Chirpich, Faber top All-Area offense

Spencer Chirpich and Jake Faber moved the first-down markers and piled up points on the scoreboard in a matter of seconds with just one quick flick of their wrists this fall.

While the 6-foot-1, 157-pound Chirpich guided Fairmont to the Class 3A state football quarterfinals and a runner-up showing in the South Central Conference en route to an 8-3 overall record, the 6-4, 200-pound Faber engineered Martin County West’s 8-2 mark, runner-up finish in the Southern Minnesota Conference and appearance in the Section 3AA semifinals.

The pair of spiral-firing Minnesota Associated Press all-state nominees combined for a staggering 68 touchdowns and an even more incredible 4,693 yards to make even the most sure-handed defenders wary on the prep gridiron this season.

Chirpich rewrote the Cardinal football program’s record books during his varsity starting debut under center, etching his name into the No. 1 spot in passing touchdowns in a game (6) and TDs through the air in a season (33).

Fairmont’s junior quarterback completed 150 of 259 passes for 57.9 percent, while generating the storied program’s No. 2 single-season passing yardage total of all-time (2,121), in addition to the second-best single-game mark of 271 yards.

The all-SCC choice also handled the Cardinals’ punting duties, producing a 35.1-yard average, with opponents returning only nine of his 32 punts.

While Chirpich utilized his accurate throwing arm to help Fairmont average 27.0 points per outing and 3,342 total yards of offense, Faber reached the end zone a combined 35 times on the strength of both his strong arm and hard-churning legs during his senior campaign.

The Mavericks’ two-time Sentinel All-Area and two-time all-conference quarterback generated 1,761 yards and 22 TDs behind an 87-for-151 passing performance en route to an accuracy rating of 57.6 percent this fall.

The SMC Offensive Player of the Year, who also produced 13 more TDs and another 811 yards on the ground, spearheaded Martin County West’s high-octane offense that amassed a staggering 4,786 totals yards and 66 TDs en route to a 39.9-point scoring clip per game.

For their diligent leadership and valuable contributions on and off the football field, Chirpich and Faber have been selected as the 2013 Sentinel All-Area Offensive Players of the Year.

Here’s an inside glance at the rest of the 2013 Sentinel All-Area football team’s offensive lineup.

The Backfield

Jared Green (GHEC/Truman) – The two-time all-Southern Confederacy Conference running back persevered through a handful of injuries to pace the Jaguars in both rushing and scoring during the fall.

The two-time All-Area selection rushed for 821 yards on 124 carries to net the No. 2 spot in the conference during his senior season.

The Jaguars’ MVP and Offensive Player of the Year generated nine touchdowns and five 2-point conversions to pile up 64 points on the season to place fifth in the SCC.

The 5-11, 165-pound academic all-conference player helped guide Granada-Huntley-East Chain/Truman to a 6-4 overall record and appearance in the 9-Man, Section 2 semifinals.

Thor Larson (Martin Co. West) – The 6-0, 220-pound sophomore phenom hammered out a team-best 1,211 yards and 15 TDs on 148 carries to fuel the Mavericks’ high-octane backfield this fall.

The all-Southern Minnesota Conference choice displayed his versatility by recording 86 tackles from his inside linebacker position on defense.

Larson proved an integral cog in the blue-and-black attack amassing 4,786 yards of total offense and 66 TDs en route to nearly 40 points per outing.

Aric Runge (North Union) – The Iowa Class 1A, all-District 1 quarterback completed 72 of 145 passes for 1,081 yards and six TDs to cap his senior season on the prep gridiron.

Runge displayed his versatility out of the Warriors’ backfield by producing 155 more yards and two scores on 105 rushes.

The sure-handed safety helped anchor the North Union secondary by making 41 tackles, including 19 solo stops, and intercepting one pass this fall.

The Blockers

Seth Anderson (Blue Earth Area) – The repeat All-Area offensive lineman created running room and provided pass protection for a Buc offense that generated 3,787 total yards in 2013.

The two-time all-South Central Conference choice played both guard and tackle during his senior campaign this fall.

The 6-0, 220-pound Anderson played a key role in steering Blue Earth Area to an undefeated Class 3A state football championship a year ago.

Hunter Olson (Martin Co. West) – The all-Southern Minnesota Conference lineman proved that he could move opponents off the line of scrimmage on both sides of the football.

The two-time All-Area offensive tackle was a formidable force behind the Mavericks’ high-scoring ways en route to 66 TDs and a 39.9-point average per game this season.

The 6-4, 230-pound senior defensive tackle delivered 71 tackles, including a pair of quarterback sacks, to round out his stellar prep football career.

Chase Paulsen (North Union) – The Iowa Class 1A, all-District 1 choice handled the Warriors’ snapping duties and played a key role in the green-and-black attack producing 2,470 yards of total offense and 22 TDs this season.

The North Union defensive lineman brought down 52 ball carriers, including 22 solo stops, to place fourth overall on the team’s tackling charts.

The senior lineman also scooped up one fumble to round out his solid prep football playing days.

Nick Roggow (Fairmont) – The Class 3A, academic all-state lineman proved an integral force behind the Cardinals’ 27-point scoring clip and 3,342 yards of total offense in 2013.

The three-year varsity starter made a smooth transition from center during Fairmont’s Class 3A state runner-up campaign in 2011 to guard during back-to-back all-South Central Conference seasons.

The two-time All-Area choice displayed his durability by recording 42 tackles from his defensive line position, including a second-best team total of four quarterback sacks for a negative 23 1/2 yards this fall.

The 6-3, 205-pound senior standout helped engineer the Cardinals’ second state appearance over the past three seasons to wrap up an outstanding prep football career.

Alex Saxen (Martin Co. West) – The all-Southern Minnesota Conference offensive tackle delivered jarring blocks to help the Mavericks pile up nearly 40 points per outing en route to an 8-2 record in 2013.

Ironically, the multi-tasking Saxen also played some tight end, garnering eight receptions for 102 yards and one TD.

The 6-3, 210-pound junior also displayed his skills at pursuing quarterbacks, tallying five sacks from his defensive end spot.

Saxen made 43 tackles, forced a pair of fumbles and blocked one punt to round out a brilliant season as a two-way starter.

The Receivers

Luke Becker (Fairmont) – The two-time All-Area wide receiver matched the Cardinals’ No. 2 single-season reception mark of 58 to top the red-and-white’s statistical charts in 2013.

Despite missing the majority of Fairmont’s Class 3A state quarterfinal game due to a severe ankle injury suffered during a kickoff return, the two-time all-South Central Conference choice finished second on the team in receiving yards (707), receiving TDs (9) and scoring (70 points) via 11 total scores and a pair of 2-point conversions.

The three-year varsity veteran also topped Fairmont by returning 10 punts for 209 yards and a dozen kickoffs for 191 more yards.

The sure-handed senior cornerback recorded 34 tackles to complement two interceptions, two fumble recoveries and one forced fumble to cap his outstanding prep football career.

Josh Eversman (Fairmont) – The all-South Central Conference honorable-mention choice etched his name in the Cardinals’ record books by making a smooth transition from running back a year ago to wide receiver this fall.

The 6-4, 175-pound senior speedster set both Fairmont’s all-time single-season receiving yardage mark (977) and receiving TDs (16) during a breakout season.

The sure-handed wide receiver, who topped the red-and-white in scoring with 96 points, also tied the program’s single-game receiving TD mark of four en route to 48 total catches in 2013.

The fleet-footed safety made 41 tackles and one interception to help guide Fairmont to the Class 3A state quarterfinals and an 8-3 overall record.