Bemidji HS football team defeats Sartell in regular season finale
Bemidji's football team ended a splendid regular season on a positive note Wednesday as the Lumberjacks capped a 7-1 campaign with a 7-0 victory at Sartell.
BHS can now take a well-deserved rest as the Jacks will not play again until the second round of the Section 7-4A playoffs.
That game will be at Chet Anderson Stadium on Oct. 30 against either Cloquet or Hermantown. Those teams meet Tuesday in the first playoff round and Bemidji, which was the section's top seed and earned a first-round bye, will take on the winner.
Bemidji State University also hosts Northern State at 1 p.m. that day so the Lumberjacks game is expected to start around 7 p.m.
Wednesday's contest matched a pair of state-ranked teams in the Minnesota Associated Press Football Poll as Sartell (6-2) was rated No. 7 in the 4A poll and Bemidji was ranked No. 10.
The Lumberjacks defense was dominant as Sartell managed only four first downs, all of them coming in the opening half. The Sabers had 15 possessions with one ending on a fumble, two on interceptions, four on failed fourth-down plays and eight with punts.
Sartell did have two apparent touchdowns called back because of penalties, however.
With 3:42 to play in the first half Eric O'Leary returned a punt 55 yards for a Sartell touchdown but a hold negated the score. On the ensuing drive the home team appeared to score again as Blake Guggenberger connected with Andrew Deters on a 33-yard strike along the left sideline. Once again, however, Sartell was flagged for a hold and eventually the Sabers were forced to punt.
Bemidji scored the game's only points 4:02 into the second quarter when quarterback Mitchell Hendricks teamed with tight end Will Bruestle on a 9-yard TD pass.
Jon Henry booted the extra point and Bemidji had all the points it would need.
The Lumberjacks needed only three plays to score after Dom Hayle's interception of a Guggenberger pass at the Sartell 28. Mitch Brown gained 18 yards on the initial play of the drive and, after a run gained one yard, Bruestle found the end zone.
The Lumberjacks threatened on two other occasions in the opening 24 minutes but both times misconnected on field goal tries.
Henry's 33-yard attempt on the first play of the second period was blocked and on the last play of the half his 46-yard attempt faded just short of the crossbar.
BHS also had chances in the second half, including a 64-yard drive that ended on downs at the Sartell 1-yard line. Because of the way the defense played, however, those missed opportunities did not prove costly.
Sartell managed only 131 yards of offense and 121 of them came in the opening half.
The Lumberjacks offense had 46 yards through the air and 215 on the ground. Brown paced the running game with 116 yards on 19 rushes while Kevin Nelson gained 58 on 12 carries.
Hendricks connected on six of his 16 passes.
Bemidji 7, Sartell 0
Bemidji 0 7 0 0 - 7
Sartell 0 0 0 0 - 0
B-Bruestle, 9-pass from Hendricks. PAT-Henry kick. 4:02