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BEMIDJI STATE FOOTBALL: Hass ready to lead Beavers as starter

BEMIDJI — Alex Hass has only started one game in his Bemidji State football career.

Given Bemidji State’s need for a quarterback following the graduation of Lance Rongstad, that experience, however small, is enough to give Hass the starting job for Thursday’s season opener at Winona State.

“I went in (to training camp) wanting and expecting to be the starter, so it was a relief to know the hard work paid off and I got it,” Hass said Tuesday. “I’ve been playing here for, this is my fifth year, so I finally get a chance to show what I’ve got out there.”

Hass might not have much game experience but his familiarity with the Beavers offense and players after five years is part of why the BSU coaching staff named him the starter.

“He’s got a real calming effect to him,” BSU head coach Jeff Tesch said. “It’s always tough to win on the road, but Alex has played a road game at Sioux Falls last year.

“I think that’s going to be a plus for the guys, to have someone in there that can settle the huddle down. I think Alex will do a really good job with that.”

Hass, a 6-foot-1, 210-pound senior from Milaca, went 10-for-17 for 85 yards with two interceptions in his lone start last year, a 21-5 loss at Sioux Falls.

Not only does he have actual in-game experience, but BSU’s other two main options at quarterback — redshirt freshman Ryan Shields and transfer junior Adam Ragsdale — haven’t been around the team as long as Hass.

Senior fullback Brent Kondziolka said BSU’s young offense — which will likely start four redshirt freshmen and two others with limited playing experience — will benefit from Hass’ familiarity.

“I think he has the best understanding of the offense out of all the quarterbacks, which plays a key part in our offense,” Kondziolka said. “Knowing where people are, especially with such young players. Some of them might not understand the routes yet or know what to do, so it’s nice to have him in there to say, ‘OK, you need to run this route and you need to run this route.’”

Winona State is coming off a 10-2 season that included a win in the Mineral Water Bowl. The Warriors have a veteran team with eight preseason All-Americans, including five on offense and two on defense.

Tesch said while the Warriors are tough to beat at Verizon Wireless Stadium he thinks the Beavers have a chance to win if the new offense stays calm and curbs the turnovers — something that was a nagging problem last season even with a powerful and experienced offense.

“Those are the kind of games we’re going to try and avoid,” he said. “We can’t sit there and just run dive every time; we’ve gotta do our offense and make plays, but there are certain things you can do to use the guys’ talents and not ask them to do too much. I think that’s what we’re going to try and do.”

For Hass, proving the doubters wrong will be satisfying.

“I think our whole offense has something to prove after losing everybody and having a whole bunch of new starters,” he said. “It’s exciting for us to go out there. No one really knows what to expect from us, so we can go out there and blow them away, hopefully.”

Jack Hittinger

Jack Hittinger is the sports editor of the Bemidji Pioneer. He is also the Bemidji State beat writer. He hails from the Great State of Michigan. Read his Bemidji State blog at and follow him on Twitter at @Jackhitts.

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