MISSED OPPORTUNITIES: Bemidji can’t get offense rolling, drops season opener 24-14 at St. Francis
ST. FRANCIS -- Bemidji High School football coach Troy Hendricks said the teams who made the fewest mistakes would win in week one. The mistakes were even, but the Lumberjacks (0-1) couldn't take advantage as the Fighting Saints (1-0) beat them 2...
ST. FRANCIS - Bemidji High School football coach Troy Hendricks said the teams who made the fewest mistakes would win in week one.
The mistakes were even, but the Lumberjacks (0-1) couldn’t take advantage as the Fighting Saints (1-0) beat them 24-14 to open the 2015 season on Saturday.
“We didn’t make plays when we had the opportunity,” Hendricks said.
Heading into the season, defensive coordinator Mike Fogelson said the key would be the defense’s ability to get off the field on third down.
BHS made two stops on third down in the first drive, but St. Francis converted a pair of fourth down tries and ended the first series with five-yard touchdown pass from Hunter Trautman to Robert Whitney to go up 7-0.
The Jacks continued to struggle to get off the field in the first quarter as the Fighting Saints scored on both of their first quarter drives.
“We had an opportunity for a sack and dropped a few interceptions (on late downs),” Hendricks said. “We didn’t make those plays and we’ve got to take advantage of those.”
Bemidji made it 7-7 in the first quarter when Javon Rodgers returned a kick 95-yards for a touchdown.
The Lumberjacks went into the half down 14-7 after a scoreless second quarter.
“We felt fortunate to be only down 14-7,” Hendricks said. “Considering we had only two first downs, we needed momentum right out of the gate and it didn’t happen.”
Things got sloppy in the second half, as Bemidji attempted two punts in the third quarter, but didn’t get either off.
One snap went low and punter Gannon Strain fell on it while the other went high and was downed deep in Bemidji’s territory.
St. Francis took advantage of both with 10 points in the third quarter to go up 24-7.
“The snap over the punter’s head shouldn’t happen,” Hendricks said. “We were hurt on special teams, but they also helped us a bit.”
The Lumberjacks got some life late in the second half when Wyatt Yartz blocked a punt to give Bemidji the ball deep in St. Francis territory, but the offense couldn’t take advantage when back-to-back incompletions from the 7-yard line forced a turnover on downs.
Another snap snafu on a punt put Bemidji on the Fighting Saints 14-yard line late in the fourth quarter.
The Lumberjacks pulled senior quarterback Jalin Rose, who was 5-of-15 passing for 40 yards, for junior Jonah Muller who threw a 14-yard touchdown on the first play to junior Alex Vollen to make it 24-14 with 1:50 left in the game.
Muller and the Bemidji offense didn’t get another chance however as St. Francis recovered the onside kick attempt and ran out the clock.
It took awhile for Logan Hatfield and the Lumberjack offense to get going as he had six carries for 13 yards in the first half and also lost a fumble on a bad exchange between himself and Rose.
Vollen’s touchdown catch was his only reception while Travis Golden caught a pass for 11 yards and Ethan Bush caught four passes for 11 yards as well.
Nate Larson made an interception at the tail end of the first half to keep St. Francis within a score going into halftime.
Running back Lincoln Ryan was helped off the field during Bemidji’s first drive of the game with a sprained ankle and never returned. His injury isn’t expected to keep him out for long.
“You don’t go out and win because you’re Bemidji,” Hendricks said. “We’ll be a little more prepared next week.”
The Lumberjacks are back in action at 7 p.m. Friday at Chet Anderson Stadium on the campus of Bemidji State against Sauk Rapids-Rice. The Storm is coming off a 33-20 win against Princeton.
St. Francis 24, Bemidji 14
Bemidji 7 0 0 7 - 14
St. Francis 14 0 10 0 - 24
First Quarter: 5-yard TOUCHDOWN pass STF (Trautman-Whitney), PAT GOOD (Henjum). 5:38 7-0 STF; 95-yard kick return TOUCHDOWN BEM (Rodgers), PAT GOOD (Whiting). 5:24 7-7; 6-yard TOUCHDOWN run STF (Greene), PAT GOOD (Dustman). 00:40 14-7 STF.
Second Quarter: No Scoring.
Third Quarter: 35-yard field goal GOOD STF (Dustman), 6:15 17-7 STF; 8-yard TOUCHDOWN run STF (Greene), PAT GOOD (Dustman), 4:20 24-7 STF.
Fourth Quarter: 14-yard TOUCHDOWN pass BEM (Muller-Vollen), 1:50 24-14 STF.