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Tournament time for BHS teams

Running back Brady Schmidt (30) and the Lumberjacks will host Duluth Denfeld in the playoff opener tonight. Monte Draper | Bemidji Pioneer

The regular seasons at Bemidji High school have ended for all but the girls swimmers and this week the football, cross country and volleyball teams will begin their tournament schedules.

Bemidji’s soccer teams concluded their campaigns last week. The girls saw their season come to an end with a 4-3 loss to Detroit Lakes in the Section 8A quarterfinals while the boys advanced to the section title game where they dropped a 3-1 decision to St. Cloud Cathedral.

Football hosts Denfeld

The Lumberjacks received the third seed in the Section 7-5A football playoffs and drew No. 6 Duluth Denfeld in today’s quarterfinal round.

BHS will be the home team for the 7 p.m. game and will be hoping to repeat the 45-14 victory it registered in Duluth on Sept. 7.

In that contest Bemidji took a 14-0 lead after 12 minutes on Brady Schmidt’s 7-yard touchdown run and a 7-yard TD pass from James Hendricks to Connor McNallan. Tanner Boes had a 4-yard touchdown run in the second stanza and Alex Fenson caught a 21-yard TD pass in the period.

In the second half William Annette booted a 31-yard field goal, Boes scored from two yards out and Annette found the end zone on a 22-yard scamper.

If the Jacks win tonight they will advance to the section semifinals and travel to Chisago Lakes 2 p.m. Saturday. Chisago Lakes was seeded No. 2 in the section.

The winner of that game will play in the section championship contest Nov. 2 at the home of the high seed.

Today’s other match-up finds No. 4 Duluth East hosting No. 5 St. Francis.

Cambridge-Isanti is the No. 1 seed in the section and will face the Duluth East-St. Francis winner Saturday. Cambridge-Isanti also will own the home field advantage as long as it survives.

BHS posted a 5-3 regular season record. In those eight games the Lumberjacks outscored their opponents 252-173. They also outgained their opponents 2,611-2,466.

Hendricks enters the postseason with a 50 percent passing percentage, connecting on 49 of his 98 aerials for 812 yards. He has tossed nine touchdowns and has been intercepted on four occasions.

Jaylen Ingalls had 14 of the catches for 237 yards and one score but McNallan has been the go-to guy in the red zone. The senior has 13 catches for 271 yards but five of the grabs resulted in touchdowns.

Fenson has 11 catches for 151 yards and two TDs while Ryan Hirt has one touchdown grab among his eight receptions.

Boes has been the main rusher as he has 664 yards and seven touchdowns on 108 runs.

Schmidt also has seven TDs and 399 yards on 62 carries while Hendricks has scored four times and gained 376 yards on 62 rushes.

Solberg readies for state

Jessica Solberg will represent BHS at this week’s state Class 2A tennis meet.

The senior finished second at last week’s Section 8-2A singles tournament and will open her state competition 8 a.m. Thursday against Summer Brills of Mounds View.

Solberg is the second Bemidji tennis player, boy or girl, to qualify for state as an individual in singles. The first was Shanna Rusten who accomplished the feat in 1991.

The Lumberjacks have had four girls doubles teams make it to state in the program’s history. That group includes Melissa Fogelson and Lindsey Folkert in 2002, Amy Boyer and Stacy Lofgren in 2006, Rachel Smith and Suzann Nordquist in 2007 plus Nordquist and Jamie Hoffman in 2008.

Solberg has some state tournament experience as she teamed with Kelsey Bretschneider as the third double tandem when BHS qualified for the state team tournament in 2008. Solberg and Bretschneider went 1-1 that year, losing to Edina but defeating Cretin.

“It’s exciting to have Jess in the state meet,” said Bemidji coach Mark Fodness. “The bad news is that she drew the top-seeded player in the field but the good news is that if Jess wins, she will take Brills’ place in the bracket.

“If you are going to have to beat one of the top seeds to move on you might as well take on the No. 1 seed.”

Solberg will play her second match around noon on Thursday, either in the championship or the consolation bracket.

The tournament is being held at Baseline Tennis Center on the University of Minnesota campus.

Cross country

Bemidji will host its Section 8-2A peers Thursday afternoon at Greenwood Golf Course in the section meet.

The Lumberjacks are among the favorites to win the boys section title and could also claim at least a couple of state individual berths.

Jenna Truedson should challenge for the girls title and Sam Carlson should be among the leaders in the boys division.


Bemidji is likely to be seeded No. 2 in the North Sub-Section 8-3A playoffs as the Lumberjacks trail only Fergus Falls in the QRF rankings.

The tournament seeds are determined by a vote of the coaches but the QRF figures show a distinct hierarchy.

Fergus Falls ended the year 23-5 and owns a QRF of 161.6. Bemidji finished 20-7 and has a 157.4 QRF. The Jacks and the Otters did not meet this year.

Trailing the leaders in the QRF seedings are Alexandria (13-13) with a 126.3 QRF, Moorhead (13-13) with a 111.8 QRF, Brainerd (11-16-2) with an 81.8 QRF and Detroit Lakes (7-14-2) with a 66.6 QRF.

The section quarterfinals begin Friday at the homes of the high seeds. The semifinals and final will be played next week.

Bemidji is the defending 8-3A champion.


Bemidji will end its regular season Thursday at Grand Rapids.

The Lumberjacks are 9-1 in dual meets and is in the toughest part of their training regimen. Following Thursday’s meet the swimmers will begin their taper and start to rest for the section meet.

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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