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WARRIORS ATHLETE OF WEEK: McAllister’s contributions were noticeable

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Brainerd Warriors 13, Eden Prairie 10.

That 2010 victory in the Class 5A state quarterfinals against one of the state’s high school football machines made Warrior fans and opponents stand up and notice Logan McAllister. The then-junior linebacker made two huge stops on Eden Prairie fourth downs to preserve Brainerd's victory.

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“It just kind of proved to me that I can play with some of the top teams,” McAllister said of the Eden Prairie game, “that I don’t have to worry about anybody we play against and I that I can play at that level.”

McAllister finished this season as Brainerd’s top point-getter (3,925) and was its second-leading tackler (134). He led the team in sacks (8).

“Logan was a true ‘Warrior’ for the defensive unit,” defensive coordinator Jason Freed said. “Every game he brought intensity, leadership, and energy to the defensive unit. He is what I call one of those quiet leaders that his teammates looked to and fed off of.  

“What makes Logan a very good linebacker and defensive player are his exceptional skills at stunting in our 3-5 blitz packages and his combination of speed and strength, which help him excel as a tackler and in pursuit of the ball. He was a very complete linebacker for us.”

McAllister played all three linebacker positions a year ago.

“He gained valuable experience in the speed of the game, learning to read the offense,” outside linebackers coach Scott Parsons said. “I think the light bulb came on about midseason (in 2010). He learned to read and became a complete player. He was very good player as a junior. We were expecting great things from him as a senior.

“We expected him to get off to a running start. He got better week by week. I think the experience he had as a junior, playing with and behind some of those kids, we didn’t have to throw him in the fire right away. He was able to learn so his senior year he was ready to roll.

“He was probably our best blitzer. When we wanted to apply pressure it was often with Logan in the passing game. He became very proficient at run reading. He has great downhill closing speed. He made a lot of plays at the line of scrimmage, no matter where the run was going, his side or away from him.

“I think he plays a little angry. That’s a great attribute to have to play that position. He could intimidate backs and I think he often did. When teams prepared to play us they had to know where he was. They had to account for him because he could hurt you.”

McAllister finished this season with two sacks and a team-high 17 tackles in a 24-20 Section 8-5A final loss to Moorhead.

“That was a credit to Freed and Parsons,” McAllister said of his performance. “They were doing stunts that worked well for the situations and I was able to time them right. That made it easy for me to get through the line.”

McAllister credited the opportunity to work with Parsons and Freed for enabling him to have a stellar season.

“With their help I was able to get a lot better than last year,” he said. “I got the fundamentals down this year, that helped make some games easier. I was able to read better and get tackles.”

McAllister was more than a linebacker. He was a captain and contributed as a fullback and receiver. He caught three passes for 49 yards and a TD and rushed for a 3-yard TD. As a fullback he was a devastating lead blocker.

“Mostly they wanted to use me blocking because I can get going pretty quick,” McAllister said. “I tried to make holes for Nick (Welch), Logan (Davis) and Conor (Gessell). I just worked a little bit more with the coaches, remembering plays, catching a little bit and taking hand-offs.”

Other notable efforts:

• Nick Welch, football, rushed for 152 yards and a TD against Tech.

MIKE BIALKA may be reached at mike.bialka@brainerddispatch.com or at 855-5861.

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