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Prescott defense ready to test its mettle against Mounders

The Cardinal defense knows how to swarm players, especially lineman Nick Jacobsen (69).

PRESCOTT - Prescott High School's football team has played tough and tight defense this fall, notching four shut outs against its opponents. It will put its strength on the line Saturday in Level 2 playoff contest vs. Elk Mound. The Cardinals will host the WIAA playoff game at Laney Field with the kick-off at 2 p.m.

Prescott High School lineman Nick Jacobsen's college football scholarship opportunities are often talked about on offense. But the Cardinal senior has displayed his talents on defense a lot this season. Jacobsen recorded six tackles, two for loss and blocked a field goal in Prescott's 31-0, Level 1 shutout win over Cumberland last weekend.

"Nick can be a dominant player on either side of the ball," PHS head coach Matt Smith said. "He has the size, the speed, the explosiveness to be a player other teams have to gameplan around. When someone like Nick can take the attention of three blockers, it gives us a lot of options and allows our other players on defense opportunities."

The opportunities are abundant for the rest of the Cardinal defense. They're there for linemen like seniors Nick Brekken, Tom Brookshaw and junior Taylor Miller. They're there for linebackers like seniors Harry Cutler and junior Tate Nahorniak in the middle and sophomore Garrett Ryan and senior Zach Sobolewski on the outside. They're there for safeties juniors Nick Opdahl and Alex Helmer and for cornerbacks junior Danny Cobenais and seniors Mike Hovel and Sam Smith.

"Having Tate back in the middle for us mid-season after recovering from injuries really help solidify there," Smith said. "Both he and Harry are very good run stuffers. With Nick taking up so many blockers it's allowed Nick and Tyler and Tom to make plays up front. Our outside linebackers are unheralded but Garret Ryan, at 6-0, 200 lbs. can be a match-up nightmare for some teams. We have two physical safeties in Alex and Nick, who is having a great season so far on defense and we have speed at the corners with Danny, Mike and Sam."

All of these strengths will receive a good amounting of testing from the offense of the Dunn-St. Croix champions. Prescott renews their rivalry against their old D-SC foe who comes into Saturday's game with a very balanced offense.

Mounder quarterback, senior Nick Heit threw for over 1,500 yards this season. He was able to spread the passes out to four top receivers in senior Dakota Tarnow, who led the team in pass receptions with 38 for 650 yards and nine touchdowns, seniors Will Miller, Nate Mack and Adam Gottschalk. Speedy running back senior Jordan Klempf rushed for over 1,200 yards and led the team in scoring with 14 touchdowns.

However second seeded EM, 8-1 overall, may well be vulnerable to defensive-minded teams which can hold the ball on offense and keep the Mounders' offense on the field. That's how Boyceville was able to pull off a 12-0 upset of a then undefeated Elk Mound team in the regular season finale.

Sixth seeded Prescott, 6-3 overall, can certainly play this way. They held Cumberland to just 28 yards rushing while rushing themselves for over 200 yards led by Jacobsen and Brekken and Brookshaw's blocking, the between-the-tackles running of fullback Nahorniak and Cutler with the speed of Smith to the outside.

The winner of this Level 2 match-up will face either eighth-seeded Unity(5-4) or fifth-seeded Colby (7-2) in a Level 3, regional championship game next weekend.