Two area football players are Wendy’s Minnesota High School Heisman finalists

Published 9:06 pm Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A pair of area senior football players were named amongst the 20 finalists for the Minnesota Wendy’s High School Heisman Tuesday.

Blooming Prairie lineman Jason Jirele and Southland running back/linebacker Mike Goergen are both amongst the final 10 male athletes out of the 496 applicants from Minnesota.

Jirele is currently preparing for the Section 1A title game against Faribault Bethlehem Academy this Friday at 7 p.m. in BP. With a win, the Awesome Blossoms would clinch their third trip to the state tournament in four years.

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“It’s been all I’ve thinking about this week,” Jirele said. “FBA has a good team and it won’t be easy by any means. It’ll take a lot of work.”

Jirele remembered applying for the High School Heisman, but he didn’t think anything would come of it. He said he takes pride in his grades, especially because he plays a position that is not always given credit for having smart players.

“School comes pretty easily for me, I just make sure and get my homework done right away after practice,” he said. “There’s an old saying is that linemen are dumb, but all of the guys on our line aren’t like that. Our coach stresses us to keep up our grades.”

Goergen spent most of his football season on the sideline with an injury this past fall, but he was able to play one quarter of Southland’s 32-6 playoff loss to Goodhue last week.

Goergen had two big receptions called back due to penalties on offense, but he did force two fumbles while playing linebacker on defense.

“It felt great to get in for that quarter,” he said. “It was tough to watch all season long because of all the time I put in over the summer, but to play a little bit felt amazing.”

Goergen didn’t expect too much when he applied for the award, but he’s excited to be amongst the top-20 in the state.

Goergen has always been dedicated to his academics.

“Me and my friends do homework every night and I put just as much into that as I do athletics. It’s hard, but you’ve got to find a way to balance it,” Goergen said.

On November 5, 2012, one male and one female finalist from each state will be named State High School Heisman Winners. Of those State Winners, 12 will be chosen as National Finalists and will go on to compete for the National Winner title in New York City on Dec. 7.

National Finalists will be featured during a televised ceremony on ESPN® networks and will receive gold medals and $2,000 awards for their high schools. One male and one female National Winner will receive a crystal Wendy’s High School Heisman trophy, a $500 gift certificate to Wendy’s, and Wendy’s will donate $10,000 to each winner’s respective high school. Additionally, the winners will be recognized during the collegiate Heisman Trophy broadcast on ESPN, Dec. 8.