The Sartell Sabres repeated their regular-season triumph Saturday night, handing the Bemidji Lumberjacks a 27-6 setback in the opening round of the state tournament at St. Cloud State.
Sartell had taken the first meeting 28-0 at Chet Anderson Stadium
Once again the Sabres big line proved more than Bemidji could handle.
But the Jacks never took a step backward all night and drove for a score in the fourth period to avoid a second shutout.
Sartell will take a 12-0 mark to the Metrodome next weekend to face St. Thomas Academy in the semifinals.
Bemidji ended its best season in eight years at 6-6.
Bemidji doubled its offense from the first game when it was held to 85 yards.
The Jacks gained 187 but seldom threatened.
Defensively, Bemidji limited the Sabres to 252 but was beaten once again by big plays.
Sartell scored on a 55 yard punt return, a 44 yard run and 42 yard pass reception with the final tally set up by a 57 yard kickoff return.
Minus those four plays, Bemidji might have held the upper hand.
Rob Voshell, who was a one man wrecking crew at Bemidji, gave the Sabres their first score, returning Evan Olson's first punt 55 yards to pay dirt. Cole Karsky converted.
The defense held on the next two Sartell possessions. But on the third, early in the second quarter, Sartell moved 69 yards in five plays to double the score.
The fifth was Josh Kremer's 44 yard bolt to the end zone. Karsky was wide on his conversion kick.
Bemidji coughed up the ball on the kickoff return but held Sartell without a first down. But after a punt, the winners went 53 yards on six plays to score again.
This ended with a 46 yard aerial from Cole Jenkins to Brian Orndorff with Karsky's kick making it 20-0.
Bemidji never reached midfield in the half limited to 71 yards. Sartell had 150.
Any comeback hopes were quickly dispelled in the second half when the Sabres took the opening kickoff and had Voshell return in 57 yards to the Bemidji 23, It took six plays to score from there, all short gains, with reserve Tyler Page going in from the one. Karsky made it 27-0.
Czar Woods' interception stymied the next Sartell move but Bemidji was held to its own side of the field until the final minutes of the period when Woods broke loose for a 44 yard gallop to the Sabres 35.
But Bemidji fumbled the ball away on the next carry to end those hopes.
On its next try, Woods bolted 45 yards to the Sartell 19 and after an exchange of penalties, the Jacks moved to the four where Olson went in for the score. Mike Rees' placement was wide.
Sartell covered the onside kick and ran out the clock.
Bemidji ended with a 139-132 rushing lead, 99 coming on the two long Woods runs. He ended with 153 on 16 carries to close his career.
Kremer had 93 and Page 32 for Sartell.
Hendricks was 4-9 through the air for 48 yards with Ryan Rude catching two and Will Bruestle and Carey Woods one.
Jenkins was 8-20, Orndorff, Voshell and Andrew Krupke each having two grabs
The game wrote the end to the careers of 17 seniors, only half of tem regulars.
Toughest to replace will be Woods and Olson from the offensive backfield and a number of quality linemen on both sides of the ball.
But the numbers returning are larger with 22 juniors and 27 sophomores finishing the season and the freshman class having more than 40.
The 6-6 mark was the best in eight years and the first non losing season since that point. The program seems well on its way back.
Sartell and Willmar will leave next year's schedule with Apollo and Sauk Rapids set to return.
The demanding CLC schedule played a major part in the Jacks romp through the weaker 7-4A section this year.
Bemidji 0 0 0 6--- 6
Sartell 7 13 4 0---27
Sar-Voshell, 55 yard punt return (Karsky, kick)
Sar-Kremer, 44 yard run (kick failed)
Sar-Orndorff, 42 yard pass from Jenkins (Karsky, kick)
Sar-Page, 1 yard run (Karsky, kick)
Bem-Olson, 1 yard run (kick failed)
First downs 12 7
Yards rushing 132 139
Yards passing 120 48
Passes 8-20 4-9
Intercepted by 0 1
Fumbles/Lost 0 2-2
Penalties 4-40 8-69
Turnovers 1 2
Punts, avg. yds. 5-33 7-30
Offensive plays 57 49
RUSHING: Bem-Woods 6-153; Sar-Kremer 15-93; Page 10-32
PASSING: Bem-Hendricks 4-9-0--139; Sar-Jenkins 8-20-1---120
RECEIVING: Bem-Bruestle 1-26; Rude 2-19; Sar-Orndorff 2-47; Krupke 2-30