FOOTBALL: Jacks see all-around success in week one win
ROGERS -- All three phases of the game – offense, defense and special teams – were working for the Bemidji High School football team Thursday night, leading to a 31-7 road win over Rogers to start the season on a high note.
Despite kicking off to start the contest, it didn’t take the Lumberjacks (1-0) long to get on the board.
Following an immediate Rogers (0-1) three-and-out, Bemidji earned optimal field position at the Royals’ 40 yard line.
Nine plays later on third and goal from the 1-yard line, BHS quarterback Jacob Beberg pitched to sophomore Matt Arel for his first varsity touchdown and a 7-0 lead after the extra point.
On the Jacks’ next drive, it took just two plays to find the end zone again -- a pitch to Kade Peterson for seven yards and a pass to Ryan Bieberdorf on a slant for 60 yards to the house.
The touchdown and PAT gave Bemidji a 14-0 lead after the first quarter, and they extended it to 17-0 late in the second when Bemidji recovered its own punt which led to a Cole Milz 23-yard field goal.
Through 24 minutes of play, all five Rogers drives ended in punts.
Early in the second half, though, the Royals started gaining momentum early in the second half, starting with an interception on the Jacks’ first play from scrimmage.
But the Bemidji defense stayed sharp to force a field goal attempt and block it to hold Rogers scoreless.
Bemidji punted on the ensuing drive, forced a turnover on downs on defense and fumbled on the next offensive chance.
Finally the Royals were able to capitalize, as quarterback Easton Miller found Luke Nelson for a jump ball in the end zone from 12 yards out, cutting the Lumberjacks lead to 17-7 late in the third quarter.
Under the pressure of a potential comeback, the offense reawakened with two straight touchdown-scoring drives.
Capping a march down the field from their own 37, Beberg once again pitched to Arel for his second touchdown of the game, this one from four yards out.
On the next drive while facing 17 yards to gain on third down, Caleb Grant broke free for 54 yards to the Rogers 10-yard line and, three plays later, found the end zone on third-and-goal from the 5-yard line to bring the game to its final score of 31-7.
Grant led the Bemidji backs with 141 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries, while Arel had seven carries for 21 yards and two touchdowns. Will Falldorf also broke free late in the game for 41 yards on the ground.
Beberg finished with five carries for 18 yards on the ground 6-for-13 through the air. He had 111 yards passing, 103 of which went to Bieberdorf on five completions including the 60-yard touchdown strike.
The Bemidji defense held the Rogers offense to 53 rushing yards and 132 passing yards. The Royals’ featured back, Nick O’Neil, had just two yards on seven carries, while Miller kept 10 times for 42 yards.
Nelson racked up 45 receiving yards and a touchdown on four catches.
With a well-earned win under their belt, the Lumberjacks return to the gridiron at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 7, when they will host Big Lake for their home opener at Chet Anderson Stadium.
Bemidji 31, Rogers 7
BHS 14 3 0 14 -- 31
ROG 0 0 7 0 -- 7