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BHS football: Spuds eliminate Jacks from section playoffs

Nate McGriff of Bemidji carries for a third quarter gain during Thursday's section playoff game at Moorhead. Forum Communications Co. Photo/Dave Wallis

The Moorhead Spuds brought Bemidji's football season to an end Tuesday night, stopping the Jacks 30-14 at Moorhead.

The win sends the Spuds to St. Cloud Saturday to battle top seeded Tech.

Buffalo will host Brainerd in the second semifinal. Both won blowouts Wednesday night.

Bemidji closed its fourth straight season at 3-6, losing in three of those four years to Moorhead in the playoff opener.

This year's team, however, was by far the most competitive of the four.

The game began in a drizzle and ended in a downpour which continued through most of the second half. It was a shootout from the start. Moorhead, however, had a repeater rifle, Bemidji a single shot.

The Spuds scored on every possession in the first half.

Bemidji scored on its first two tries, then failed to score again although presented with numerous chances, especially in the second half which it totally dominated.

Nate McGriff went out in a blaze of glory, carrying 29 times for 231 yards, a personal best. It topped the 173 he registered against Apollo last fall and the 172 against Sartell earlier this year..

But the Jacks were unable to unleash its usual potent air game in the wet weather, hitting only four times, three to Czar Woods in 21 attempts.

Joe Kingery played most of the game at quarterback with some second half help from injured Simon Anderson. Travis Greenwaldt also made brief appearances after the break, mostly on defense..

At the start it appeared as if the last team to have possession might win the game.

Big plays were the order of the day.

Bemidji took the opening kickoff and scored in four plays, the last a 71 yard Kingery to Woods pass. Jon Henry converted .

Moorhead took the kickoff the tied the game in six plays. The sixth was a 43-yard Luke Gotta to Matt Backland aerial. Lezan Tehir converted.

Bemidji then went back ahead in one play. McGriff broke through the line at the 20 and outraced all pursuit on an 80 yard touchdown run. Henry made it 14-7.

Moorhead countered in four plays after Trent Johnson's 33- yard kickoff return. Sam Stetz rolled 35 yards to the 18 and Gotta passed to Stetz from the 13 for the score. Tehir's kick made it 14-14.

Moorhead then stopped the Jacks for the first time, aided by a clipping penalty that set them back to their 13.

Taking a short punt at the 42, the Spuds needed eight plays to score with Gotta finding Adam Burns from the six early in the second period.

After the next Bemidji punt, the Spuds moved 61 yards in six plays ending with Johnson's 41 yard sprint to pay dirt. Tehir was wide on this kick, the only Spuds mistake of the half.

Brandon Rahman's interception at the 30 set up the final Moorhead score. Tehir came on to boot a 27-yard field goal after the short march stalled at the nine.

At the break, Bemidji had 243 yards from scrimmage and Moorhead 247.

Different story

The second half was a one way Bemidji show. The Jacks did everything right except put the ball in the end zone.

Their first march reached the Moorhead 13 where they lost the ball on a fumble.

Their second died on downs at the four..

Trace Jahner's interception put the Jacks back in business at their 30 early in the final period and they marched to the Moorhead nine where Adam Brewer picked off another pass to end that threat.

From that point, Moorhead kept the ball on the ground, content to eat up the clock, and stifled Bemidji's passing game which went 0-10 in its final three possessions, the last pass intercepted by Mike Little at the 25.

Bemidji out gained the Spuds 108-48 in the final two periods but was unable to cross the goal line.

Johnson led the Spuds ground game with 103 yards and Jason Strand added 54, Woods had three receptions for 96 yards. Moorhead's four receptions were by as many different receivers.

The Spuds carry a 4-5 record to Tech Saturday afternoon.

The title game will be Nov. 1 at St. John's.

The game closed the careers of 13 Bemidji seniors. They include alex Hengel, McGriff, Kingery, Jahner, Anderson, Greenwaldt, Dan Sadek, Andrew Cable, David Boser, Auston Zetah, Zach Warriner, Jared Hertel and Christian Graefe, all but two regulars. Only 12 juniors finished the year with the sophomores and freshman classes less than two dozen.