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Male Area Athlete of the Week: W-DC quarterback leads Wolverines to 2 wins

Wadena-Deer Creek senior earns male area athlete of the week.

Payton_Rondestvedt.jpg
Payton Rondestvedt.

Wadena-Deer Creek football has been busy.

The Wolverines played three games in nine days from Oct. 1 to Oct. 9.

Last week, W-DC played two games. One was against Walker-Hackensack-Akeley Tuesday, Oct. 5, and the other against Bagley Saturday, Oct. 9.

The Wolverines won both contests which pushed their winning streak to three games since they beat Lake Park-Audubon Sept. 30.

In the games last week, senior quarterback Payton Rondestvedt threw for 224 yards and three touchdowns on 9-for-11 passing and rushed for 57 yards and two touchdowns on four carries in the Wolverines Tuesday night victory over Walker-Hackensack-Akeley. He followed that up four days later with 273 yards and five touchdowns through the air on 22-of-33 passing in a rout of Bagley.

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“Playing two games in a week isn’t easy,” W-DC head coach Kyle Petermeier said. “We talked about it going into both those games that we had to rely on what we’ve been doing leading up to this. We didn’t really put too much thought into what the defense is doing since we had so many games in a short time. We put a lot of work in the summer and we throw the ball a lot and we go with our instincts and I think if we get a little bit of time Payton can hit anybody.”

Petermeier said the Wolverines did not practice hard leading up to playing three games in a nine-day period.

“We did more mental reps and mental things,” he said. “We did film and gave the kids a day off from the physical stuff. They knew they were going to have three games in nine games, but also knew they weren’t going to be going too hard in practice so their bodies were ready.”

Rondestvedt liked the approach his coach had during the busy week.

“Two games in a week can be a lot and start to wear down on your body, but we took it pretty easy in practice and I think that helped us have full energy for the games,” Rondestvedt said.

In the Tuesday game against WHA, Rondestvedt was quick to thank the line in helping him get three touchdowns through the air and two on the ground.

“They were giving us some pretty nice holes and also giving me time to throw,” he said. “The receivers also were doing a good job of making plays.”

Against Bagley, Rondestvedt said he was trying to exploit favorable match-ups whenever he saw them.

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“Whoever was open was making good plays in that game,” he said. “We had some really good catches and it was a little bit of a rainy game, but we still got the job done.”

For the season, Rondestvedt has thrown for 1,248 yards and 14 touchdowns with a 60% completion rate (81-for-135) and just five interceptions. He’s carried the ball 40 times for 213 yards and four touchdowns and also has recorded 19.5 tackles and an interception playing defense.

“I just like to give my receivers a chance to make a play,” Rondestvedt said. “They normally do and have made some great catches which makes it easier on the quarterback.”

Rondestvedt has taken snaps under center for the Wolverines since his freshman year and his improvement has been a sight to see for his coaches.

“I think the game has slowed down and I think he’s smart enough pre-snap that he can take a side and find the matchup to benefit us and key in on one guy post-snap to go to a certain spot and knows what’s going to be open,” Petermeier said.

One of Rondestvedt’s main targets is receiver Josh Dykoff. In the two games last week, Dykhoff hauled in a total of 10 passes for 183 yards and two touchdowns.

“In sports, you hear a lot about team chemistry and when you have guys who are actually friends outside of sports that’s huge,” Petermeier said. “Because when you get in the pressure moments and the pressure situations you can rely on them.”

Rondestvedt and Dykoff were both key players in W-DC’s run to the Class 2A state baseball tournament last spring.

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“He and I are good buddies and have been ever since I can remember,” Rondestvedt said. “It’s definitely comforting knowing that he is going to make a play and is a great athlete.”

Petermeier said Rondestvedt is easy to coach.

“He’ll do what you want him to do, but also challenge other players to pick their game up because he leads by example,” he said. “He’s kind of an extension of the coach on the field.”

The offense for W-DC has come together and Petermeier said that is thanks to their ability to run and pass.

“I think we are blocking better and I think we understand schemes where they are making calls on their own,” Petermeier said. “I think we are meshing with our pass game and our run game and it’s been pretty good getting both of those things together.”

Against Bagley, Rondestvedt hit 10 receivers for a reception in the win.

“It’s awesome to see,” Petermeier said. “We have a lot of guys who can make things happen. The problem is we can only have four on the field with our offense. Our guys stay ready and whenever they get in the game they're excited.”

The high-powered, throwing offense for the Wolverines doesn’t happen by accident. Petermeier suggested his team probably throws 50 to 60 times a day in practice.

“We take throwing the ball very seriously,” Petermeier said. “I know a lot of teams have fundamentals and we throw the ball about 50 to 60 times just to make sure we get the reps. It’s kind of like free throws in basketball. We throw the ball every day to stay on top of it.”

Other notable performances:
Football: Dylan Klancher, Crosby-Ironton, scored two touchdowns against Hinckley-Finlayson.
Dayton Anderson, Staples-Motley, caught three passes for 102 yards and a touchdown against Ottertail Central.
Quintin Laveau, Pillager, rushed for 132 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries against Pequot Lakes.
Caden Nelson, Pequot Lakes, rushed for 161 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries against Pillager.
Gideon Ervasti, Verndale, rushed for 118 yards and three touchdowns on 9 carries against Bertha-Hewitt.
Kole Dampha, Verndale, rushed for 107 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries against Bertha-Hewitt.
Trevor Radunz, Pierz, rushed for 107 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries against Melrose.
Connor Tulenchik, Pine River-Backus, rushed for 109 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries.
Josh Dykhoff, Wadena-Deer Creek, caught four passes for 98 yards and a touchdown against Walker-Hackensack-Akeley and caught six passes for 86 yards and a touchdown against Bagley.

Payton Rondestvedt

Year: Senior

School: Wadena-Deer Creek

Sport: Football

Position: Quarterback

Highlights: He threw for 224 yards and three touchdowns on 9-for-11 passing and rushed for 57 yards and two touchdowns on four carries against Walker-Hackensack-Akeley. He followed that up with 273 yards and five touchdowns on 22-of-33 passing against Bagley.

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