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Bemidji High School football team faces St. Cloud Apollo in home opener

After opening the season with two impressive victories the Bemidji High School football team makes its home debut today when it entertains St. Cloud Apollo.

The Lumberjacks have dismantled their first two opponents, both games on the road. Moorhead proved to be no match in the season opener as BHS cruised to a 40-13 victory. Last weekend the Jacks recorded their second win as they blitzed Fergus Falls 42-13.

Apollo has struggled to an 0-2 record. It opened with a 45-13 loss to Fergus Falls and last week Apollo was battered 56-21 by Foley.

"On paper we're better than Apollo but we don't take any team lightly," said Bemidji coach Troy Hendricks. "Each week our goal is to get better and improve upon last Friday's performance. If we do that the results will take care of themselves."

So far the results have been impressive. The Jacks offense is averaging 140.5 yards per game on the ground and quarterback Mitchell Hendricks is averaging 281.5 yards through the air, connecting on 26 of his 36 pass attempts.

His favorite target has been Carey Woods who has 14 receptions for 395 yards and five touchdowns. Woods also ran 71 yards for a score in the season-opener at Moorhead.

"We know that Carey has great athletic ability and talent," Hendricks said. "We know that if we get the ball in his hands he will do the rest."

Mitchell Hendricks has handled the PAT and field goal kicking duties and has connected on eight of the nine extra points and all three field goal tries.

Cody Rutledge has 12 points this year, six on an interception return against Moorhead and six more courtesy of last week's 70-yard punt return.

Brady Schmidt and Mitch Brown have rushing touchdowns and Zach DeClusin a TD on a 30-yard pass reception.

Defensively James Bofferding has been the team leader with 24 tackles, 14 of them in the Moorhead game.

Also in double figures in total tackles are Rutledge (10), Dylan Dickinson (11), Richard Seado (15), Andrew Street (14), Brady Schmidt (13), Kole Spencer (17) and Chase Gruber (10).

Schmidt has 3.5 sacks, Gruber 2.5 and Street one.

"We've done many good things so far but we haven't played a perfect game yet," Hendricks said. "We're not running the ball as well as we can. Defensively we're giving up too many big plays and our special teams need work.

"But we feel good about where we are at," the coach continued. "Our practices this week have been up-tempo and I'm proud of the boys and how they are playing."

Today's game begins at 7 p.m. and fans are invited to a tailgate party prior to kickoff. Sponsored by the football boosters, the tailgate will begin at 4 p.m. at the BSU American Indian Resource Center parking lot and continue until 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $3 and the menu includes brats or hamburgers with chips and soda.

BHS will also salute the seniors' parents and the seventh and eighth grade football players will be the honored guests. At halftime the youngsters in the newly-created tackle football league will also receive recognition.

"It seems as if we've been on the road forever," Hendricks said. "With three weeks of pre-season practice, a scrimmage on the road and games at Moorhead and at Fergus Falls it's nice to finally be home. The kids love being (at Chet Anderson Stadium) and they'll be ready to play."

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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