The improving Bemidji Lumberjacks football team faces its toughest test of the year tonight when it entertains the Sartell Sabres at 7 at Chet Anderson Stadium.
Bemidji reached 2-3 last week with its 28-16 win at Fergus Falls.
Sartell is 5-0 after its fifth straight lopsided triumph 38-6 over Willmar ,a team that handed Bemidji its first loss of the year opening night.
The Sabres also show a four touchdown win over St. Cloud Tech and a 30-0 triumph over Fergus. Tech beat Bemidji 42-21.
Tech Sabres also front the Central Lakes Conference at 5-to 3-0 for Brainerd.
Bemidji handed Brainerd its only loss and hopes to repeat that performance tonight.
It would cap a Homecoming Week for Bemidji to perfection.
The Sabres have been b building toward this year for the past three falls with a strong senior class, many of whom started as sophomores in 2007.
The 25 member senior group is the largest Coach John Ross has had in his 15 years as head coach.
Bemidji has 17 seniors but only 10 lettered last year.This will mark Sartell's first trip ever to Bemidji.
The two teams have met only twice in history with Bemidji winning 42-22 in 2001 and 37-24 last fall.
Sartell had its eyes on making the state last year, especially after beating Tech in the second week of play.
But the Sabres went down hill rapidly after that and finished 4-6 bowing to Sauk Rapids 31-21 in the second round of the 8-4A playoffs.
Sartell has six starters back on each side of the ball this year, the highest number in the CLC.
They also have great size topped by 6-7., 290 Hayden Kelm and 6-0, 285 Mike Schramel at the tackles, Schramel. Going both ways. Rob Voshell, Josh Kremer and Sean Tillman are other three year starters.
Cole Jenkins (195-sr) will run the attack with Tillman (205- sr) at full, Kremer (190-sr) at halfback, Brent Orndorff (170-sr) as flanker and Voshell (180-sr) the split end.
Tony Schmitz (225-sr) will be the tight end with Schremel and Kelm at the tackles, Chris McCann (205-sr) and Drew Bartlett (155-sr) the guards and Austin Turner (255-sr) at center,
On defense, Schmitz and Brandon Anderson (215-jr) will be the ends, Schramel and John Milam the tackles with Drew Anderson, (190-jr). Austin Guggenberger and Tillman the three linebackers.
Orndorff and Voshell man the corners with Cody Wolhart (160-soph) at free safety and Andrew Krupke the strong safety.
Orndorff also handles the punting. while Cole Karsky is the place kicker.
Bemidji made the smooth transition at 21 quarterback last week with junior Ryan Stevens stepping in to replace injured Mitch Hendricks and complete 7-10 passes for three touchdowns in the win at Fergus.
Czar Woods ran wild gaining 254 yards and scoring once on an 86-yard gallop. Evan Olson will be at full.
Flanker Ryan Rude grabbed five passes for 113 yards and two scores, bringing his season total up to 23 for 503 yards and four touchdowns. Split end Cole Bardwell has nine for 132 yards and two scores, one coming last week.
Will Bruestle will be the tight end with Lukas Dudley at center, Chris Madson and Jake Gruber at the guards and Chris Dudley and Zach Solheim or Grant Richardson at tackle.
Lukas Dudley and Corey Huber will share nose guard duties with Josh Smith and Frank Mays outside.
Cody Fear, Ernie Heifort, Olson and Harley Kroening will back the line with the Woods brothers, Czar and Carrey at the corners and Forrest Moe and Matt Hietala deep.
Two short weeks will conclude the regular season with the Jacks at Moorhead Wednesday for the MEA Week game and closing at home with Rocori Thursday, Oct. 21.
The 7-4A playoffs start the following Tuesday, Oct. 27.
2001 42 Sartell 22
2008 37 Sartell 24