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Hayden Zenner

Hayden Zenner


Zenner Leads Spartan Football to Road Win

Oct. 17, 2013

Hayden Zenner capped off his M State football career with a monster day running the ball as the Spartans finished the season with a 35-8 victory over the Itasca Community College Vikings on the wet and muddy high school field in Grand Rapids.

Zenner finished the day with 257 yards on just 21 carries. He scored touchdowns on runs of 27 yards, 2 yards and 76 yards. On his longest run, he started up the middle and broke to his left, showing his speed as he ran away from the Viking defenders. The Spartans played well overall as the offensive line must be given credit for their performance as well as very good blocking by the wide receivers.

Defensively the Spartans also came to play. Sophomore Brock Sweere, playing in his last game as a Spartan, and freshman Rickey Clifton both had interceptions. With the score 22-8 in the third quarter, the Spartan defense had a nice goal-line stand to keep the game in check.

The Spartans received the opening kickoff and scored on the first drive of the game. Zenner had a 19-yard touchdown called back, but the Spartans were able to overcome several penalties as freshman quarterback Jesse Vanilau connected with freshman wide receiver Paris Woods for a 19-yard touchdown pass. The Spartans were without the services of kicker/punter Cody Guevara and went for two. Vanilau ran the ball on a keeper, and the Spartans had an early 8-0 lead.

The teams exchanged punts until the Vikings put together a nice drive on the ground and scored on a 3-yard run. They converted the two-point conversion to tie the game at 8-8.

The Spartans used good field position to score next. This time Vanilau scored on a 12-yard keeper and also ran the ball in for the two-point conversion. The score stood at 16-8 at the half.

In the second half the Spartans began to show the strength of their ground game and wore the Vikings down. They took the opening kick and marched down the field, with Zenner plunging in from two yards out. The two-point conversion failed and the Spartan lead was 22-8. The Spartans continued the ground attack and scored again in the third quarter. The one-play drive followed a blocked punt recovery by freshman Charles Bender that set up the Spartan offense on the Viking 27 yard line. Zenner took the handoff, cut to the left and reached the edge breaking tackles and scoring on a 27-yard touchdown run. This time the Spartans turned to sophomore Wendlyn Berger for the extra point attempt, and he converted the kick to make the score 29-8.

The Spartans would score once more as Zenner capped off his Spartan career with his 76-yard touchdown run. The extra point attempt was not good to make the final score of 35-8.

"I am very proud of this group of young men" said Steve King, head coach of the Spartans. "We never quit. Getting beat as bad as we did two weeks ago was not fun, but we kept coming to practice and working hard. It is always a tough day for the program when the sophomores have played their last game. It gets emotional for the team and the coaches. Our 2013 sophomores have been great leaders, and hopefully this will carry over to a more successful season in term of wins and losses in 2014."


Spartan Football Drops Home Finale

Oct. 12, 2013

The M State Spartans hosted the Minnesota West Community and Technical College Blue Jays and lost the final home game of the year 27-7.

The game was scoreless after one quarter, but the second quarter found the Spartans giving the Blue Jays a short field on three consecutive drives due to their inability to get a good snap to the punter. The Blue Jays had drives of five yards, 19 yards and 29 yards to put three touchdowns on the board and take a 20-0 lead at the half. The Spartans were able to move the ball in the first half but were unable to capitalize on any of their drives.

Minnesota West took the opening drive of the second half and marched 56 yards in eight plays to open a 27-0 lead. The Spartan offense would answer with a six-play, 68-yard drive. Spartan quarterback Jesse Vanilau scored from two yards out on a quarterback keeper, and Cody Guevara booted the extra point to close the gap to 27-7.

The heavy rains have taken a toll on the Spartan field and conditions deteriorated as the game progressed, making offensive execution difficult. Both teams were able to move the ball, but penalties and lost yardage due to slipping stopped the drives and the game ended at 27-7.

"We battled, but the poor snaps on the punts and the short field did us in today," said Steve King, head coach of the Spartans. "Believe me, we work on the snaps during practice and they are good, but game time brings a different pressure. Plus you throw in a wet ball and field, and that makes it worse. Nobody feels worse than the young man snapping, but he is a very high character person and will be fine. The team is frustrated that we haven't been able to get a win on the board since the opening game, and that is understandable. Hopefully we can have a good, short week of practice and end the season with a win."

The Spartans close the 2013 season with a game in Grand Rapids on Thursday, Oct. 17, against Itasca Community College. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. at the high school field.


Spartans Dominated on the Road

Oct. 5, 2013

The M State Spartan football team was dominated on the road in a 91-7 loss to the nationally ranked Yellowjackets of Rochester Community and Technical College in Rochester.

The Yellowjackets dominated every aspect of the game as the Spartans were overwhelmed from the opening kickoff. The Spartans were unable to generate any type of offense with the exception of one drive that resulted in a Hayden Zenner two-yard touchdown run. The special teams gave up a punt return for a touchdown in the first quarter and two blocked punts. The defense had problems tackling the Yellowjackets, and that resulted in some very long yardage plays.

"I feel very bad for our student athletes" said Steve King, head coach of the Spartans. "We were overwhelmed. Rochester is a very talented team, but no team deserves this. My biggest disappointment is that they had us to a point where we couldn't execute the center to quarterback snap or protect on punts. Those are things we can control. I will say this about our team: They never quit, and they represented our program with class. Not every program can say that, even when they win."

The Spartans will host Minnesota West Community and Technical College in the final home game of the year. Kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 12, at the Spartan field.


Spartan Football Drops Road Contest

Sept. 21, 2013

The M State football team traveled to Willmar on Saturday, Sept. 21, to take on the undefeated Ridgewater College Warriors and lost 37-7, dropping the Spartans to 1-3 on the season.

The Spartans received the opening kick and were stopped on three downs deep in their own territory and were forced to punt. The snap to Spartan punter Cody Guevara sailed over his head, and he alertly kicked it out of the end zone, giving the Warriors a safety and a 2-0 lead.

The Spartans then kicked off to the Warriors and had a nice defensive series, forcing the Warriors to punt after three plays. The Spartan offense again stalled, and another bad snap to Guevara gave the Warriors excellent field position at the Spartan 22 yard line. They ran the ball right up the pipe behind their big offensive line and scored a touchdown on two plays. The extra point attempt was good and the Warriors lead 9-0.

The Spartans answered back with an impressive 12-play, 80-yard drive combining both the run and the pass. Spartan quarterback Jesse Vanilau, making his first start as a Spartan in place of the injured Jarod Mold, capped the drive with a 12-yard pass to sophomore receiver Logan Connelly for the touchdown. Guevara added the extra point, and the score was 9-7.

Ridgewater would score another rushing touchdown late in the first quarter to make the score 16-7, and it would stay that way for much of the second quarter. Unfortunately for the Spartans, the Warriors would score two touchdown in the last three minutes of the half and take a 30-7 lead into the half.

Ridgewater completed the scoring with a rushing touchdown on the opening drive of the second half for the final score of 37-7. The Spartans had some second-half opportunities but could not capitalize as their drives stalled short of the end zone.

Vanilau played well in his first collegiate start as he completed 12 of 22 pass attempts for 124 yards and a touchdown. He did not throw an interception. He also showed the ability to create and extend plays with his feet. Connelly caught five passes for 44 yards including the 12-yard TD reception. Guevara had a great day punting, averaging 40 yards on four kicks.

"We saw improvement and we saw passion, and that is what we talked about this week" said Steve King, head coach of the Spartans. "We are a very young team, even by community college standards, so we need our freshman to continue to improve and to take ownership in this program. We played all 60 minutes, and that is important and we had fun. I know the scores don't always indicate it, but we are closer than people think and have a great group of people to work with."

The Spartans will host Central Lakes College during Homecoming on Saturday, September 28. The volleyball team will be in action at 1 p.m. against Riverland College, and the football teams kicks off at 1:30 p.m.. One admission price will get you into both events.


Spartan Football Drops Home Game

Sept. 14, 2013

The M State Spartan football team lost 22-7 Saturday, Sept.14, against the Vermilion Community College Ironmen in a game played in a steady downpour that made it nearly impossible for the offensive units to do anything. As the game progressed, the field conditions deteriorated, and neither team was able to complete a pass or even snap the ball from the center to the quarterback.

Nearly all of the offensive scoring happened early in the game. The Spartans jumped to an early lead when freshman defensive lineman Josh Malin picked up a fumble and rumbled 60 yards to the Ironmen one-yard line. Sophomore running back Hayden Zenner did the rest of the work and scored on a one-yard run. Cody Guevara kicked the extra point, and the Spartans had an early 7-0 lead.

Vermillion would answer as they put together a seven-play drive that covered 50 yards, with the Ironmen scoring on a 21-yard touchdown pass. The extra point kick was good, and the game was tied at 7-7.

Vermillion would add a safety in the second quarter as the Spartans were backed up to their own two-yard line and forced to punt. The snap to the punter went out of the end zone for a Vermillion safety and a 9-7 lead.

After the safety, the Ironmen returned the Spartan kick to the Spartan 35-yard line. The Ironmen completed a long pass to the three-yard line and capped the drive with a touchdown run. The extra point attempt was blocked, and the Ironmen held a 15-7 lead going into the half.

Neither team was able to establish any offense in the second half as the rain and the field conditions made things difficult. Numerous bad snaps and fumbles by both teams resulted in negative yardage in the half for both the Spartans and the Ironmen. The Ironmen did score again when they recovered a Spartan fumble and ran all the way to the Spartan three-yard line. The Spartan defense played tough, but the Ironmen scored a fourth-down touchdown by inches for the final score. The extra point attempt was good for the final score of 22-7.

"It was a very difficult day to play football," said Steve King, head coach of the Spartans. "Even the little things offensively became almost impossible to execute in the second half. I am proud of our team for the way they battled until the final whistle. We just need to focus on having a good week of practice and get ready for divisional play."

The Spartans will begin Southern division play on Saturday, Sept. 21, with a 6 p.m. game in Willmar against the Ridgewater College Warriors.


Spartans Lose Big on the Road

Sept. 7, 2013

The M State Spartan football team traveled to Thief River Falls on Sept. 7 to play the Northland Community and Technical College Pioneers and were blown out by a score of 51-7. The Pioneers jumped to a 28-0 first quarter lead, and the Spartans never threatened that lead.

"As they say, we never got off the bus" said Steve King, head coach of the Spartans. "Our first offensive play had only 10 players on the field. Our tackling was terrible, we blew coverages and missed blocks. Personally and as a coaching staff it wasn't our best day so all the blame can't be put on the players. It was a team meltdown that I didn't see coming. Our practices were good this week, but they were a much better team than us today."

The Pioneers had six sacks and numerous tackles for loss resulting in the Spartans having a minus33 yards rushing on the day. They mustered only 75 yards passing, completing seven of 20 attempts. The Pioneers had 290 yards passing, including a 98-yard reception for a touchdown and 206 yards rushing.

The Spartans' lone touchdown came on a 20-yard pass completion from freshman quarterback Jesse Vanilau to freshman wide receiver Travis Moen in the fourth quarter. Another highlight of the day was sophomore Logan Connelly catching a short pass and literally carrying 11 Pioneer defenders for an extra 15 yards on pure effort.

"In a game like this you need to look for little things that are positive. Logan Connelly refusing to go down was a sign of true leadership. The game was out of hand, but it didn't matter to him, he worked every play as hard as he could. I think we will be OK and play well Saturday."

The loss evens the Spartans record at 1-1.


Spartan Football Wins 2013 Season Opener

Aug. 31, 2013

The M State Spartan football team opened the season with a convincing 34-12 home win over the Norsemen from Mesabi Range Community and Technical College in Virginia, Minn. The game featured a rarity: A game delay at the start of the fourth quarter due to lightening and high winds. The delay lasted for more than an hour, but the Spartans were able to finish the job they started and celebrate the victory.

The Spartans received the opening kickoff and marched down the field, combining a great ground attack and a very efficient passing game. Jarod Mold hit Paris Woods for a nine-yard touchdown pass for the first touchdown of the 2013 season. The extra point attempt failed, and the Spartans had a 6-0 lead.

The Spartans followed the same formula into the second quarter. Sophomore linebacker Zack Bond recovered a Norseman fumble at the Spartan 40 yard line. On this drive, the bruising running style of sophomore Hayden Zenner proved to be the key as he found the end zone on a seven-yard carry, capping the 60 yard drive. This time Cody Guevara split the uprights for the extra point, and the Spartans had a 13-0 lead.

The Spartans were able to finish the half in style as they put a late touchdown on the board. Freshman Shaquille Cole did most of the damage on the ground, and he found the end zone on a four-yard run. Guevara nailed the extra point, and the Spartans had a 20-0 half time lead.

The Norsemen proved they were not going to go away easy as they put together a 16-play drive that lasted more than eight minutes to begin the third quarter. A four-yard touchdown pass put the Norse on the board trailing 20-6. The two-point attempt failed.

The Spartans came out running the ball hard in the second half and were willing to trade field position with the great punting of Guevara for high risk plays. It paid off as Kali Louis fielded a Norsemen punt and returned it to the 10 yard line. Cole would score on a three-yard run. Guevara made the extra point, and the Spartans lead 27-6 early in the fourth quarter, when officials halted the game and sent players and the fans to a safe location.

After the delay, the Norsemen did just as they had to begin the second half. They put together a few first downs before hitting a 67-yard touchdown pass. The two-point attempt would again fail, and the Spartans lead was 27-12.

The Norsemen would threaten, but the Spartan defense kept them out of the end zone. Rickey Clifton had a key interception to stop a drive, and the offensive line did a great job of blocking and allowing the running backs to get first downs. The Spartans would score one more time when the defense forced Mesabi to punt. Louis fielded the punt and began another nice return. He was hit and fumbled the ball, but Spartan defensive back Rickey Clifton scooped up the ball and showed his speed as he scored on the 41-yard run. Guevara made his fourth extra point of the game for the final score of 34-12.

"It was a great win for our sophomores who have committed to making this program better," said Steve King, head coach of the Spartans. "It is only one win, but it is proof that all the players working hard and working together can accomplish their goals. We had only one goal heading into the season, and that was to be prepared for game one and win it. We did that, so now we focus only on game two. I am very proud of this team and the coaching staff for the effort they have put forth. We hope it continues."

Last modified: October 22nd, 2013 at 07:39am