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FOOTBALL: Bemidji enters the home stretch this weekend against Alexandria

BEMIDJI — The high school football regular season hits the home stretch this week as Bemidji and its peers conclude their campaigns with games today and Wednesday.

Fortunately for the Lumberjacks, both of them will be at Chet Anderson Stadium. The final surge begins 7 p.m. today against Alexandria (1-5) and on Wednesday BHS will welcome Moorhead (4-2).

Bemidji takes a 5-1 record into tonight’s contest, the lone blemish coming last Saturday when the Jacks dropped a 24-20 decision at Brainerd.

Both teams entered that game undefeated and, as expected, the battle was intense and the outcome wasn’t decided until the final 90 seconds when the Warriors cemented their victory with an interception.

Saturday’s result dropped the Jacks into third place in the North Division of the Central Lakes Conference standings with a 2-1 division record. Brainerd and Moorhead enter their showdown tonight with 3-0 records.

More importantly, however, Bemidji also slipped to third place in the Section 7-5A QRF rankings. Brainerd rules the roost with a QRF of 122.0 and seems destined to finish at the top and reap the reward of home field throughout the section playoffs.

BHS and Chisago Lakes are neck-and-neck for the No. 2 spot, however. Entering the final two games of the regular season Chisago Lakes has a QRF of 69.9 while Bemidji’s is 69.7.

Chisago Lakes’ final two games are tonight against Monticello (4-2) and Wednesday at St. Francis (3-3) and if the Wildcats win out they probably will stay ahead of the Lumberjacks in the QRF. Bemidji probably also must win its final two games to have a chance to overtake Chisago Lakes.

Gaining the No. 2 seed would be rewarded with another home playoff game and the Jacks would love to avoid the 4.5-hour trip to Chisago Lakes.

BHS coach Troy Hendricks, however, is not thinking that far ahead. His concentration this week centers on Alexandria.

“I think the boys feel okay with where we are at,” Hendricks said. “We would have liked to have beaten Brainerd but we didn’t.

“Our thoughts now are to go one game at a time and see what happens,” the coach added.

“You don’t want to dwell on what you did or didn’t do. We have to concentrate on our next opponent — Alexandria — and I’m sure the kids will bounce back.”

The Cardinals have struggled this year, losing their first five games by a combined score of 178-83. Last week, however, Alexandria entered the win column when it battered winless Grand Rapids 34-3.

Bemidji is averaging 150 yards through the air and 251 yards on the ground. Quarterback James Hendricks has completed 42 of his 80 passes with 11 touchdowns and three interceptions.

Ryan Hirt is the favorite target as he has caught 19 passes for 299 yards and five touchdowns. Jaylen Ingalls has 10 receptions for 363 yards and four TDs but missed Saturday’s game at Brainerd because of an ankle injury. The hope is that he will be back in the lineup tonight.

Tanner Boes paces the rushing attack with 643 yards on 106 carries. Boes also has scored 12 touchdowns and has a pair of 2-point conversions.

Hendricks has carried 88 times for 476 yards and Wakinyan Moore has 40 rushes for 251 yards.

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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