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FOOTBALL: Jacks to host Hornets in home opener

BEMIDJI -- With a week one victory and some notes from their first game, the Bemidji High School football team has its eyes on Friday’s home opener, where they will host Big Lake at 7 p.m. at Chet Anderson Stadium.

“The kids have belief in each other right now that is pretty strong,” head coach Troy Hendricks said. “The belief that they have in their teammates to do the job and to do their job is strong right now. We’re just going to build on that. It’s one week at a time, one game at a time. We’re 1-0, and our goal this week is to go 1-0.”

The Lumberjacks were in a similar situation last season after week one. In both years, they were coming off a season-opening win over Rogers and feeling good heading into game two against Big Lake.

But Bemidji hopes for a different result Friday compared to last year, as the Hornets edged the Jacks in a 32-28 nailbiter.

Looking at the pair of opponents through the remainder of last season, Rogers ended the regular season with a 6-2 record, while Big Lake finished 3-5.

“Big Lake didn’t have the same record and/or the same schedule as Rogers, so if you look back on it, you go, ‘maybe we overlooked Big Lake a little bit and played really good against Rogers,’” Hendricks said.

“We just have to make sure that we don’t take anybody lightly. So that’s our goal this week is to get better no matter who we’re playing. Execute a little bit better on all three phases, and if we do that, I think the scoreboard will take care of itself.”

With a new head coach at the helm of the Hornets, the Jacks can’t assume much of what they’ll see Friday, but they can be sure they’ll run into DeVonne Harris.

The defensive end/tight end is ranked eighth in Minnesota players to watch for the class of 2016, according to gopherhole.com. Last year as a junior, he racked up 58 tackles, 13 tackles for a loss, eight sacks, a rumble recovery, two forced fumbles on defense along with 23 receptions for 442 yards and four touchdowns on offense.

“He’s going to be maybe as special a kid as we’ll see all year,” Hendricks said.

Along with taming Harris on both sides of the ball, Bemidji’s focus will be on its own game using the one game of tape they’ve seen on Big Lake.

“Our strategy is to take care of ourselves,” Hendricks said. “We have a decent idea of what we’re going to do, but they don’t have a real strong idea of what we’re going to do either because they have one game tape on us.

“It’s a new season. You never quite know with a new coaching staff what they’re going to do, other than the tape that we have. We’re going to utilize that tape and look what they did last year and what they had success with and make sure that we’re sound in all three phases as it pertains to them and what they do.”

If you go

What: Football game between Bemidji and Big Lake

Where: Chet Anderson Stadium

When: 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 7

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