Male Area Athlete of the Week: Tulenchik paces PRB offense

Pine River-Backus junior gets area athlete of the week

Irvin Tulenchik.

Trust is important for a quarterback.

Pine River-Backus quarterback Irvin Tulenchik has that trust. He threw for 68 yards and two touchdowns in the Tigers win over Bagley Friday, Sept. 10.

The running game played a major role in the 58-14 win for the Tigers as they rushed for 318 yards on the ground, but Tigers head coach Tom Demars knew he could trust Tulenchik to make a play when needed.

“Irvin always gives us a chance to make the play,” Demars said. “He runs the offense and when he has the option — we haven’t been throwing the ball a whole lot the last couple games, but when we have it’s always been on the money and a catchable ball. That’s been true this year, that’s been true last year as well. When game time comes around his throws have been on target.”

His favorite target against Bagley was Rian Struss who caught both touchdowns thrown by Tulenchik.


Struss has five catches for 100 yards in two games as Tulenchik's main target when PRB throws.

“He’s 6-foot-3 and a big dude,” Tulenchik said. “I know if I throw it up to him he’s going to get it and he’s got tremendous hands. I know I can trust him with anything. He along with three or four other guys I know if I throw the ball to them they are going to catch it and do the right thing.

RELATED: Male Area Athlete of the Week: Klefsaas’s big game on the ground helps S-M over W-DC Staples-Motley's Sivert Klefsaas is the male area athlete of the week
In the week prior, Tulenchik threw for 136 yards and a touchdown in the Tigers 44-0 win over Walker-Hackensack-Akeley. Last season in three games, Tulenchik quarterbacked the Tigers to two wins and threw for 248 yards with a 50% completion percentage and one touchdown.

“I’m just getting a lot of reps at practice and getting it down,” Tulenchik said. “I trust wide receivers. I’ve been in the system a while and know the kids I’ve been playing with pretty much my whole life. So it’s just about staying comfortable and they make the game easier for me.”

Demars said his experience is showing in his second season under center.

“He was kind of handed the reins last year and we kind of knew he was going to be our quarterback and he played well in our three games last year,” Demars said. “He’s just learned the offense and in doing it now for the second year, he can correct me sometimes when I’m calling plays in the wrong direction or making mistakes. He knows where everyone is supposed to go and can put guys in the right spot.”

Tulenchik said the coaches have helped him get to where he is comfortable in his second year of being a starting quarterback.

“All the coaches are giving me tips,” he said. “Just passing, the way I hand the ball off, footwork. Every practice just becomes a routine after a while and I keep getting better.”


Tulenchik plays both ways. He is a safety in PRB’s secondary. He’s been a starter on the defensive side for three years.

“He’s a good athlete and covers a lot of ground,” Demars said.

He recorded an interception and solo tackle last week against Bagley and tallied three tackles against WHA the week prior. He says he likes playing safety more than he does quarterback.

“I have to watch film obviously for both and try to find tendencies and it's a totally different side of the ball,” Tulenchik said. “More footwork drills and trying to learn their offense. I like safety more because there is more freedom and it’s fun tackling people.”

Other notable performances:
Football: Trevor Radunz, Pierz, rushed for 36 yards and two touchdowns against Minnewaska.
Kirby Fischer, Pierz, rushed for 73 yards and a touchdown and returned a punt for a touchdown against Minnewaska.
Josh Dykhoff, Wadena-Deer Creek, caught three passes for 37 yards and two touchdowns against Menahga.
Ethan Lodge, Pine River-Backus, rushed for 79 yards and scored two touchdowns against Bagley.
Sivert Klefsaas, Staples-Motley, rushed for 66 yards and two touchdowns against West Central.
Gideon Ervasti, Verndale, rushed for 149 yards and four touchdowns against Rothsay.
Ben Brownlow, Verndale, rushed for 100 yards and two touchdowns against Rothsay.
Jaden Schulke, Verndale, rushed for 68 yards and two touchdowns against Rothsay.
Soccer: Riley Perry, Little Falls, scored two goals against St. Cloud Apollo
Cross-Country: Jesse Clausen, Pequot Lakes, won the Pequot Lakes Invite in 17:24.07

Irvin Tulenchik

Year: Junior

School: Pine River-Backus


Sport: Football

Position: Quarterback/safety

Highlights: Tulenchik was 5-for-6 passing for 68 yards and two touchdowns

What To Read Next
The Brainerd Warriors also won the Minnesota Cheerleading Coaches Association Leadership Award.
The Brainerd Warriors competed in the Blaine Invite Saturday, Jan. 28.
Two area dance teams were in action Saturday, Jan. 28.
The Brainerd/Little Falls Warriors traveled to Elk River Saturday, Jan. 28.