FOOTBALL: Bemidji dominates Duluth East 42-6 in Section 7-5A quarterfinal test
BEMIDJI — Tuesday night’s mission was simple: play Lumberjacks football and take care of business.
The Bemidji High School football team accomplished those objectives when it manhandled winless Duluth East 42-6 in the Section 7-5A quarterfinals at Chet Anderson Stadium.
The reward for Tuesday’s victory is a Saturday trip to Chisago Lakes for the section semifinals. BHS (7-2) is the third seed and the Wildcats (7-1) own the No. 2 position. The game will begin at 3 p.m.
It would have been easy for the Jacks to divert their attention toward Saturday instead of concentrating on Duluth East on Tuesday. And BHS coach Troy Hendricks thought his players might have fallen into that trap, at least early in the contest.
“We played fundamentally sound football but I thought we were lethargic early,” the coach said. “We need to come ready to play.”
The defense allowed Duluth East one first down on the game’s opening drive before forcing a punt. And the special teams gave the Jacks an immediate boost when Lucas Goins broke through the line and blocked the punt.
Bemidji recovered the turnover at the Greyhounds’ 27 and on the next play Wakinyan Moore scampered around the right side for a touchdown and the Lumberjacks were on their way.
“I just stepped through the guard and the tackle and the path to the punter was there,” Goins said. “Duluth East may have been 0-8 but you still have to come out, play well and win the game. I think we took a step in the right direction.”
Moore has been moving forward all year and Tuesday the senior halfback helped spark the offense with a touchdown run and another on a passing play.
His 27-yard scamper after the blocked punt proved to be the game-winner and in the final minute of the first half Moore upped Bemidji’s lead to 35-0 after catching a pass in the right flat and running 11 yards for the score.
“Our goal in this game was to do our jobs and to fix the little mental mistakes, like offsides, neutral zone and holding penalties, that we have been having trouble with,” Moore said.
“I expected a game like this and I’m happy that the coaches have started to rely on me a little more. I depend upon my speed and agility and when you are my size (5-6 and 140 pounds) you have to be able to take a hit and be mentally tough.”
Tanner Boes also is mentally tough and Tuesday night the senior added three more touchdowns to his season total.
On the third play of the second quarter Boes gave the Jacks a 14-0 advantage with a 5-yard TD run and five minutes later he outraced the defense for a 51-yard touchdown.
Boes collected his third TD of the evening with 2:41 to play in the half when he found the end zone on a 4-yard scamper.
By intermission the Lumberjacks enjoyed a 35-0 cushion and the starters didn’t step onto the turf at Chet Anderson Stadium the rest of the night.
Will Annette scored Bemidji’s only second-half touchdown with a 9-yard run on the first drive of the third quarter. Duluth East avoided the shutout when Cooper Carlson scored on a 69-yard run in the game’s waning seconds.
“This was a good tune-up but we know that the competition is going to get better and better the further we go in the playoffs,” Goins said. “When we go to Chisago Lakes we will want to play our game and take it to them.”
“We’re ready for the challenge that Chisago Lakes will give us,” Moore added. “Chisago Lakes is fast and physical and we’re going to have to match their intensity.”
Bemidji 42, Duluth East 6
Duluth East 0 0 0 6 - 6
Bemidji 7 28 7 0 - 42
B-Moore, 27 run. PAT-Annette kick. 2:04
B-Boes, 5-run. PAT-Annette kick. 0:59
B-Boes, 51-run. PAT-Annette kick. 6:08
B-Boes, 4-run. PAT-Annette kick. 9:19
B-Moore, 11-pass from Hendricks. PAT-Annette kick. 11:01
B-Annette, 9-run. PAT-Annette kick. 4:13
DE-Carlson, 69-run. PAT-pass fail. 11:02