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PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Larimore RB compliments a big, powerful offensive line

Jake Peterson

Like all smart and modest running backs, Jake Peterson made sure to compliment his offensive linemen.

“It’s not an average line,” the Larimore senior running back said. “There’s very good talent and some size.”

Some size? Some?

The 5-1 Polar Bears field a physical-and-deep offensive line that averages about 240 pounds, well above the average in Class B high school football. Leading the way up front are seniors Beau Schaley and Matt Bratlie and sophomore twins Levi and Caleb Hofer. The fifth offensive lineman position has been shared by senior Riley Gainsforth and junior twins Aaron and Adam Reistad, with nary a middleweight in the bunch.

Typically, however, ballcarriers receive more credit for yardage and touchdowns than blockers, including here, as Peterson has been named the Herald’s Area Player of the week.

Peterson’s latest strong showing, ushered by his linemen, was 189 yards and three touchdowns on 10 carries as the Polar Bears defeated Langdon Area 46-8 on Friday. His season totals are 68 carries for 763 yards (11.2 per carry) and nine touchdowns. He has been held under 100 yards only once, when he was sidelined by injury early in the second half in Larimore’s sole loss, to nonregion power Rugby.

His numbers come from an old-school, ground-oriented offense that has thrown only 28 passes in its six games. Peterson’s position is wingback, in a double-wing formation that was popular when television was in black-and-white. But there’s no disputing the results, as the Polar Bears appear headed to face North Prairie in the regular-season finale for the Region 2A title Oct. 18.

Larimore has gained 1,706 yards on 244 running plays and 183 yards on 28 pass attempts.

“We are able to pass, but it’s easier to hand it off than throw it,” said Larimore Coach Paul Peterson, Jake’s father. “And our linemen are big guys who are really good at run-blocking.”

Following that blocking is his 6-foot-3, 180-pound son. “Jake reads blocks well and then he has a burst,” coach/dad said. “He’s our breakaway guy.”

Jake sees it similarly. “Our line often gets a 5-yard push, so I try to follow them,” he said. “They move bodies very well and then sometimes something opens up and there’s a lot of green grass in front of me.”

A three-sport athlete, Jake was second-team all-conference in basketball and placed second in the pole vault at the state track meet as a junior.

“Pole-vaulting is one of my passions,” he said.”It’s a risky sport, and that’s what makes it so exciting.”

Football has a similar allure.

“We play hard-nosed football, and it’s been working for us so far,” he said.