Braves racked up 376 yards offensively in a 34-12 victory over Walker-Hackensack-Akeley in Week 4. Menahga led 20-0 at the break.

After receiving a 2-0 forfeit win over Red Lake in Week 5, the Braves upset New York Mills in Week 6. Menahga led 14-0 at the intermission and held on for a 14-8 victory. The Braves’ offense had 258 yards.

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Menahga's Isaiah Usher (9) earned Northwest South District honors after catching 25 passes for 461 yards and six TDs during the 2022 season.
Vance Carlson / Park Rapids Enterprise

Mahnomen/Waubun, which was rated No. 3 in the Class A poll, posted a 38-6 win in Week 7. The Braves were held to 149 yards while trailing 32-6 at the half.

In the regular season finale, the Braves led 6-0 at the half in posting a 14-6 victory over Lake Park-Audubon. Menahga had 250 yards offensively.

In the section quarterfinals, No. 5 Breckenridge jumped out to a 13-0 halftime lead in a 35-0 victory. Menahga managed only 109 offensive yards, including 9 rushing yards.

In the Section 6A standings, Ottertail Central and Breckenridge went 4-1, Pine River-Backus finished 4-2, Menahga and New York Mills posted 3-2 marks, Lake Park-Audubon and Underwood went 0-3, and Walker-Hackensack-Akeley finished at 0-4.

New York Mills and Pine River-Backus shared the top spot in the Northwest South District standings at 5-1. Menahga and Wadena-Deer Creek went 4-2, Walker-Hackensack-Akeley finished 2-4, Bagley had a 1-5 record and Red Lake went 0-6.

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Quincy Jantz received Northwest South District honors after leading Menahga with 61 carries for 304 yards and four TDs and in tackles with 65 during the 2022 season.
Vance Carlson / Park Rapids Enterprise

Members of this year’s team were seniors Ryan Tolkkinen, Brock Berttunen, Lars Peterson, Reid Pinoneimi, Paul Kobe Bernardo, Toby Isola, Justin Gonska, Marcus Peterson, Logan Torma (who missed most of the season with an injury) and Shawn Hendrickson; juniors Quinn Foley, Quincy Jantz, Gauge Carstensen, Isaiah Usher, Karson Kocurek, Knaylor Howard, Zach Hendrickson, Tom Pietila, Bodie Berttunen, Riley Sunstrom and Mason Kipka; sophomores Carder Jettmann, Brock Hendrickson, Riley Livingston, Jonas Lusti, Kaiden Peterson, Cooper Hasbargen and Colton Skara; and freshmen Nolan McGowan, Jon Pinoniemi, Luke Isola, Tanner Trombley, Dean Torma, Blake Myllykangas and Chris Kicker.

Brock Berttunen completed 87 of 155 passes for 1,141 yards and 11 touchdowns with Usher (25 receptions for 461 yards and six TDs), Lars Peterson (21 catches for 263 yards and three TDs), Tolkkinen (26 receptions for 263 yards and two TDs) and Jantz (12 catches for 142 yards) being the primary receivers. Leading the running game were Jantz (61 carries for 304 yards and four TDs), Tolkkinen (27 carries for 148 yards and two TDs), Isola (41 carries for 114 yards and two TDs), Pinoniemi (18 carries for 101 yards and two TDs), Brock Berttunen (37 carries for 68 yards), Bernardo (19 carries for 52 yards and a TD) and Brock Hendrickson (16 carries for 38 yards).

Leading the defense were Jantz (65 tackles and a fumble recovery for a TD), Shawn Hendrickson (63 tackles, three sacks), Isola (61 tackles, two fumble recoveries), Marcus Peterson (60 tackles), Hasbargen (44 tackles, two fumble recoveries), Lars Peterson (43 tackles), Tolkkinen (42 tackles), Pinoniemi (41 tackles), Pietila (35 tackles), Bodie Berttunen (31 tackles), Usher (22 tackles). Brock Berttunen (16 tackles, two sacks), Jettmann (11 tackles), Brock Hendrickson (10 tackles) and Sunstrom (10 tackles).

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Ryan Tolkkinen received all-district honorable mention honors after catching 26 passes for 263 yards and two TDs, rushing 27 times for 148 yards and two TDs, and making 42 tackles for the Braves during the 2022 season.
Vance Carlson / Park Rapids Enterprise

Brock Berttunen, Usher and Jantz were named to the all-district First Team while Shawn Hendrickson, Marcus Peterson, Tolkkinen, Bodie Berttunen and Lars Peterson earned all-district honorable mention honors. Team awards went to Brock Berttunen (Offensive MVP), Jantz (Defensive MVP, Running Back of the Year and Linebacker of the Year), Marcus Peterson (Offensive Lineman of the Year and Special Teams Player of the Year), Usher (Wide Receiver of the Year and Defensive Back of the Year), Shawn Hendrickson (Defensive Lineman of the Year) and Dean Torma (Rookie of the Year).

Despite graduating 10 key seniors, Sommers is looking for the Braves to put another competitive team on the field next season.

“Great teams are led by senior leaders. We will miss them a ton and they meant the world to the program. They have made the foundation to build our program on,” said Sommers. “(Next season), we want to compete in all of our games.”

OFFENSIVE STATISTICS

RUSHING: Jantz 61-304 (4 TDs), Tolkkinen 37-148 (2 TDs), Isola 41-114 (2 TDs), Pinoniemi 18-101 (2 TDs), Br. Berttunen 37-68, Bernardo 19-52 (1 TD), B. Hendrickson 16-38, Torma 2-30, S. Hendrickson 2-4, Hasbargen 3-0, Sunstrom 2-(-8).

PASSING: Br. Berttunen 87-155-5 for 1,141 yards (11 TDs); Jantz 1-2-1 for 40 yards (1 TD); Sunstrom 0-1-0 for 0 yards.

RECEIVING: Usher 25-461 (6 TDs), L. Peterson 21-263 (3 TDs), Tolkkinen 26-263 (2 TDs), Jantz 12-142, Pinoniemi 2-23, S. Hendrickson 1-20, Foley 2-9.

DEFENSIVE STATISTICS

TACKLES (SOLO-ASSISTS): Jantz 65 (14-51), S. Hendrickson 63 (14-49), Isola 61 (6-55), M. Peterson 60 (12-48), Hasbargen 44 (11-33), L. Peterson 43 (19-24), Tolkkinen 42 (16-26), Pinoniemi 41 (20-21), Pietila 35 (5-30), Bo. Berttunen 31 (5-26), Usher 22 (9-13), Br. Berttunen 16 (4-12), Jettmann 11 (2-9), B. Hendrickson 10 (4-6), Sunstrom 10 (4-6), Bernardo 7 (1-6), Lusti 7 (3-4), Foley 6 (3-3), Livingston 3 (0-3), Carstensen 2 (0-2), Howard 1 (1-0), McGowan 1 (0-1), Torma 1 (0-1), Gonska 1 (0-1).

QUARTERBACK SACKS: S. Hendrickson 3, Hasbargen 2, Br. Berttunen 2, Jantz 1, M. Peterson 1, L. Peterson 1, Tolkkinen 1, Bo. Berttunen 1, Foley 1.

TACKLES FOR LOSS: Jantz 8, S. Hendrickson 7, Hasbargen 7, Isola 4, M. Peterson 4, Br. Berttunen 4, Lusti 3, Tolkkinen 2, Pietila 2, Usher 2, Sunstrom 2, L. Peterson 1, Bo. Berttunen 1, Jettmann 1, B. Hendrickson 1, Bernardo 1, Foley 1.

FORCED FUMBLES: Isola 1, M. Peterson 1, Harbargen 1, L. Peterson 1, Tolkkinen 1, Foley 1.

FUMBLE RECOVERIES: Isola 2, Hasbargen 2, Jantz 1, S. Hendrickson 1, Tolkkinen 1, Pinoniemi 1, Foley 1, Torma 1.

INTERCEPTIONS: Tolkkinen 1, Usher 1.

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1982 Dawson-Boyd High School graduate
1987 Moorhead State University graduate
Sports reporter for Park Rapids Enterprise since 1987
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