For a moment in Friday's 14-10 win over Century, Minot High School senior Jordan Seideman looked more like a pro wrestler than a 166-pound free safety.
An unproven commodity at the start of the season, Seideman made two key defensive plays to help keep MHS (8-0 overall, 5-0 West Region) undefeated with Bismarck High (8-0, 5-0) ahead in the regular season finale.
Patriots senior running back Hunter Babeck carried on a fourth-and-3 at the MHS 33-yard line with four minutes remaining in the third quarter. Century, slightly out of field goal range, had a 10-7 lead.
Minot High School sophomore linebacker Matthew Marler pressures Century sophomore Dalton Feeney into an incomplete pass during the Magicians’ 14-10 win Friday.
A couple of MHS defenders slowed Babeck at the line of scrimmage before he was met by Seideman a yard later. The ever-improving Magician wrapped up the 165-pound Babeck and basically body slammed him to the field at Duane Carlson Stadium.
"I just happened to be closer to the line much more," Seideman said. "Coaches are believing in me, so I'm getting closer to the line, so (I'm not) so far back. I just saw him bounce out. I was just doing my job like everyone else on the team. The linebackers did good filling and the line did a great job getting hands on."
He followed the strongman play with a Superman impression later in the game. With about two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, Century quarterback Dalton Feeney heaved a 25-yard pass into the MHS red zone and Seideman leaped for a diving breakup to force a punt. The Magicians scored the game-winning touchdown on the ensuing possession.
"I would say Seideman's been our biggest surprise," defensive coordinator Jerry Danelson said. "We always knew he was a pretty good athlete and it's been great. He's played hard and he's made a lot of good plays in the backfield for us, knocking passes down and making a couple tackles."
Seideman saw little time as a junior playing outside linebacker. Senior quarterback Alex Yanosko was slated to start at free safety, but suffered a season-ending injury in the first game. Seideman saw the opportunity and quickly proved he was the team's top option.
"We didn't even know Jordan could play there," MHS head coach Barry Holmen said, "so talk about a plus on the defensive side where a young man got an opportunity and just absolutely has grown into a wonderful football defender."
Seideman is responsible for calling out coverages each play and already sounds like a coach when rattling off details about positioning and what he saw on his big pass breakup.
"They were in a double twins," Seideman said. "They ran pretty much a flood route to the one side and the back side like a skinny post or a post, and I just saw him lob the ball up there and I just ran and jumped and got it."
That play and consecutive breakups by senior cornerback Josh Pizzo on the game's final two snaps marked an improvement in the secondary, which struggled to defend deep passes in previous weeks. Seideman said the team practiced with soaked footballs last week after eking out an 8-0 win over Jamestown in a downpour the week before.
"I feel Century (game) was our best defensive (effort) all year so far, which is how it should be - better every game," he said.
One more run
The Minot High School boys and girls cross country teams conclude their seasons Saturday at the state meet in Valley City. Bismarck High is the clear favorite on the boys side followed by East Region champion Davies.
That leaves the Magicians in a mix with Century, Grand Forks Central and West Fargo for third-place contenders. MHS was third at the West Region meet, but ran without its top runner, senior Andrew Beach. The top-five hopeful is back and the team is coming off a strong week of practice.
"We have more depth on our fifth man than (Century does)," MHS coach Aaron Klingbeil said. "Man-to-man they've beat us in the past. We're hoping to switch that, but if we can even do well toe-to-toe we think we can get in before their fifth man."
MHS is taking an approach similar to the week before a strong showing against Minnesota's biggest schools at the Milaca Mega Meet last month. Klingbeil feels seniors Sean Krill and Dylan Ellis can finish in the top 20 and earn all-state honors.
The course isn't very hilly compared to ours or Hillcrest in Jamestown," Klingbeil said. "It has kind of a constant slope. Feels like you're on sloped ground a lot, but not very steep. It favors a well-trained distance runner, not necessarily the fastest."
That could play right into Beach's style.
"He's got good foot speed, but prefers to grind it out in the last mile instead of the last 100 (meters)," Klingbeil said.
The Class A boys race at noon followed by the Class A girls at 12:45 p.m. The Class B boys start at 2:15 followed by the girls at 3.