The old adage says, “The line never gets any credit for what they do. It’s always those running, throwing and catching that get the ink.”

By-and-large, that’s true! But as great as skill positions players like Isaac Hennen, Alex Pohlen, Cole Sanow and Thomas Hennen are — none of their status happen without THE LINE.

“When we went into the year, we had a lot of pieces in place. But the biggest question mark was the line,” said Coach Chad Johnston. The offensive line had to be rebuilt around center Ty Lipinski.

T.J. Esping was moved into tackle from another position. The rest had to be rebuilt. The tools were there — big, strong young men with potential.

But would they “step up” and improve their skills, become dominant blockers and defenders? And would they meld as a team?

These were the question marks.

Assistant Coach Matt Myrvik wasted no words in describing how he felt about it. “From Day 1, this was the most improved team. They kept working and they kept getting better and better.”

Along the way Myrvik also called them, “The most unselfish team.” “This group stepped up and every week they got better and better,” added Coach Johnston.

When it counted most, the line was at its best — in the state tournament.

To set the record straight:

The offensive line was:Center: Ty Lipinski Guards-Cole VanOverbeke and Mitchell Rost. Tackles: T.J. Esping and Ethan Krier (photo below).

End: Logan Sussner. Also coming in to help were Lucas Bot and Shawn Buysse.

“They did such a great job,” said Isaac Hennen, who benefitted from all that blocking.

“I always knew I could count on them. They made my job so much easier,” said the senior running back. And when it came to defense, well, most of these guys stepped up as well.

Junior Shawn Buysse from his linebacker position became the face of the Vikings’ defense. Isaac Hennen moved all around from defensive end to backfield to safety.

It was even said he played all or nearly all defensive positions during the year.

Lipinski, who hadn’t played much defense, turned around to help his team and VanOverbeke, Rost, Krier, Esping and Sussner also went both ways to make the Vikings one of the most feared defensive units in the state.

Often over-looked, but always right on the scene was Landon Abraham.

The Viking linebacker was also versatile and was the most common ingredient when it came to the special teams making tackles on kickoffs.

Abraham and reserve quarterback Jacob Hennen seemed to excel at stopping running backs.

The most common phrase heard from Minneota fans after the Prep Bowl was over wasn’t how many yards Isaac Hennen had.

It was, “What about that line!” So, while accolades are handed out, it’s best to hand many to a group: THE LINE — THE BOYS WHO MADE IT HAPPEN!

Ethan Krier

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