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FOOTBALL: Bemidji takes on Cambridge in section semifinals

BEMIDJI – The second step in the postseason process will be taken today as the Bemidji High School football team hits the road and tangles with Cambridge in the Section 7-5A semifinals.

BHS, the third seed, is coming off Tuesday’s impressive 40-14 victory over No. 6 Duluth Denfeld. Cambridge was ranked second in the six-team section and received a bye in Tuesday’s quarterfinals.

The Lumberjacks will bring a 6-3 record into today’s 2 p.m. kickoff while the Bluejackets are 6-2. Cambridge led the section standings most of the season but a 17-0 loss to Rogers in its regular season finale dropped the Bluejackets to No. 2 and moved Chisago Lakes into the top spot.

Today’s other section match-up sees Chisago Lakes hosting No. 5 St. Francis. On Tuesday St. Francis posted an upset when it battered No. 4 Duluth East 35-13 in Duluth.

Bemidji and Cambridge have three mutual opponents and both teams swept those foes.

The Lumberjacks defeated Sauk Rapids 41-20 while Cambridge downed the Storm 21-6.

BHS collected 45-14 and 40-14 wins over Denfeld while Cambridge blanked the Hunters 53-0.

The other mutual opponent was Duluth East. Cambridge hammered the Greyhounds 48-0 while Bemidji won 14-7.

Cambridge’s offensive strength is its running game. Behind Chance Laidly’s 120 yards per game on the ground, the Bluejackets average 249 rushing yards.

Quarterback John Solberg has passed only 70 times in eight games, completing 44 of them for 589 yards, five touchdowns and five interceptions.

Bemidji offers a more balanced attack, averaging 95 yards through the air and 228 yards on the ground. Defensively the Jacks are yielding 84 passing yards and 213 rushing per game.

Quarterback James Hendricks had tossed 10 touchdowns and only four interceptions. He also has shared the wealth as three receivers have caught at least 10 passes.

Leading the crew is Jaylen Ingalls with 14 receptions and 237 yards. Connor McNallan has 13 catches for 271 yards and Alex Fenson has nabbed 11 passes for 151 yards.

Ryan Hirt isn’t far behind with eight grabs good for 131 yards. McNallan has five touchdown catches while Fenson and Hirt each have two and Ingalls one.

Leading the running game is Tanner Boes with 802 yards and nine TDs on 119 runs.

Brady Schmidt has eight rushing touchdowns and 399 yards on 62 carries. Schmidt also ran back the opening kickoff Tuesday against Denfeld 88 yards for a touchdown.

If the Lumberjacks defeat Cambridge they will advance to the section championship game on Nov. 2. That game will be hosted by the highest remaining seed.

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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