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FOOTBALL: Beavers honor seniors to close season

BEMIDJI -- The Bemidji State football team is about to bid farewell to an accomplished senior class.

The seniors that will be honored during Saturday’s 1 p.m. season finale against Minot State at Chet Anderson Stadium have been a part of 30 wins by the program in their four years.

“That’s dang near eight wins a season,” said head coach Brent Bolte. “They’ve won a bowl game, they’ve been in a constant conversation to be in the national playoffs. I think they’ve left the program certainly better than they found it. They’ve elevated us, and now it’s the younger guys’ turn in 2019 to take the next step.”

Fourteen BSU seniors will be recognized on senior day: kicker/punter Isaac Aanerud, offensive lineman Parker Blakeslee, defensive lineman Dylan Ellingson, defensive lineman Jeff Harris, wide receiver Landon Jones, linebacker Vamougne Kanneh, running back Andrew Lackowski, defensive back Gunner Olszewski, offensive lineman Zach Sinnen, linebacker Justin Van Houtan, defensive back John Vogeler, defensive back Andrew Walock, wide receiver Jameson White and defensive back Maurice Willis.

Lackowski and Jones are the team’s leading rusher and receiver with 839 rushing yards and 654 receiving yards, respectively. Both are also transfers, with Lackowski arriving prior to the 2017 season, and Jones prior to this season.

That’s hasn’t kept them from forming a bond with their teammates.

“They’re a great group of guys,” Jones said. “We all started coming together just last week, like, ‘This is our last one.’ In the weight room we were like, ‘This is our last weight room session.’ They get to look back five years or whatever. I only had five months.”

“It’s a brotherhood. It’s a family-oriented deal,” Bolte said. “When you lose that and you look at it, ‘Hey, this is the last time I’m walking down to the Chet or walking off the Chet.’ I think it’s starting to hit some of those guys. And I wish I had them for longer, but that’s the way things work. We’re hoping to put them out there, get them out there with a W and really showcase what those seniors have been able to do, and what they mean to the program.”

Beavers vs. Beavers

BSU will close its season by playing an opponent it has seen plenty of success against.

Bemidji State (6-4, 4-2 NSIC North) has gone 18-1 in the all-time series against the Minot State Beavers. BSU has won 15 straight against MiSU dating back to 2003, most recently winning 40-14 last season in Minot, N.D.

Minot State enters the weekend at 1-9 overall with its lone win coming against last-place University of Mary. MiSU nearly toppled St. Cloud State last Saturday, only to fall, 30-23.

Bolte said Mike Aldrich, who is completing his second season as head coach, has MiSU on the right track.

“It’s going to take them a little bit of time, and you’ve seen progression,” Bolte said. “They’ve played a ton of young guys. They play a lot of freshmen in their two-deep, or sophomores and true freshmen as well…. They’ve had a couple tough games, but they’ve gotten better. They almost beat St. Cloud this past weekend.”

If you go

Who: BSU vs. Minot State

Where: Chet Anderson Stadium

When: 1 p.m. Saturday

Radio: Beaver Radio Network/92.1 FM

TV: KBSU Ch. 17

Austin Monteith

Austin Monteith is a sports reporter for the Bemidji Pioneer. He is an Illinois native and a Butler University graduate. Follow him on Twitter @amonteith92.

(218) 333-9787