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Mitch Johnson, Lakeville North football

, Star Tribune

Chazz Johnson, Holy Family football

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Zoe Avestruz, Chanhassen swimming

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Bailey DuPay, Northfield diving

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Charlie Wittmer, Robbinsdale adapted soccer

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Prep athletes of the week: Defensive cog leads Panthers

  • November 19, 2012 - 10:49 PM

MITCH JOHNSON

Lakeville North • football

It was reported erroneously by the Minnesota State High School League, but fans of Lakeville North know who made the biggest play in a day of big defensive plays in the Panthers' 28-7 victory over Rosemount in the Class 6A semifinals.

Johnson, a senior captain and linebacker for Lakeville North's frenetic defense, scooped up a loose ball and returned it 8 yards for a touchdown in the final stages of the first half, giving the Panthers a 14-0 halftime lead.

"That was pretty cool, to do that in the semifinals in the [Metrodome]," Johnson said.

In addition to his touchdown, Johnson made four tackles, had one sack and broke up a pass.

CHAZZ JOHNSON

Holy Family • football

The recovery from injury of Johnson, an ultra-quick sophomore, has transformed the Fire offense and helped lift Holy Family to a berth in Friday's Class 4A state championship game. In a 49-28 semifinal victory over Princeton, he rushed for 210 yards and two touchdowns and returned a Princeton fumble 45 yards for a TD. In four playoff games, he has rushed for 638 yards and scored eight touchdowns, and added two TDs on fumble returns.

ZOE AVESTRUZ

Chanhassen • swimming

Along with teammate Kaia Grobe, Avestruz, a sophomore, was a three-time state champion at the Class 2A swimming and diving meet on Saturday at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center. Avestruz won the 100-yard butterfly in a time of 54.30 seconds and won the 100-yard backstroke in 53.50. Grobe, also a sophomore, won the 50 and 100 freestyles for the second consecutive year. Avestruz and Grobe were members of the winning 400 freestyle relay team. Grobe swam the lead leg and Avestruz was the anchor.

BAILEY DUPAY

Northfield • diving

As long as the sport involves twisting, spinning and flipping, DuPay, a sophomore, is among the best.

A key member of Northfield's Class 2A gymnastics championship teams in 2010 and 2011, DuPay showed she is just as much at home when landing in water rather than a mat. She won her second consecutive Class 1A diving state championship Saturday with an 11-dive score of 394.25 points, helping Northfield to the team title.

CHARLIE WITTMER

Robbinsdale • Adapted soccer

When the Robins needed him, the senior goalie stepped up and played his best game of the season.

Wittmer stopped 21 shots to lead the Robins to a 5-2 victory over Dakota United in the PI Division state championship game. In three tournament games overall, Wittmer, who attends Armstrong, stopped 39 of the 42 shots he faced, an impressive .929 save percentage.

"He continued his great season and, in fact, probably played better than he has all season," Robbinsdale coach Marcus Onsum said.

The victory was the Robins' fifth consecutive PI Division adapted soccer title.

JIM PAULSEN

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