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Bemidji HS football team defeats St. Cloud Apollo 28-7 to stay unbeaten

The Bemidji football team rolled to its third victory in as many starts Friday as the Lumberjacks ran over St. Cloud Apollo 28-7 in St. Cloud.

BHS, which is 3-0 for the first time since 2001, will shoot for its fourth victory next Friday when it hosts Brainerd in the annual Homecoming contest.

Turnovers stymied Bemidji during Friday's first half but the Lumberjacks played near-perfect football in the final 24 minutes and were never threatened.

"It was a similar game to last week," said BHS coach Troy Hendricks. "Offensively we made the same types of mistakes we made against Fergus Falls but we talked about those mistakes at halftime and we came out and had a good second half."

Despite those mistakes the Jacks led 14-7 at the break and BHS iced the victory with Zach Declusin's 6-yard TD run late in the third stanza. A pair of unanswered touchdowns in the final stanza added icing to the cake.

The outcome could have been decided in the first half but Bemidji shot itself in the foot with three turnovers and the Eagles were able to convert one of the miscues into a late touchdown.

With 3:50 to play in the second quarter Apollo's Andy Hagen intercepted a pass deep in his own zone and returned it 50 yards to the BHS 25.

Bemidji's defense proved stingy but with 18 seconds to play in the half the Eagles finally broke through as quarterback Mike Theisman found Derek Steve for a touchdown on a fourth-and-four at the 5-yard line.

Theisman kicked the PAT and the Eagles were within 14-7 at the break.

The Lumberjacks had many opportunities to take control but three turnovers stopped promising drives and continued to give the Eagles hope.

Bemidji did, however, sandwich a pair of touchdowns among the miscues.

After a scoreless first period BHS opened the scoring 50 seconds into the second stanza when Jesse Eck found the end zone on a 4-yard run. Jon Henry booted the conversion and the Lumberjacks were ahead to stay.

Carey Woods stopped Apollo on its next possession when the junior intercepted his second pass of the evening and returned it to the Eagles 22.

Woods also is a wide receiver on offense and on the second play of the abbreviated drive Woods caught a 20-yard TD pass from Mitchell Hendricks. Henry's kick was true and Bemidji was on top 14-0 with 9:04 to play in the half.

The home team used Hagen's interception and return to set up its score late in the second period but the Eagles would not threaten again while BHS dominated the final 24 minutes.

Bemidji's initial drive in the third quarter ended on downs at the Apollo 15 but the Lumberjacks fared better on their next possession. Starting at their 44 yard line, the Jacks turned to Kevin Nelson and the ground game. Nelson gained 35 yards on his first carry and five plays later Zach Declusin capped the march with a 6-yard run.

Henry split the uprights with his third kick of the night and Bemidji enjoyed a 21-7 advantage.

Nelson had the honors on Bemidji's final score as he bulled in from the 5-yard line with 7:50 to play in the game.

BHS finished with 345 total yards including 217 on the ground. Declusin had 97 of those yards on 18 carries.

Hendricks completed nine of his 14 passes for 128 yards. Ben Hengel was the recipient of five aerials which gained 77 yards.

Bemidji's defense limited Apollo (1-2) to 97 yards in the air and 27 yards on the ground.

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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