All Journal Offense:
Sleepy Eye St.?Mary's
By Daniel Kerwin
Journal Sports Writer
SLEEPY EYE - For the past three seasons, there was no doubt that Jordan Anderson was the perfect fit at quarterback for the Sleepy Eye St. Mary's football team.
2012 All-Journal Football
The following is the results of the 2012 All-Journal football voting by the sports staff at The Journal. Nominated players are ranked 1-10 with the first-place votes worth 15 points, second place worth 14 points and so forth. Only players nominated by area coaches were eligible for selection. First place votes are in parentheses.
1 - Jordan Anderson, St. Mary's, 105 (7)
2 - Adam Schnobrich, Cathedral, 92
3 - Dalton Elliott, Nicollet, 82
4 - Sean Mathiowetz, St. Mary's, 80
5 - Adam Cooling, Madelia, 71
6 - Erik Danielson, Sibley East, 69
7 - Evan Guffey, Nicollet, 65
8 - Tyler Bates, Sibley East, 38
9 - Brady Kerkhoff, CM/C, 34
10 - Cordell Bates, Sibley East, 33
10 - Mitch Neid, St. Mary's, 33
1 - Lance Briard, Springfield, 101 (3)
2 - Ben White, Sibley East, 97 (3)
3 - Matt Christenson, Nicollet, 85 (1)
4 - Tyler Mielke, MVL, 75
5 - John Mangen, Sleepy Eye, 70
6 - Tevin Mooter, New Ulm, 49
7 - Lucas Heiderscheidt, St. Mary's, 41
8 - Jeff Osborne, Cathedral, 40
9 - Christopher Kretsch, Springfield, 39
10 - Paul Anderson, Madelia, 36
10 - Tanner Elliott, Nicollet, 36
This year during his senior campaign, Anderson not only did enough on the field to earn unanimous selection as the 2012 All-Journal Offensive Player of the Year, but his knack for running the team's offense made it feel at times that he was doing double duty as both a player and as a coach.
"The offense is kind of based around him, on his kind of caliber," St. Mary's head coach Brent Kucera said. "If Jordan came back next year to help out the program, he'd probably be the offensive coordinator. He's a smart kid, a talented kid and a mature kid."
One of the key reasons that the Knights (10-1 overall record) were able to put together an undefeated regular season and make their second consecutive state tournament appearance this year was the flexibility of the team's offense.
Rather than strictly adhering to a single game plan, Anderson and Kucera helped each other make constant adjustments throughout each contest.
"I think the offense we ran this year was probably the most comfortable I've felt at offense," Anderson said. "Me and Brent pretty much had a running conversation in between plays. I'd come from the huddle and be like, 'This is going to work this time,' and next time I'd come in he'd be like, 'This is going to work this time,' and we just kind of helped each other call plays. Me and him were just eyes for each other trying to figure out what's going to work."
This season, Anderson passed for 2,585 yards and 26 touchdowns, setting a school record for passing touchdowns in a season. He finished with school records for career passing yards (6,057) and career passing touchdowns (58).
What made Anderson particularly dangerous for the Knights, however, was his ability to run the ball. This year he ran for 959 yards and 12 touchdowns to give him school records in career rushing yards (2,024) and career rushing touchdowns (26).
Anderson's rushing ability should come as no surprise, since he predominantly played as a running back when he was in middle school.
"Starting in sixth grade I really did want to play quarterback, but back then we actually had three quarterbacks - me, my cousin Sean [Mathiowetz] and then another one," Anderson said. "We actually had to split a lot of time, and then in junior high, same thing. I actually played running back in junior high, but I'd always wanted to play quarterback, even in junior high when I wasn't getting to. So coming into high school I went into a couple camps, and I knew that it was my position that I had to take it, and I just went for it."
After making one start at quarterback during his freshman year, Anderson never relinquished the job and started at the position each of his final three seasons.
Although losing Anderson and his fellow seniors next season will be a huge blow for the Knights, Anderson is confident that the attitude that he and his teammates helped establish will allow the program to continue its string of recent success.
"I think we gave the program quite a bit of leg to keep going," Anderson said. "It's tough to leave it at how high it is this year, but I know that it can just go up from here. All the guys that are younger now see how great it can be, and they'll step up in their roles next year and hopefully be competing for a section championship again."
Anderson doesn't have any current plans to continue his football career at the college level when he moves on to South Dakota State University next year, but he hasn't ruled out the possibility either.
However, he mentioned that he would very much like to stay connected with the sport in the future - he may even fulfill Kucera's prediction and become an offensive coordinator, or perhaps even a head coach, for a football program somewhere down the line.
"I'm really hoping that after going to college I'll eventually come back and coach somewhere for football," Anderson said. "I feel that I could help some teams out then."