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FOOTBALL: Bemidji season ends at Chisago Lakes with 35-28 final-minute victory

Bemidji’s Tanner Boes leaps and stretches the ball over the goal line for the game tying touchdown with two minutes to play in Saturday’s section semifinal game against Chisago Lakes. Bill Stickels III | Isanti-Chisago County Star

LINDSTROM — Last year Chisago Lakes’ 47-yard field goal attempt with four seconds to play came up short and the Bemidji High School football team captured the Section 7-5A championship with an exciting 31-29 victory.

Saturday afternoon the teams staged a playoff rematch in the section semifinals and, once again on Chisago Lake’s home turf. This time, however, the Wildcats connected on their final drive as quarterback Mitch Berg hit Michael Dunn on a 9-yard touchdown pass with 21 seconds to play to give Chisago Lakes a 35-28 victory over the Lumberjacks.

BHS, the third seed in the section playoffs, ended its season 7-3 and was denied a fifth consecutive trip to the state playoffs. The Wildcats, 8-1, remain on target to reach the state and standing in the way of the section’s No. 2 seed is top-ranked Brainerd (9-0) which bounced No. 4 Cambridge 35-14 in Saturday’s other semifinal.

Those teams will clash 7 p.m. Friday in Brainerd with the section crown on the line.

As was the case last year, Saturday’s outcome could have favored either team. BHS scored on its opening drive and owned a 7-0 advantage after the first period but the Wildcats notched a pair of unanswered touchdowns in the second quarter to forge a 14-7 cushion at the break.

The teams traded punches in the second half and when Lumberjack running back Tanner Boes powered into the end zone with his fourth TD of the game with 2:13 remaining in regulation, the score was knotted at 28-28.

For much of the afternoon Chisago Lakes employed a time-consuming attack. After Boes and the Jacks tied the game, however, the home team switched tactics, marching 30 yards in nine plays and using less than two minutes. The abbreviated march gave the Wildcats the lead and left Bemidji with only 14 seconds on the clock and no time outs. A pass to Wakinyan Moore provided a first down at the BHS 41 but on the final play of the season quarterback James Hendricks was intercepted at the Chisago Lakes 15.

Boes ended his Lumberjacks’ career on a hot streak as his four touchdowns on Saturday pushed his season total to 22. He also rushed 26 times for 145 yards.

On Bemidji’s initial drive Boes scored on a 4-yard scamper and in the third quarter he collected another 4-yard TD.

In the final 12 minutes the senior twice helped the Jacks tie the score as he scored on a 10-yard jaunt 58 seconds into the stanza and again with 2:13 to go.

Each time, however, the Wildcats answered.

Bemidji’s ground game generated 216 yards and Hendricks completed 15 of his 21 passes for 181 yards.

Chisago Lakes 35, Bemidji 28

Bemidji                        7    0  7  14  -  28

Chisago Lakes             0  14  7  14  -  35

First  Quarter

B-Boes, 4-run. PAT-Annette kick. 5:15

Second Quarter

CL-Berg, 8-run. PAT-Thompson kick. 6:10

CL-Parks, 15-pass from Berg. PAT-Thompson kick. 9:21

Third Quarter

B-Boes, 4-run. PAT-Annette kick. 9:26

CL-Parks, 8-run. PAT-Thompson kick. 10:30

Fourth Quarter

B-Boes, 10-run. Pat-Annette kick. 0:58

CL-Parks 6-run. PAT-Thompson kick. 5:10

B-Boes, 1-run. PAT-Annette kick. 9:47

CL-Dunn, 9-pass from Berg. PAT-Thompson kick. 11:39

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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