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Jacks football team opens playoffs against Hermantown

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Jacks football team opens playoffs against Hermantown
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

The benefit of a successful season will be on display 6 p.m. today when the Bemidji football team entertains Hermantown in semifinal play of the 7-4A playoffs.

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BHS earned the top seed and its reward - the home field today and again on Friday if the Lumberjacks can defeat the Hawks. Hermantown entered the section tournament as the fourth seed and advanced to today's contest by spilling Cloquet 18-7 in the mud and muck Tuesday in Hermantown.

BHS head coach Troy Hendricks and members of his staff attended Tuesday's game and they were very glad that they were spectators and not participants.

"It was utter survival and I wouldn't have wanted to play that night," Hendricks said. "Nothing good can happen under those conditions."

Today's weather is predicted to be tropical compared to Tuesday's. The sky is supposed to be clear and temperatures should be in the mid-40s.

"It's going to be a perfect night for football," Hendricks said. "We worked all year for the home field advantage and, hopefully, we will have a nice crowd backing us."

The Lumberjacks (7-1) have been off since Oct. 20 when they ended the regular season with a 7-0 victory at Sartell. They have used the break to heal some nagging injuries and physically they are ready for tonight's challenge.

"Our spirits are high, we are fresh and as a team we are as healthy as we've been all year," Hendricks said.

Hermantown will take a 6-3 record into today's contest and Hendricks is expecting a close game.

"Hermantown has a good record, was seeded fourth and comes from a solid program," the coach said. "There is no reason for us to be overconfident. If you play a team during the regular season and win 35-0 you could be overconfident in the playoffs. But Bemidji doesn't have any history with Hermantown so there is no reason for us to think we will automatically win.

"In fact, this should be a very good game."

Hendricks plans no major lineup changes. The offense is expected to include Pat Froehle at center, Logan Knutson, Christian Madson and Ben Schram sharing time as the guards, Grant Richardson and Garret Lind as the tackles, Will Bruestle as tight end, Ben Hengel, Cole Bardwell and Carey Woods as the wide receivers, Kevin Nelson, Mitch Brown, Zach DeClusin and Brady Devescovi in the backfield and Mitchell Hendricks as the quarterback.

Among those expected to see action on defense are Keefer Bender and Kyle Huewe as noseguards, Kole Spencer, Ernie Heifort and Chase Gruber as ends, Brady Schmidt and Harley Kroening as outside linebackers, Brandon Larson and James Bofferding inside, Dominic Hayle, Woods and Thomas Runningen at the corners plus Forrest Moe and Cody Rutledge as safeties.

"This week we didn't add anything in practice. All we did was fine-tune what we've been using all year," Hendricks said. "At this stage of the season the physical part of the game is the mental part. We know what we have to do and that is to play Lumberjack football. Our job will be to have no turnovers, play physical football and get after it at the line of scrimmage."

NOTE: All fans are invited to a tailgate celebration beginning at 4 p.m. today at the BSU American Indian Resource Center parking lot. The menu will include brats or hamburgers, chips and soda and the cost is $3.

Y pmiller@bemidjipioneer.com

The benefit of a successful season will be on display 6 p.m. today when the Bemidji football team entertains Hermantown in semifinal play of the 7-4A playoffs.

BHS earned the top seed and its reward - the home field today and again on Friday if the Lumberjacks can defeat the Hawks. Hermantown entered the section tournament as the fourth seed and advanced to today's contest by spilling Cloquet 18-7 in the mud and muck Tuesday in Hermantown.

BHS head coach Troy Hendricks and members of his staff attended Tuesday's game and they were very glad that they were spectators and not participants.

"It was utter survival and I wouldn't have wanted to play that night," Hendricks said. "Nothing good can happen under those conditions."

Today's weather is predicted to be tropical compared to Tuesday's. The sky is supposed to be clear and temperatures should be in the mid-40s.

"It's going to be a perfect night for football," Hendricks said. "We worked all year for the home field advantage and, hopefully, we will have a nice crowd backing us."

The Lumberjacks (7-1) have been off since Oct. 20 when they ended the regular season with a 7-0 victory at Sartell. They have used the break to heal some nagging injuries and physically they are ready for tonight's challenge.

"Our spirits are high, we are fresh and as a team we are as healthy as we've been all year," Hendricks said.

Hermantown will take a 6-3 record into today's contest and Hendricks is expecting a close game.

"Hermantown has a good record, was seeded fourth and comes from a solid program," the coach said. "There is no reason for us to be overconfident. If you play a team during the regular season and win 35-0 you could be overconfident in the playoffs. But Bemidji doesn't have any history with Hermantown so there is no reason for us to think we will automatically win.

"In fact, this should be a very good game."

Hendricks plans no major lineup changes. The offense is expected to include Pat Froehle at center, Logan Knutson, Christian Madson and Ben Schram sharing time as the guards, Grant Richardson and Garret Lind as the tackles, Will Bruestle as tight end, Ben Hengel, Cole Bardwell and Carey Woods as the wide receivers, Kevin Nelson, Mitch Brown, Zach DeClusin and Brady Devescovi in the backfield and Mitchell Hendricks as the quarterback.

Among those expected to see action on defense are Keefer Bender and Kyle Huewe as noseguards, Kole Spencer, Ernie Heifort and Chase Gruber as ends, Brady Schmidt and Harley Kroening as outside linebackers, Brandon Larson and James Bofferding inside, Dominic Hayle, Woods and Thomas Runningen at the corners plus Forrest Moe and Cody Rutledge as safeties.

"This week we didn't add anything in practice. All we did was fine-tune what we've been using all year," Hendricks said. "At this stage of the season the physical part of the game is the mental part. We know what we have to do and that is to play Lumberjack football. Our job will be to have no turnovers, play physical football and get after it at the line of scrimmage."

NOTE: All fans are invited to a tailgate celebration beginning at 4 p.m. today at the BSU American Indian Resource Center parking lot. The menu will include brats or hamburgers, chips and soda and the cost is $3.

pmiller@bemidjipioneer.com

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Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

(218) 333-9200
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