FOOTBALL: 11 Beavers named all-conference, Bolte wins coach of the year

The Beavers collected 11 all-NSIC nods and two Coach of the Year awards for head coach Brent Bolte and offensive coordinator Karson Pike.

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The Beavers celebrate with the NSIC North Division championship trophy after defeating U-Mary 62-40 on Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021, at Chet Anderson Stadium. (Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer)

BURNSVILLE -- On the strength of a historic season and Bemidji State football’s first-ever appearance in the NCAA D-II Playoffs, the Beavers collected 11 all-NSIC nods and two Coach of the Year awards for head coach Brent Bolte and offensive coordinator Karson Pike.

Eleven BSU players were named to the NSIC first or second teams. Bolte is the fifth Bemidji State head coach to win Coach of the Year, and Pike is the first BSU assistant to take home Assistant Coach of the Year.

First-team awardees for the Beavers included senior linebacker Gabe Ames, senior defensive back Hameed Oyedele, junior linebacker Zollie Kaplan, sophomore offensive lineman Ty Cobb and freshman offensive lineman Conor Kovas.

BSU’s second-teamers are senior wide receivers Brendan Beaulieu and Malik Williams, sophomore quarterback Brandon Alt, sophomore offensive lineman Jake Gannon, sophomore running back Makaio Harn, and senior linebacker Jaylen Jenkins.

Bolte finished first in coach of the year voting in his 21st overall season with Bemidji State and fifth as head coach. BSU’s nine-win season in 2021 was just its fifth in 94 years of Beavers football.


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Bemidji State head coach Brent Bolte talks to the Beavers after practice on Wednesday, Aug. 11, 2021, at Chet Anderson Stadium. (Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer)

With that record, the Beavers earned their sixth NSIC Overall Championship, third NSIC North Championship and, of course, the first NCAA postseason appearance in program history.

Bemidji State finished the year with seven straight wins, setting a new single-season program record for consecutive victories.

BSU finished with the fifth-best passing offense and seventh-best total offense behind the coaching of Pike. Pike, in his fifth year with the program, also oversaw an offensive line that ranks fourth in the nation and leads the NSIC in sacks allowed.

He helped guide Harlon Hill nominee Brandon Alt to an NSIC and BSU single-season record 43 passing touchdowns. Bemidji State players have also set program single-season records for passing yards, completions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns in 2021.

Ames, Beaulieu and Williams are the only Beavers to have been honored as all-conference prior to this season, with this being Ames’ fourth selection.

BSU continues its season at noon on Saturday, Nov. 20, at No. 4-seed Augustana in the first round of the NCAA Division II Football Championship.

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