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Jacks motivated for Alexandria

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sports Bemidji, 56619
Bemidji Pioneer
(218) 333-9819 customer support
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

Last week's 33-28 loss to Brainerd apparently did not sit well with the Bemidji football players.

"The kids seem to have a different perspective this week in practice," said BHS coach Troy Hendricks whose team heads to Alexandria Saturday for a 3 p.m. game.

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"I think the kids responded to last week's loss with a chip on their shoulders. I hope and believe that means that the kids don't like losing."

For the second consecutive week the Lumberjacks will face an unbeaten team. Brainerd was 3-0 and was ranked ninth in the 5A poll.

Alexandria will own a 4-0 record and the ninth-place ranking in 4A when the teams meet Saturday. The Lumberjacks currently are rated 14th in the 4A poll.

Overall, Hendricks was very happy with last week's performance against Brainerd but he believed the difference between winning and losing was the battle in the trenches.

"We need to be more physical," Hendricks said. "Brainerd rushed for over 300 yards (302) and the holes they had were easy to run through. We rushed for under 100 yards (73) and that is unacceptable. The lack of a ground game comes from not being physical.

"During the first three games our defense played extremely physical football but against Brainerd we didn't play that way," the coach continued. "Offensively we are a more finesse-oriented team geared around our speed but you have to compliment that style of play by being physical and knocking people down.

"We hope to do that Saturday at Alexandria," Hendricks added.

Bemidji will have to be at the top of its game to stay with the Cardinals who are holding their Homecoming celebration. Alexandria is 4-0 with wins over Willmar (22-21), St. Cloud Tech (24-0), Fergus Falls (27-7) and St. Cloud Apollo (18-0).

In games against mutual opponents the Jacks have defeated Fergus Falls 35-6 and Apollo 28-7.

"Alexandria has a great football program and this year's team is very good," Hendricks said. "But if we do some of the same things we did against Brainerd, such as staying away from the penalties and turnovers, and if we increase our physicality, we should do fine on Saturday."

Bemidji's roster will be similar to last week's as no additional serious injuries have hit the players.

Kevin Devescovi is expected to start at running back as Kevin Nelson continues to be hobbled by a thigh bruise. Nelson should play but Devescovi probably will start.

Wide receiver Ben Hengel missed Wednesday's practice because of a sprained ankle but he is expected to be ready by Saturday.

"We'll use the players who are healthy and who are practicing," Hendricks said.

Next week sees the Lumberjacks closing their home season against Sauk Rapids-Rice. The regular season will end with games at St. Cloud Tech (Oct. 15) and Sartell (Oct. 20).

The playoffs are set to begin Oct. 26.

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Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

(218) 333-9200
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