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Warriors Athlete of Week: Brainerd QB has been in a zone

Hanson Devine Sport: Football Position: Quarterback Year: Junior Age: 16 Height: 6-2 Other sports: Swimming, baseball Career highlight: Throwing 3 TD passes against Moorhead Grade-point average: 3.6 Favorite class: Physics with Mr. Gilbertson Fav...

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Hanson Devine

Sport: Football

Position: Quarterback

Year: Junior

Age: 16

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Height: 6-2

Other sports: Swimming, baseball

Career highlight: Throwing 3 TD passes against Moorhead

Grade-point average: 3.6

Favorite class: Physics with Mr. Gilbertson

Favorite food: Biscuits & gravy

Favorite movie: "Remember the Titans"

Favorite TV show: "How I Met Your Mother"

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Favorite website: Twitter

Hobbies: Golfing with friends

Future plans: Attend 4-year college

Favorite athlete: Mike Trout

Parents: David Devine and Erika Nilsen

Hanson Devine receives recognition for the offensive stats he piles up and his picture appears in the newspaper on occasion.

But the Brainerd Warriors junior quarterback is quick to credit his offensive line and his receivers for enabling him to earn those accolades.

The 6-foot-2 Devine has been in a zone the last half of the season. In the two games before, and the two games after, a loss at Bemidji, he has completed 33 of 53 passes (62 percent) for 600 yards and 10 TDs. He has thrown for 100 yards in each of those games as Brainerd went on to earn the No. 2 seed in the Section 7-5A playoffs.

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His success starts up front with starting tackles Eric Uphoff and Kyler Kennedy, guards Clayton Caird, Michael Horton and Seth Desrocher and center Jon Bostrom.

"I've only been knocked down like three times the last 4-5 games," Devine said. "They're the biggest part to my success. Those guys give me the time to sit back there and throw and make plays. (Skill position players) get all the credit. (Linemen) don't get much."

The receiver corps of Cole Spieker, Quinn McElfresh and Steve Severson gives Brainerd one of its most lethal vertical threats in years. Through the regular season, Spieker has 24 catches for 435 yards (18.1 average) and eight TDs, McElfresh 27 catches for 410 yards (15.2) and three scores and Severson seven grabs for 95 yards (13.6) and two TDs.

"Those three probably are one of the best receiving corps Brainerd has had in a long time," Devine said. "They're quick, they're strong, they make the most of their catches. They find space and get open all the time, which makes it easy on me. When they're wide open I have to find them and give them the ball."

Warriors coach Ron Stolski said Devine excels at spreading the ball around to a variety of receivers.

"Cole Spieker has been the recipient lately," Stolski said. "Hanson reads the coverages and knows where the ball needs to go so that kind of dictates the throws. It's not like we're favoring one receiver over the other."

For the season, Devine has hit 50 of 89 attempts (56.2 percent) for 788 yards and 12 TDs. His longest TD pass was 77 yards and he has thrown just three interceptions.

"I think the recent success comes from those around me, and I'm also getting used to the role, being more used to the guy who starts," Devine said. "Also it's just staying poised, getting used to the stress and the opposition, being able to handle it better, and keeping my composure on the field and keeping the guys heads up on the sidelines because when we get back out there, we know we can pull it off, we know we can do what we need to do."

Stolski has been impressed with Devine's maturity and growth under center and his ability to take charge.

"He's verbal. He gets guys in the right spots," Stolski said. "In our check-with-me game he makes excellent decisions. When he gets into a throwing rhythm all of us have seen he's accurate."

While Devine usually starts, he often shares time at the position with senior Evan Brecht.

"I love playing football," Devine said. "It's a lot of fun being in there, but I also know that when the throwing game's not there we can put Evan in to run the option and run the ball. (Assistant) Coach (Jeff) Ramey calls us 'Thunder and Lightning' because Evan is a threat to run some plays. Teams couldn't prepare for (the rotation). They couldn't defend it well."

Devine has been calling signals since fifth grade but from grades seven through 10 he said he played all over the field.

"I had not started a game at quarterback since seventh grade (until this year)," he said. "As a ninth-grader, I was the backup. I was third-string on the sophomore team. This year I shot up to the starting varsity spot. It's a huge jump but I love it and I love playing."

Stolski said Devine "works at his craft."

"He's a very smart player who obviously enjoys football and wants to learn more about the game," Stolski added. "What's interesting is this is his first starting role in football (in years) and he's got the poise of a veteran player.

"I had a conversation with John Zemke, his swim coach, who said how happy he was to see Hanson getting an opportunity to play. John said 'I will tell you this about him. He's a real competitor.' That probably sums it up. He competes."

Last summer Devine was an integral member of the pitching staff for the Brainerd VFW baseball team that finished 36-5, including 2-2 in the state tournament. He threw a team-high 57.2 innings with a 6-1 record and 1.457 ERA.

"Throwing helps keep my arm strength up," he said. "Baseball contributes more to the composure and poise needed to play. Being out there pitching in situations where the game's on the line you've just got to keep cool. I've been in high-stress situations before. Those situations in swimming and baseball have helped me stay poised and get the job done."

Other notable efforts:

• Cole Spieker, wide receiver, has 12 catches for 287 yards (23.9 average) and seven 7 TDs in four of the last five games.

MIKE BIALKA may be reached at mike.bialka@brainerddispatch.com or 855-5861. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/bertsballpark .

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