INDOOR FOOTBALL: Axemen lose game, quarterback in 55-28 loss to Green Bay
BEMIDJI — Down 7-0, IFL Offensive Player of the Week Dante Perez led the Bemidji Axemen down the field for a touchdown on their first drive against the Green Bay Blizzard Saturday.
However, that was the end of Perez’s day. And, as it turns out, his season. The quarterback left with a shoulder injury and didn’t return.
The Axemen (2-7) missed the extra point after the score and were never able to catch the Blizzard (4-4), as Green Bay gave the Axemen their fifth-straight loss, 55-28, by leading from start to finish.
“When Perez came in he took over as a leader,” Bemidji head coach Dixie Wooten said. “When he got hurt it took the air out of our team.”
Wide receiver Ryan Balentine took over at quarterback and was 4-of-15 for 22 yards, three interceptions and two touchdown passes to DJ Foster. Josh Jarboe was the Axemen’s main target as he caught three passes for 26 yards.
“They kept fighting and that’s all we can ask for,” Wooten said. “It was tough tonight, but they kept fighting.”
Balentine and the Axemen offense used a lot of read option runs with the sudden change behind center, with Balentine rushing for 40 yards and Mulku Kalokoh rushing for 54 and a touchdown.
“We knew we could run the ball coming into the game,” Kalokoh said. “Our quarterback went out so it changed the gameplan quite a bit because we were prepared to have him in the whole game.”
Kalokoh also had 49 return yards, but former Bemidji State player Larry Miller Jr. had the kick return on the night when he took one back 15 yards by snagging a squib kick before it went down field.
Green Bay was led by quarterback Donovan Porterie who was 18-for-33 for 245 yards and four touchdowns.
His favorite target was Markeith Summers who caught seven passes for 150 yards and a touchdown.
The Axemen defense was able to get an interception off Porterie when Scooter Rogers recorded his third interception of the season.
The defense was able to step up and keep Bemidji close by forcing the Blizzard to end four drives with field goals instead of touchdowns.
“Our defense had a good effort and we had a couple good stops,” Rogers said. “But penalties killed us a lot when we were rushing the passer and jumping offsides. It’s just those little things.”
But Bemidji wasn’t able to make Green Bay pay for leaving points on the field.
The Axemen will be on the road next week when it takes on the Colorado Ice on Saturday looking to end the current five game skid. They’ll also be looking for a new quarterback — their fifth of the season.
“We have to stop beating ourselves,” Kalokoh said. “We can beat any team in the league as long as we don’t beat ourselves.”
Green Bay 55, Bemidji 28
GB 17-10-10-18 — 55
BEM 6-16-0-6 — 28
First Quarter: 1-yard TOUCHDOWN run GB (Walker Jr.), PAT is GOOD (Budzien), 13:49 7-0 GB; 1-yard TOUCHDOWN run BEM (Kalokoh), PAT is NO GOOD (Pulkinen), 9:06 7-6 GB; 23-yard FIELD GOAL GB (Budzien), 6:32 10-6 GB; 4-yard TOUCHDOWN pass (Porterie-Willis) PAT is GOOD (Budzien), 1:19 17-6 GB.
Second Quarter: 7-yard TOUCHDOWN pass BEM (Balentine-Foster) 2PT CONV GOOD (Balentine-Jarboe) 14:04 17-14 GB; 19-yard FIELD GOAL (Budzien) 9:32 20-14 GB; 5-yard TOUCHDOWN pass GB (Porterie-Sawyer) PAT GOOD (Budzien) 7:20 27-14 GB; 15-yard kick return TOUCHDOWN (Miller Jr.) 2PT CONV GOOD (Grimes run) 7:12 27-22 GB.
Third Quarter: 4-yard TOUCHDOWN run GB (Porterie) PAT GOOD (Budzien) 11:02 34-22 GB; 22-yard FIELD GOAL (Budzien) 2:07 37-22 GB.
Fourth Quarter: 5-yard TOUCHDOWN pass GB (Porterie-London) PAT GOOD (Budzien) 12:18 44-22 GB; 3-yard TOUCHDOWN pass BEM (Balentine-Foster) 2PT CONV NO GOOD, 8:38 44-28 GB; 23-yard FIELD GOAL GB (Budzien) 4:42 47-28 GB; ROUGE POINT GB, 4:31 48-28 GB; 8-yard TOUCHDOWN pass GB (Porterie-Summers) PAT GOOD (Budzien) 1:36 55-28 GB.