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Mason’s craftiness carves Cavalier defense

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Viborg-Hurley's Chase Mason (11) dives into the end zone for a score in front of the Bon Homme defense during the Class 9AA state championship on Thursday at Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium in Brookings.

BROOKINGS -- Bon Homme coach Byron Pudwill believes prep football games come down to quarterback pressure and eliminating big plays.

Once in a while, though, a player is special enough to make quarterback pressure irrelevant and big plays ensue. Viborg-Hurley’s Chase Mason proved to be that player after racking up 416 total yards and six touchdowns to lead the Cougars to a 50-24 win over Bon Homme in the Class 9AA championship game on Thursday.

The Cavaliers came into the game with 27 sacks on the season and were able to sack Mason twice, both by Josh Crownover. None of the pressure bothered the junior quarterback, though, as he dipped, ducked and recorded four touchdowns of at least 49 yards.

“(Mason) was one of those kids where you could do everything right and you were still wrong,” Pudwill said. “It was a little frustrating trying to contain him. We’ll just tip our cap to that quarterback.”

On several occasions, Bon Homme defenders had Mason hemmed in for a loss, only to watch him slip from their grasp. On one occasion, Mason evaded multiple defenders in the backfield and raced 80 yards for a touchdown.

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Each time Mason escaped the pocket, it typically led to a chunk play as Viborg-Hurley scorched the Cavaliers for seven plays longer than 20 yards.

“He’s really shifty in the pocket,” Bon Homme senior Cole Bares said. “His footwork is unbelievable. He takes his time, he’s always got his head on a swivel and he knows what he’s doing.”

‘Props to No. 11’

Viborg-Hurley assistant coach Cory Jacobsen laughed when he found out Chase Mason broke his Class 9AA total offense championship game record. He -- like Mason during his record-setting day -- was left in the dark.

It was a historic afternoon for the junior quarterback, who accounted for 416 total yards -- 220 yards on 14-for-22 passing and 196 rushing on 14 carries -- and six total touchdowns.

“I didn’t know,” said Jacobsen, who had 413 yards for Viborg-Hurley in 2010. “No better person, and it’s the team I played for. Couldn’t have happened to a better kid, better leader. It’s just unbelievable.”

When asked to compare their games, Jacobsen gave the athleticism edge to Mason, but said, “the accuracy, I’ll take a little bit of that.” Mason flashed plenty of his four-sport athleticism on Thursday, juking and gashing through Bon Homme’s defense.

He ran for a 73-yard touchdown in the second quarter, which was a yard short of the 9AA title game record. He left no room for error a quarter later, rushing for an 80-yard score to give the Cougars their first double-digit lead, 34-24.

“I didn’t really expect anything on that play, and then I kind of busted something open,” Mason said about his record-setting run, which untitled Noah Heesch’s and three other player’s 74-yard run.

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The game’s MVP didn’t know it was a record-setting run, just like he didn’t know he broke his quarterback coach’s total offense record. None of it surprised Jacobsen, who praised the Cougars’ game plan and Mason’s humbleness.

That was evident after the game as Mason, who led the team with 11 tackles, continuously praised his teammates after Viborg-Hurley gained 487 yards.

But Jacobsen didn’t mince his words.

“Props to No. 11,” he said. “He’s unbelievable.”

Hellmann battles through injury to follow in his father’s footsteps

Bon Homme may not have been able to finish with back-to-back state championships, but even a torn ACL was not going to keep Riley Hellmann from playing.

Hellmann felt his knee “explode” while attempting to make a tackle in the first game of the season against Platte-Geddes. The injury kept him from playing until the final game of the regular season when doctors assured him no further damage would be done.

Part of Hellmann’s desire to return was rooted in his father’s prior accomplishments and his desire to duplicate his state championship success as a senior.

Ben Hellmann recorded an interception and blocked an extra point in what proved to be the deciding play of a 7-6 win over Harrisburg in the 1994 Class 11B state title game. On Thursday, his son aimed for a similar feeling in his final prep game.

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“It’s crazy to go back and watch those games to see how my dad and his friends played,” Riley Hellmann said. “How they bonded to form that brotherhood that I wished to have on a football team. We did this year and I was so thankful to have that.

“I’m so influenced by my dad and what he did as a senior, I wanted to do,” Hellmann continued.

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