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Hendricks-Brown connection lifts Bemidji football team past Alexandria

Bemidji's Chase Gruber bear-hugs Alexandria running back Parker Giroux during Saturday's 14-7 Lumberjacks victory. Pioneer Photo/Alexandria Echo Press

Mitch Brown caught a 21-yard touchdown pass from Mitchell Hendricks with 11 minutes to play and Carey Woods ran for the 2-point conversion to help the Bemidji High School football team defeat Alexandria 14-7 Saturday in Alexandria.

Saturday's victory upped the Lumberjacks' record to 4-1 while Alexandria suffered its first loss in five outings.

Special teams and defense once again played pivotal roles in Saturday's victory as punter Jon Henry set the table for the winning score when his kick was downed at the Alexandria 3-yard-line late in the third quarter.

Bemidji's defense forced a three-and-out and heavy pressure by the Lumberjacks' punt rush resulted in a hurried boot that traveled only to the Cardinals' 21.

On the next play Hendricks hit Brown with what proved to be the winning score.

BHS opened the game with a dominant drive which covered 67 yards and resulted in a touchdown. The march featured six runs plus a 27-yard pass to Carey Woods. Kevin Nelson added the exclamation point on the next play when he scored from the 3-yard-line.

Henry's PAT kick was blocked, however, and the Jacks settled for a 6-0 lead.

Alexandria went nowhere on its initial possession and the Lumberjacks took charge again, advancing from the Cardinals' 45 to a first-and-goal at the 7. A holding penalty cost the Jacks 10 yards and, after a run lost five more yards, the promising drive died when Hendricks was intercepted.

The home team marched from its 36 to the 3-yard-line before being stopped when a double reverse on fourth down was denied. In the final minute of the half an interception by Dom Hayle in the end zone enabled BHS to maintain its 6-0 lead at the break.

Alexandria, however, went right to work in the third quarter as Parker Giroux ran 80 yards for a touchdown on the second play of the period.

The kick was good and the Lumberjacks trailed 7-6.

Bemidji slowly gained field possession the rest of the stanza, however, and eventually worked its way into scoring position with Henry's punt.

Alexandria had one last opportunity in the fourth quarter as it advanced to the Lumberjacks 20 with 5:13 remaining before turning the ball over on downs.

Bemidji was able to burn the rest of the clock with its efficient ground game.

The Jacks gained 182 yards on the ground paced by Nelson's 58 yards. Zach Declusin finished with 37 yards while Woods had 33, Ben Hengel 24, Hendricks 23 and Kevin Devescovi seven.

Hendricks completed seven of 11 passes for 123 yards. Woods caught three for 60 yards while Brown had three for 54 yards and Will Bruestle one catch for nine yards.

Alexandria failed to complete any of its three passes and finished with 270 rushing yards.

Bemidji will end its home regular season at 7 Friday night against Sauk Rapids-Rice.

Bemidji 14, Alexandria 7

Bemidji 6 0 0 8 - 14

Alexandria 0 0 7 0 - 7


First Quarter

B-Nelson, 3-run. PAT-kick failed. 2:58

Second Quarter

No scoring

Third Quarter

A-Giroux, 80-run. PAT-Knoblach kick. 1:00

Fourth Quarter

B-Brown, 21-pass from Hendricks. PAT-Woods run. 0:55

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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