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This week at BHS: Bemidji-Brainerd football game was one for the ages

The game has been over for four days but football fans are still buzzing about Friday's battle against Brainerd which saw the visitors stop Bemidji 33-28.

Some have classified the game as the best they have ever seen. Whether or not it ranks that high is personal preference but one thing is certain: the game held your attention from the opening kickoff to the final minute.

"It was exciting," BHS coach Troy Hendricks said. "From the standpoint of offense it was a good football game. But Mike (Fogelson) is my defensive coordinator and he has a different viewpoint."

The game featured drives that covered 70 yards and quick hitters for touchdowns. Bemidji (3-1) finished with 299 total yards while Brainerd compiled 386 yards.

Ironically, despite all those points and all those yards, the outcome hinged on two measurements.

Trailing 28-27 with 2:14 remaining Brainerd received the benefit of a fourth-down spot and was awarded a new set of downs at the BHS 15. On the next play the Warriors scored to take a 33-28 lead.

A minute later Bemidji went for it on a fourth-and-one at the Brainerd 25. A gang tackle on a dive up the middle clogged the view of forward progress but the officials used a best-guess approach to the spot.

Bemidji came up an inch short and Brainerd had its victory.

"We had some opportunities to stop Brainerd defensively but things didn't go our way," Hendricks said. "That was frustrating because our defense had been able to shut teams down.

"On the plus side we showed some diversity on offense, our pooch kick worked, we didn't have many penalties and we had no turnovers."

Saturday the Jacks will hope to start a new winning streak when they head to Alexandria to take on the 4-0 Cardinals. Hendricks and his players will use Friday's setback as a learning tool and the coach is confident that Bemidji will respond with another fine effort.

"The Brainerd game was fun for the kids," Hendricks said. "Of course you always want to win your Homecoming game but it never was my goal to go through the season unbeaten and we're not going to worry about the loss to Brainerd.

"Our goal now is to get ready for Alexandria and play our best football on Saturday. Last week's game showed us areas we can improve. Now our job is to eliminate the things we didn't do well and continue to execute the things we did do well."

Bemidji had 226 passing yards and 73 rushing yards against Brainerd. Quarterback Mitchell Hendricks hit 13 of 20 passes and Ben Hengel caught six of them for 96 yards and a touchdown. Carey Woods had four catches for 85 yards.

Kevin Nelson ran nine times for 29 yards and Hendricks 13 times for 23 yards.

Brainerd compiled 84 yards through the air and 302 on the ground.

Boys soccer team hosts Moorhead

BHS will take a 9-3-1 record into today's 5 p.m. home game against Moorhead. The Lumberjacks are coming off Saturday's 3-1 win over St. Cloud Apollo. Isak Sommer scored 2:52 into the game and Max Hazelton tallied six minutes later. Nick Gorick also scored in the opening half.

Bemijdi also will head to Crookston Thursday.

Swimmers host Park Rapids

The BHS swimming and diving team will return to duty 6 p.m. today when it entertains defending section champion Park Rapids.

Today's meet represents the lone action for this week as the Jacks are off until hosting Grand Forks Central and Red River Oct. 5.

Volleyball team heads to Hibbing

The spikers begin a busy week today with a match at Hibbing. Thursday the Lumberjacks return home to meet Grand Rapids and Saturday they will travel to the Willmar Invitational.

Runners head for Fergus Falls

The Lumberjacks boys cross country team finished 31st at Saturday's 55-team Roy Griak invitational hosted by the University of Minnesota while the girls were 32nd in the 54-team field.

Andy Berube paced the Jacks with a time of 17:15 while Bailey Drewes did the honor for the girls team as she hit the finish line in 20:21.

BHS will be back in action Thursday when it runs in the John Hermes Invitational hosted by Fergus Falls.

Girls soccer at East Side

Last week's continuous rain forced postponement of Thursday's soccer game at East Grand Forks and that outing will be made up this Thursday.

Bemidji also will travel to Hillcrest Lutheran Academy Friday.

Bemidji is 5-8 after Monday's 2-0 loss to Grand Rapids.

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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