Mahtomedi’s Jackson Hull tried to cut back as South St. Paul’s Austen Bauer closed during a Sept. 21 loss to the Packers. Photo by Kyndell Harkness • email@example.com
Mahtomedi's season didn't start out quite the way the Zephyrs envisioned it. A season-opening loss to Chisago Lakes and homecoming loss to conference rival South St. Paul last week left them with a 2-2 record heading into Friday's game against St. Thomas Academy.
But the leaders on the team are neither fazed nor rattled.
"It's not a bad thing," quarterback Jordan Goodmanson said. "If we can turn it on when it really matters, that's the most important thing. We've always said our goal isn't necessarily to win all our games in the regular season. Our goal is to get as far as possible in the playoffs."
Losing to Chisago Lakes was an eye-opener. Players knew Chisago was talented this year, but the Zephyrs only played three quarters of solid football. Against South St. Paul, they were doomed by penalties and ill-timed turnovers.
Senior captain Zach Lindquist said they have to cut down on those mistakes.
"That's really uncharacteristic of this group of guys," said Lindquist, a three-year starter. "This is a really disciplined group. If we clean those up, we can move the ball on anyone."
Mahtomedi's offensive arsenal contains both passing and rushing weaponry, spearheaded by Goodmanson. The senior missed the first two games of the season while recovering from a separated shoulder, but the 6-3, 182-pounder is dangerous when he finds his groove.
With his team down 17 points entering the fourth quarter against South St. Paul, the third-ranked team in Class 4A, Goodmanson marched the Zephyrs down the field for a score and nearly another before the Packers were able to seal the game.
His receiving corps gives defenses added concern. Lindquist, who plays tight end, is 6-4 and weighs 238 pounds.
"Zach's an amazing athlete," Goodmanson said. "A big guy that can move well. He has amazing hands and will catch anything you throw to him."
The speedy Brandon Goodwin and Trey Johnson provide other vertical threats. Nuni Omot, at 6-4, adds another playmaking receiver.
Then there's junior running back Jackson Hull, who has scored seven rushing touchdowns through the season's first four games. The versatile back brings speed, strength and size to the backfield.
"It's the athletic instinct that really helps him out the most," Lindquist said of Hull. "He can make people miss and can carry people with him. There's a variety of moves he can do."
While the season hasn't started perfectly, the Zephyrs believe this experience is just making the team better and ultimately helps them prepare for the playoffs. The postseason will be a challenge, however. Mahtomedi will have to get past Totino-Grace, Andover and others to reach the Class 5A tournament.
Players see the season as just getting started.
"I've learned that you have to be patient throughout the season," Lindquist said. "You don't get to the playoffs in the first four games. You just have to get better every game. I'm not too concerned. I know what we're capable of doing."