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Fun in the mud: Bemidji football beats Spuds with big plays and defense

Bemidji's Czar Woods breaks away from Moorhead defenders Braden Rahman (1) and Dylan Deavy for a 52-yard run Wednesday night in the snow at Moorhead's Jim Gotta Stadium. Forum Communications Co. Photo/David Samson1 / 2
Bemidji's Jake White partially blocks a punt from Moorhead's Keanan Oien as Jesse Eck also applies pressure Wednesday night in Moorhead. Photo by Dave Sampson2 / 2

Bemidji's Lumberjacks proved to be the better mudders Wednesday night, out sloshing Moorhead's Spuds 14-6 in the rain at Jim Gotta Stadium at Moorhead.

It marked the first time since 2000 that the Jacks have beaten both Brainerd and Moorhead in the same year. In that year they went on to the state tournament.

This year it raised the Jacks to 3-4 entering Thursday's season finale with Rocori. More important, it was a five point win in the Section 7-4A standings and kept alive Bemidji's hopes of a home field game for the opening round. It will likely require a win over Rocori to gain that goal.

It was a game of two halves. Bemidji completely dominated the first half, scoring on one long but quick march and again on a short drive.

At the break it had out gained Moorhead 116-20.

But the Spuds put on their galoshes at the break and took charge of the second half, holding Bemidji to one first down and 22 yards while rolling up 183.

But the Jacks defense came up big on several occasions to keep Moorhead away from the goal line until the final two minutes of play.

It was a game of long plays. Czar Woods' 52-yard run to the Moorhead one set up the first score.

Moorhead had a 52 yard run by Matt Duginski go to waste.

In the second half, Luke Gotta hit passes of 46 and 31 yards and ran 13 yards for the lone score.

Neither team moved in the muck in the opening period which saw Bemidji pick up the only first down on its third possession.

It went for naught.

But on its fourth try, Kevin Nelson gained a first down on two carries and later went another six to the Bemidji 47.

On the next try, Woods broke free to vault through the slosh to the one before being downed. Nelson scored on the next play.

Mike Rees converted.

Moorhead moved itself back to its 10 on a fumble after receiving the kickoff and punted only to the 23. It took Bemidji seven plays to score with Woods and Nelson having eight yard bursts and Woods gong the final two. Rees' kick made it 14-0.

Moorhead used a penalty on the next to final play of the half to register its only first down.

But it got underway quickly after the break as Gotta found Mike Holtan for 31 yards to the Bemidji 44, then kept for another 14 to the 30.

But the next four plays gained nothing and Bemidji took over.

After gaining two first downs, Woods fumbled and Moorhead recovered.

Gotta then connected with Matt Duginski for 46 yards on a swing pass to the 13. But the defense held at the eight to prevent a score.

But the Jacks could never get out of their own territory and Duginski's 38 yard run on the next Spuds possession carried to the 19. This move petered out at the four and Bemidji remained alive.

But on its final try, the Spuds took a short punt at the Bemidji 35 and went the distance, Gotta connected for 12 and 15 yard passes and running the final 13 yard on a keeper.

But the try for the two point conversion was buried and Bemidji held its eight point lead.

It recovered the on side kick attempt and ran out the clock.

Woods, held to minus yardage by Sartell last week, ended with 81 on 15 carries, Nelson added 46 on nine.

Duginski had 65 an Gotta 34 yards for Moorhead while four different receivers combined for 110 yards on five catches.

The Jacks reached 3-4 on the year, maintaining their hopes of a .500 season. Moorhead dropped to 2-5 and ends its season with St. Cloud Tech next week.