Chip Lohmiller has reached the mountain top in the sport of football as the Washington Redskins’ kicker on the Super Bowl championship team in 1992.
A football experience doesn’t get any better than that highlight.
But Lohmiller did have two other memorable football moments on the afternoon of Saturday, Oct. 26. First, his alma matter University of Minnesota football team upset a ranked Nebraska squad – marking the first time since 1960 that the Gophers have defeated the Cornhuskers.
Then, the Pequot Lakes High School team that Lohmiller coaches pulled off possibly the biggest playoff rally in program history as the fourth-seeded Patriots came back from a 26-0 deficit to stun top-seeded Park Rapids 34-26 in the Section 8AAA semifinals.
“Saturday was a fun day,” said Lohmiller, whose team scored 34 points against the Panthers in about 10 minutes of action. “You first watch the guys get down at half, and then see them react with the comeback. It’s neat to see what they can do when they believe in themselves.”
The comeback reminded Lohmiller of two other victories in his decade as Pequot Lakes’ coach. He said the Patriots rallied from a 20-0 deficit against Park Rapids in a regular season game, and then rallied from an 18-0 deficit to defeat Thief River Falls in a playoff game.
“We scored 22 points in about five minutes (against TRF),” he said, “but Saturday’s game was our biggest comeback. It was pretty exciting.”
Pequot Lakes, which also had a memorable 13-12 double overtime victory over Roseau in the quarterfinals on Tuesday, Oct. 22, now faces No. 3 Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton in the section final at 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 31.
“They’re a good team,” Lohmiller said of D-G-F, “but we will be tough if we play like we did in the second half against Park Rapids. We need to click on all cylinders.”
The Patriots are enjoying a successful playoff run despite winning just three of eight regular season games.
“We were just trying to get better each week,” Lohmiller said. “Our schedule was so tough at the end of the season playing teams like Detroit Lakes and Hawley. We lost those games, but we did get better.”
Many Athletes of the Week
Selecting an athlete of the week for Pequot Lakes or Pine River-Backus schools is no easy task, especially this fall when many of the teams have enjoyed success. We pick one athlete a week per school, but there are many weeks when we could honor four or five athletes.
At Pequot Lakes, the Patriots’ tennis team compiled a 15-5 record and just missed reaching the section title match. And their No. 1 singles player, sophomore Haley Wiebolt, didn’t receive athlete of the week this fall despite compiling 97 career wins.
The Patriots’ cross country team, which swept the boys’ and girls’ titles in three straight meets in the middle of the season, had Caitie Ryan qualify for the state meet, plus two other runners, Sarah Rudlang and Elsa Headlee, earn Birch Tree all-conference honor — and unfortunately all three did not receive athlete of the week this fall.
The Pequot Lakes’ volleyball team finished with 18 wins and a couple of its top players, like seniors Katie White and Ashley Abear, not receive athlete of the week this season.
And the Patriots’ football team advances to Thursday’s section final after two thrilling playoff wins. But still many members of the Patriots weren’t chosen athletes of the week – like quarterback C.J. Borleis, who has thrown five touchdown passes in two playoff wins, or Justin Mackenthun with three touchdowns in the playoffs.
The Echo Journal congratulates all of the athletes of the week from this fall, and encourages all those who weren’t chosen.
Hopefully, they will be chosen in another sport this year or have another chance next season.