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FOOTBALL: Lumberjacks ready for battle between 2-0 teams

Bemidji High School quarterback Jacob Beberg (2) passes the football in the home opener against Big Lake on Sept. 7 at Chet Anderson Stadium. (Jillian Gandsey | Bemidji Pioneer)

BEMIDJI -- Just one team will remain undefeated between the Bemidji High School football team and Sauk Rapids-Rice after Friday night’s game at Chet Anderson Stadium, and the Lumberjacks like their chances.

Both teams are 2-0 going in, with Bemidji beating Rogers 31-7 and Big Lake 41-0, and SR-R defeating St. Francis 38-35 and Moorhead 24-20.

With the week three matchup a day away, BHS head coach Troy Hendricks said Thursday the Jacks haven’t changed anything in their preparations.

“Well, really the same things we’ve been doing all along,” Hendricks said of what they’ve been working on. “Just get a little bit better each week. They definitely have a quality football team and they’re very well coached, so we expect a four-quarter game…. This week our goal is to play four solid quarters and not necessarily worry about our opponent, just focus on ourselves.”

The Lumberjacks, who were ranked No. 9 in Class 5A in this week’s Associated Press poll, put together their most impressive win of the season against the Storm last year by battling through a lightning delay for a 37-12 win. But seeing them top Moorhead a week ago – albeit possibly a weaker Moorhead team than last year – Sauk Rapids could hit the field harder Friday.

“Sauk Rapids had a heck of a game with them last year against a good Moorhead team,” Hendricks said. “They were a good team last year, and we expect them to be a little bit different this year as they’re a little bit more experienced on the offensive side, maybe a little less experienced on the defensive side than last year. But we know we’ll have our hands full.”

After improving from a 1-8 record two seasons ago to a 4-6 record last fall, the atmosphere has a different feeling on the practice field and on gameday, according to Hendricks.

“The kids have a little bit more experience, and you’ve got veterans in spots that you need to have veterans at, or it helps to have veterans at,” he said. “We’re excited about this bunch of kids. We’re excited about the effort that they’re putting in each week. These kids have had five quality weeks of practice, and that says a lot about them coming in and preparing themselves for Friday. So hopefully we have the same kind of results where we execute similar to how we have the last two weeks.”

The Lumberjacks shut out Big Lake last Friday in front of a packed Chet Anderson Stadium, and the Lumberjacks are hoping for a similar result at 7 Friday.

“I think it’s going to be a nice night, so the community is going to come out and support the kids,” said Hendricks. “They love that. Believe me, they really look forward to playing at Chet Anderson Stadium, and I think the fans will be riled, the kids will be wound up tight and excited to get after it. It’s nice not to have to take that two and a half hour bus ride, and we don’t have many of these. You get four regular season home games, so you have to take advantage of each and every one, and I’m quite certain that the kids will do that tomorrow.”