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INDOOR FOOTBALL: Defense paved the way in road win over Cavalry

BEMIDJI — Defense led the way for the Bemidji Axemen in a 33-14 win over the Wyoming Cavalry last Friday in Wyoming.

The defense held the Cavalry offense to just over 100 yards of offense on the night and carried a shutout into the intermission.

“Our defense did a great job of playing smart and physical football,” head coach Robert Fuller said. “They understood that they were going to have to set the tone for the game. It was important for them to step up and let our offense settle in.”

The defense added to its dominance with a touchdown in the third quarter that pushed the Axemen lead to 27-7 and helped seal the first road win of the season.

“Any time you can get a defensive score, it is huge. It is a 14-point swing in the game,” Fuller said. “Now that the guys have had time in our system, they have developed trust in each other and trust in our system. They have made a lot of stops on the season and now they are creating turnovers.”

Bemidji’s defense made things easier for an offense that was without both listed quarterbacks Hunter Wanket and Joshua Aakre.

“We are used to calling certain things in situation, so it was a bit of a challenge,” Fuller said of the challenges of playing without a true quarterback. “We made several late adjustments and they did a good time of executing those adjustments. They showed good poise in the heat of action.”

Wide receiver Ryan Balentine stepped in and played quarterback for the Axemen. The former college quarterback only completed four passes, but ran for three scores and added a touchdown through the air.

“You never want to come into any game without your quarterbacks, but anyone that knows Ryan will know he is a competitor and he embraces opportunities like these,” Fuller said. “He did a great job of leading our offense and making smart decisions with the football. He played with a lot of confidence that helped our entire offense do the same.”

Bemidji (3-3) will wrap up its three-game road trip this Saturday in Cedar Rapids.