BEMIDJI -- This week’s opponent could be quite a change of pace for the Bemidji High School football team.
BHS is coming off a 28-26 victory at Alexandria on Sept. 13, a meeting of two top-10 teams in Class 5A and two of the biggest contenders in Section 8-5A. The victory put the Lumberjacks at No. 2 in the QRF rankings. Down below, at the 47th and final spot in the Class 5A ranks, sits Sartell-St. Stephen -- Bemidji’s next opponent.
Still, that doesn’t mean much to BHS head coach Troy Hendricks.
“As we told the kids last week, that was a week-three gauge. This is a week-four gauge,” he said. “I don’t -- at this point and time in the season -- put a lot of weight into who we’re playing. It’s more how we’re playing.”
Hendricks has a lot to like on that front, as the Jacks are 3-0 and one of eight undefeated teams left in Class 5A. He credits the team’s success to its day-by-day mindset.
“We’re not going to get better on Friday if we’re not getting better Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday,” Hendricks said. “If you can conquer today, you’re going to be a better football player tomorrow. That’s always been our philosophy.”
The Sabres are 0-3 on the season after road losses to Chisago Lakes (38-8) and Sauk Rapids-Rice (17-14) and a home loss to St. Cloud Tech (50-34).
While, on paper, the game matches two teams trending in opposite directions, the meeting still carries plenty of weight for Bemidji. It’ll be the third game against a section foe this season and the next opportunity for BHS to hold its positioning atop the 8-5A field.
“There’s a lot of misdirection in the backfield,” Hendricks said of Sartell-St. Stephen. “They’ve got size, so they’re going to be powerful. It’s their homecoming, so we’re going into visitor’s territory on homecoming night. There’s nothing their boys are going to want to do more than get a W for their school and community. Knowing that, we’ve got to come out early and be prepared early for a battle.”
Game time is set for 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 20, in Sartell.