The Class 11AA playoffs get going this week, and Mandan enters the quarterfinals as the top team out of the west.

The Braves finished with a record of 7-2, including big wins over Fargo Davies and Fargo Shanley. But their most recent loss to West Fargo Sheyenne opened the team’s eyes to what they still need to work on, many players still feeling the sting of an early exit a year ago.

“To clean up everything as best we can, and hopefully don’t make many mistakes in the playoffs because mistakes can really hurt you,” says G/DT Brady Boehm. “Last year, we experience that with Shanley so hopefully this year, we can clean it all up.”

“I think the last time we played like that, we played really well and came back and played much better football,” says HC Todd Sheldon. “Refocused ourselves, add a little bit better preparation in the following weeks after that, and I think that’s what we’re looking to do here.”

West Fargo is the first test for the Braves, a team they haven’t played this season, one that features playmakers on the outside on offense.

But Mandan has a playmaker of their own in Lincon Wiseman, a runningback that adds a dimension to a potent offense, despite breaking his arm mid-season.

“It’s my favorite thing ever. I love football. It’s my favorite thing to do,” says RB/LB Lincon Wiseman. “So when I got hurt, obviously that was heartbreaking and sad, but being able to come back in a week and a half and to play in the splint is a blessing in it’s own so I’m taking that as it is. The more I’m in the moment and just playing it’s when I’m the best so try not to overthink what’s going on and where everyone is at and just having it flow is what works best for me.”