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Bemidji wraps up section with win 22-7 win at St. Cloud Tech

During each of the first two games this fall, against Moorhead and Fergus Falls, the Bemidji offense was burned by a turnover in the final minute of the first half which the opponents turned into points.

Fortunately, the Lumberjacks were able to overcome those gift points on each occasion.

Friday night at St. Cloud Tech the offense was in a giving mood once again as Dieter Brenner of the Tigers intercepted a Mitch Hendricks pass at the Tech 5-yard line with 25 seconds to play in the opening half and outraced the Jacks along the sideline for a 95-yard touchdown.

The TD sliced Bemidji's lead to 9-7 but, more importantly, it prompted the Lumberjacks to play much better in the second half. An inspired group of football players hit the field in the final two periods and the result was a 22-7 BHS victory.

"Giving up a pick-six at the end of the half is not what we wanted," said Lumberjacks coach Troy Hendricks. "But, for good or bad, we've been there before. At half we told the boys to just relax and we would put Tech away in the second half."

Friday's win upped Bemidji's record to 6-1 and the Jacks will close the regular season Wednesday when they travel to Sartell. Bemidji will have little riding on Wednesday's outcome as the Lumberjacks have already secured the top seed in Section 7-4A.

Bemidji, however, would like to maintain its winning ways and extend the momentum of a successful season into the playoffs.

Bemidji's defense dominated Friday's game as it kept Tech off the board and produced two points with a safety five minutes into the action when Ernie Heifort tackled Jacob Peterson in the end zone.

That safety gave BHS a 2-0 lead and set the table for Bemidji's only first-half touchdown. Mitch Brown had the honors on the 47-yard drive as he ran in from the 2-yard-line with 4:39 to play in the first quarter.

Jon Henry booted the conversion and the Jacks were on top 9-7.

Bemidji continued to threaten in the opening half but each time came away with nothing. Henry missed a 37-yard field goal on the first play of the second period. A fumble stopped the Jacks on their next possession and Brenner's interception spoiled the final march.

The defense continued to do its job in the second half. Tech took the opening kickoff and consumed nine minutes before losing possession on downs. In the fourth quarter the Lumberjacks defense maintained its dominance and a fumble recovery by Forrest Moe, Brandon Larson's second interception of the evening and the second sack of the night by Heifort bought time for the offense.

Early in the fourth quarter the Jacks upped their lead to 15-7 when Mitchell Hendricks scored on a 1-yard run. The kick was blocked, however, so Tech was still within striking distance only down by eight points.

The outcome was officially decided with 1:40 to play when Kevin Nelson bulled in from the 1-yard-line. Henry's kick made the final 22-7.

"We played a good football game," the coach said. "Our defense was outstanding. It continually put the Tech offense into situations it didn't like.

"I am proud of the kids and they should feel very good about themselves and what they have accomplished."

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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