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FOOTBALL: Bemidji gets another shot at Rocori

BEMIDJI — Wednesday night the boys at Bemidji High School were invited to participate in a night of power volleyball as part of the school’s homecoming activities.

Among the students who participated in the activity were many members of the Lumberjacks football team.

The night of power volleyball was one of many special programs and activities that school officials and the student body have created to help celebrate homecoming. BHS head football coach Troy Hendricks knows all of those activities are tied to Friday’s football game and he is preaching that perspective to his players.

But he also wants his athletes to enjoy every aspect of the special week, including a few games of power volleyball.

“As far as I’ve heard, we didn’t have any football players get hurt during power volleyball,” Hendricks said

“Homecoming is a good thing as long as you keep everything in perspective and don’t get too carried away with all of the distractions. Homecoming week is something the players will remember about their days as a student at Bemidji High School.”

Among the lasting homecoming week memories is the football game. So far this fall all of the football memories have been positive as the Jacks enter tonight’s contest against Rocori with a 4-0 record.

The Spartans are 1-3 but are coming off a 26-21 victory over Alexandria.

The last time the two teams squared off Rocori stopped Bemidji 17-10 in the 2011 Class 4A championship game at the Metrodome.

The Lumberjacks have continued to prosper on the field, advancing to the state Class 5A semifinals last year and posting a 4-0 record so far this season, but the Spartans appear to be having an off year.

“We are facing a team that is used to success and when you face a program that has a tradition as strong as Rocori’s you have to play four quarters of physical football,” Hendricks said. “I don’t know exactly what the Rocori coaches expected this season but I would imagine that they are struggling more than they thought they would.

“And at 1-3 Friday’s game could get them going in the right direction.”

Rocori has been outscored 114-73 but Hendricks said the Spartans have had strong starts but have sputtered in the second half.

The Jacks have followed a different path as they have trailed at some point of the first half in most of their games.

BHS stepped up its attack as each game progressed, however, and has outscored its opponents 167-82.

“My hope is that we figure out how to play four quarters this Friday,” Hendricks said. “Our offense and defense probably are a little more sophisticated than some teams and that may be part of the reason why we start slowly in some games. But now we have to be ready to play our best in the first quarter.”

Bemidji boasts a diverse offense which features a nice balance between the run and the pass. Quarterback James Hendricks has completed 27 of his 53 passes and averages 154 yards through the air. The junior has tossed eight touchdowns and has been intercepted only twice.

The Jacks also average 250 yards on the ground and leading the charge is Tanner Boes who has 390 yards and eight touchdowns on 69 carries.

Hendricks has contributed 342 yards and three rushing touchdowns and Wakinyan Moore has scampered for 165 yards.

“So far this year I have felt that we have had a speed advantage over our opponents,” the coach said. “We play fast on the edge and we’re going to try to do that again against Rocori.”

Defensively BHS is allowing 106 yards per game through the air and 117 on the ground. Those numbers are buoyed by a handful of long gainers that have stung the defenders.

“We feel that we are making progress defensively,” Hendricks said. “I would like to see the boys take another step defensively and play with more emotion. If we do that on Friday we should do well.”

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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