DULUTH – Following last week’s 34-30 loss at Moorhead, the Bemidji High School football team wanted to prove to itself and all who follow prep sports that the Lumberjacks will be a force to reckon with during this year’s regular season and Section 7-5A playoffs.
Unfortunately for Duluth Denfeld, the schedule makers sent Bemidji to Public School Stadium Friday night.
The determined Lumberjacks flexed their muscles from the outset and Denfeld provided little resistance.
BHS returned the opening kickoff to its 40, and eight plays later Brady Schmidt took a pitch at his 7-yard line and rambled untouched into the end zone. That series set the tone for what proved to be a 45-14 Bemidji victory.
“I thought we executed very well. I saw many good things tonight,” said BHS coach Troy Hendricks, whose team evened its record at 1-1. “We’re not going to get too high after this win and we’re not going to get too low (after a loss). This is a new team. Many guys are playing for the first time and this win feels pretty good.
“We’re proud of their efforts.”
The Lumberjacks scored on all four of their first-half possessions and owned a 28-0 cushion at the break.
Denfeld threatened on its first march, advancing to a second-and-goal from the Jacks 3-yard-line, but a motion penalty, a quarterback sack courtesy of Sam Bruestle, a short gain on a run and a fourth-down incomplete pass ended Denfeld’s only first-half scoring opportunity.
“Denfeld adjusted its scheme to something we hadn’t seen,” Hendricks said. “During that first drive we weren’t playing physical football and we were unsure of ourselves. When you are unsure you are guessing where to go and when you guess where to go you get blocked.”
By the end of the drive, however, Bemidji’s defense made the necessary adjustments and the offense thanked the defense by going 94 yards in 10 plays following the change of possession. The drive was capped by a 7-yard pass from James Hendricks to Connor McNallan, who leaped above defender Connor Behm to snag the jump ball.
The home team lost possession on downs at the Bemidji 40 on its next drive and the Jacks promptly marched down the field for their third TD of the half.
The key plays were a 31-yard screen pass to Jaylen Ingalls and Tyler Boes’ 4-yard touchdown. Late in the second quarter Bemidji’s Troy Sauceda sacked Denfeld quarterback Matt Klang and forced a fumble, which Lucas Goins recovered at the Denfeld 37.
The offense officially ended any hopes of a home-team comeback when they turned that mistake into seven points.
With 48 seconds to play in the half James Hendricks connected with Alex Fenson on a 21-yard TD pass over the middle and Annette booted his fourth PAT of the night.
At intermission Bemidji was in complete control with a 28-0 lead.
Annette booted a 31-yard field goal and Boes scored from the 2 in the third period to up the lead to 38-0. Both teams employed reserves during the final 12 minutes and the Hunters were able to outscore the Jacks 14-7 in the stanza.
Bemidji’s ground game produced 294 yards and leading the way were Boes with 85 yards and Hendricks with 84.Hendricks also connected on five of his seven passes for 93 yards.
The Lumberjacks will make their home debut Friday when they entertain Duluth East. The game is set for a 7 p.m. start at Chet Anderson Stadium.
Bemidji 45, Denfeld 14
Bemidji 14 14 10 7 - 45
Denfeld 0 0 0 14 - 14
B-Schmidt, 7-run. Pat-Annette kick. 3:10
B-McNallan, 7-pass from Hendricks. PAT-Annette kick. 11:35
B-Boes, 4-run. PAT-Annette kick. 8:07
B-Fenson, 21-pass from Hendricks. PAT-Annette kick. 11:12
B-Annette, 31-FG. 3:34
B-Foes, 2-run. PAT-Annette kick. 8:44
DD-Behm, 17-run. PAT-Klang run. 0:07
DD-Michalski, 34-run. PAT-pass fail. 4:43
B-Annette, 22-run. PAT-Annette kick. 10:38