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Voyageur's Best Sports of 2002

Zac Brown

Brown becomes third all-time leading rusher at MHS
Zac Brown has 2,104 total yards
by John Grones | November 26, 2002

It’s official.

Zac Brown is now the third all-time leading rusher at McGregor High School. His 2,105 total yards puts him just ahead of Robb Reed with 1,627 yards and just behind Ron Wyttenback (2,338) and Clint Zimpel (2,777).

Zac rushed for 811 yards this year on 196. Coach Passer felt this was a high number in a high school football season. Despite struggling on the ground this year as a team, Zac still managed to average four yards per carry.

The yardage is a great feat, but coach Frauenshuh pointed out the fact that many of those yards were a result of the excellent blocking Zac got from his cousin Andrew Brown. The two have been working together for three straight years. Andrew at fullback, Zac at half back.

“Andrew Brown sprung a lot of big plays for Zac,” said coach Frauenshuh. “I think there was a family connection. During the Deer River game the opposing coach pointed it out. He said, ‘That fullback is a heck of a lead blocker.’”

For their efforts, both received post season awards. Zac was named the Most Valuable Offensive Back and Polar League All-Conference and Andrew was voted Most Improved and Polar League Honorable Mention.

Another key contributor this year was a senior that played every single down during the season. Joseph Koehler played center on the offense and stong side linebacker on defense.

Joseph’s coaches were quick to point out his dedication and hard work ethic. According to coach Passer, Joseph snapped the ball 1,100 times in two seasons and only had five missed exchanges during that time span. Passer felt that Joseph will be hard to replace at the center position next year.

As a team, the season didn’t go according to plan and the Mercs finished with a 1-8 record, losing their first round playoff game to Mountain Iron Buhl. The Mercs lone win came on Fri., Sept. 20 when they traveled to Nashwauk-Keewatin. Down 22-0 at halftime, the Mercs rallied to a 23-22 victory in hostile territory.

The good news for the Merc program is their transition from 11-man to nine-man that will begin next year. Because of current contracts with area schools, the Mercs will play an 11-man schedule, but will be in the nine-man playoffs come tournament time. The following year, the team will play an entire nine-man schedule.

As of now, the Great Northern Conference is looking at realigning the conference to include four new teams. In addition to McGregor, Mountain Iron Buhl, Fond du lac, and Mesabi Academy have all asked to join the conference. If the plan goes through, the Mercs would be in a conference with the following teams: Mountain Iron-Buhl, Northland Remer, Nevis, Isle, Cook and Mesabi Academy. Coach Passer has also requested that Floodwood and Cromwell be scheduled because of the proximity of schools.

This article first appeared in the November 26, 2002 issue of the Voyageur Press.