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Mayo smashes past JM to keep Addington Jug, set up battle of unbeatens

Rees Grimsrud threw four touchdown passes and the Spartans started fast to ensure there would be no letdown ahead of the Mankato West matchup.

JM vs. Mayo
Mayo's Logan Burger wraps up John Marshall quarterback Nico Chhin during a Big Southeast District football game Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022 at Mayo High School Stadium.
Alex VandenHouten / Post Bulletin
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ROCHESTER — For the Mayo football team, it wasn't too long ago that claiming possession of the Addington Jug for the season was a goal.

That goal has now evolved into an expectation and the Spartans made that expectation reality for the third consecutive season, smashing past an undermanned John Marshall team 52-0 Saturday night at Mayo High School.

The win not only means Mayo holds the Jug for the third consecutive season, but also sets up a battle of unbeatens on Friday when the 4-0 and No. 6 ranked Spartans take on top-ranked and 4-0 Mankato West.

Yet, on Saturday night the only focus for the Spartans was the Rockets.

"We hadn't talked about anybody, besides JM," Mayo coach Donny Holcomb said. "Because whatever your opponent, it's an opportunity to fix things within your team. That's what today was about.

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"I'm just happy with the way the kids came out and performed."

JM vs. Mayo football
Brigg Poppe (21) and Tore Papenfuss (30) run out onto the field with the Addington Jug in hand before the game against John Marshall on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022.
Alex VandenHouten / Post Bulletin

Mayo wasted little time in inserting its will, capping off a 10-play — eight runs —56-yard drive with a Tore Papenfuss 18-yard touchdown rush on the opening drive of the game.

The ensuing John Marshall possession saw the shotgun snap go way over the head of 5-foot-4 quarterback Nico Chhin, who would have needed to be 6-foot-4 to have a chance at it. It was the first of three first half turnovers for the Rockets, who finished the game with four — two fumbles, two interceptions.

JM vs. Mayo football
Mayo's Brigg Poppe (21) tries to corral a loose fumble in the first half against John Marshall on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022.
Alex VandenHouten / Post Bulletin

"We shot ourselves in the foot," JM coach Kyle Riggot said. "The whole first half, I thought this was the best that we've come out and started the game, moving the ball, playing well defensively, bending and not breaking, not giving up big plays. There was like two steps forward one step back.

"But man, we are going to run out of toes if we keep shooting ourselves."

Rees Grimsrud and the Mayo offense capitalized.

The first-year varsity signal caller continues to look more and more comfortable with Saturday staking the claim to be the best of the junior's season.

He was confident in his throws, completing passes to different receivers not named Carter Holcomb and most importantly, was deadly accurate.

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When it was all said and done, Grimsrud completed 11 of 16 passes for 164 yards with touchdown passes of 35, 7, 9 and 17 to three different receivers.

"My confidence level just keeps growing," Grimsrud said. "It keeps getting smoother and smoother. We still have have to fix some little things and hopefully we will do that next week."

It was important for the Mayo offense to have someone put up big numbers outside of Carter Holcomb.

The junior receiver has been electric this season, having hauled in seven touchdowns receiving in the first three games.

He hooked up with Grimsrud for No. 8 on a 35-yarder, but due to double and triple teams at times, that touchdown was just one of Holcomb's four catches.

That meant someone else had to step up and today that was Lucas Peterson.

Another junior receiver blessed with great traits, Peterson no doubt has the potential to play a key role down the stretch for Mayo.

That was proven true on Saturday with Peterson catching a pair of touchdowns from Grimsrud with the second one belonging on SportsCenter.

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"We told Lucas, that there's going to be times where Carter is going to get doubled and that's where you have to be salivating," coach Holcomb said. "So I'm proud of the way Lucas responded and had a nice game himself."

The Rockets (0-4), meanwhile, just could not get anything going against the talented Mayo defense.

That defensive line, specifically, wreaked havoc on Chhin and the rest of the JM offense. There were flashes at times just like the last couple of weeks, but just not consistently.

JM still hasn't scored yet this season in 14 quarters.

"Take away nothing from Mayo," Riggott said. "We walked into halftime, saying they're as good, if not better than we anticipated. ... but we need to finish. We get into the red zone, we get into positive field position, we have to finish."

The Rockets will look to break through at New Prague, while the Spartans welcome in West for homecoming.

The situation heading into Friday seems to be nearly an identical one to last year's when the 4-0 and top-ranked Scarlets handed the Spartans their first and only regular season defeat.

"Last year is last year," Grimsrud said. "It's a new team this year and we're going to show what we can do."

Mayo 52, John Marshall 0
JM 0-0-0-0—0
Mayo 14-21-10-7—52

First quarter

Mayo — Tore Papenfuss 18 run (Ethan Post kick) 6:52.

Mayo — Rudy Lozoya 17 run (Post kick) 4:12.

Second quarter

Mayo — Carter Holcomb 35 pass from Rees Grimsrud (Post kick) 9:13.

Mayo — Lucas Peterson 7 pass from Grimsrud (Post kick) 6:02.

Mayo — Peterson 9 pass from Grimsrud (Post kick) 3:24.

Third quarter

Mayo— William Kipp 17 pass from Grimsrud (Post good) 4:08.

Mayo — Post 35 field goal 0:12.

Fourth quarter

Mayo — Jackson Tran 20 blocked punt (Post kick), 5:33.

JM vs. Mayo football
John Marshall's Liban Ali returns a kick against Mayo on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022 at Mayo High School.
Alex VandenHouten / Post Bulletin

Alex VandenHouten has been a sports reporter at the Post Bulletin since Sept. 2021. He loves to go hiking, biking, snowshoeing and just simply being outdoors with his wife Olivia. Readers can reach Alex at avandenhouten@postbulletin.com.
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