Bemidji football: Fenson, Gubbels bring variety to passing attack
Late in the third quarter of the Class 4A state semifinal game against Mankato West, Bemidji led 28-20 and faced a third-and-four from the Scarlets' 49.
Coach Troy Hendricks, who doubles as the offensive coordinator, called for a flea-flicker with Alex Fenson the intended receiver downfield.
The play worked to perfection as Fenson caught the 34-yard bomb from Mitchell Hendricks and gave the Lumberjacks a first down at the Mankato West 15. A few plays later, Kyle Fodness came on to boot a 31-yard field goal to increase the lead and add to Bemidji's momentum.
"The flea-flicker was neat," Fenson said. "When we practiced it during the week I wasn't in the play because it always went to Carey (Woods) or Cody (Rutledge). But Carey wasn't in the game because of him cramping and when we ran the play I was in there.
"This year has been a lot of fun for me, our team, our coaching staff and our school," Fenson, who is a junior wide receiver along with Nick Gubbels, continued. "It has been a great year."
The quarterback's main weapons through the air are Woods and Rutledge but Gubbels and Fenson have made more than their share of important catches. Both have demonstrated the ability to free themselves from the defenders and snare the bullets that Hendricks zips their way.
And both are savoring the moment.
"I remember thinking about this season since I was a freshman," Gubbels said. "Ever since we came to the high school my buddies and I have been thinking about going all the way in football.
"For me, in the beginning of the season, I didn't fully believe that we would win the state but early in the year, when we were winning by 40 points, we proved that we were a good team on both sides of the ball. I think that early success gave us the confidence to go this far."
Woods and Rutledge deservedly grab most of the notoriety among the Lumberjacks receivers but all associated with the offense appreciate the contributions of Gubbels and Fenson.
"My role is either to block on the outside for Carey to get around or to be a check-down receiver," Gubbels said. "And I enjoy those roles. You get to block and score touchdowns and I don't think it gets any better than that."
Fenson shares that viewpoint.
"My job is to help support the team by helping make sure everybody is up," he said. "If we run to my side my job is to block. And if they throw it to me my job is to catch it.
"Our quarterback (Mitchell Hendricks) definitely makes receiving the ball much easier because he hits the target," Fenson continued.
Gubbels and Fenson can't wait for 3 p.m. Saturday and the state championship game against Rocori. They both know it will be a fun experience.
"This year after each play everybody is slapping each other on the butts and having fun," Gubbels said. "We know not to worry about a bad play because we'll just do better the next time."
"We're having so much fun now I don't know how to explain it," Fenson said. "This year has been a great experience."