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BOYS SOCCER: Bemidji comes back, but concedes one chance too many to Spuds

The margin between winning and losing can be very thin.

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Bemidji senior Jonathan Devescovi (11) hustles after the ball during the first half against Moorhead on Thursday, Sept. 15, 2022, at Chet Anderson Stadium.
Maggi Fellerman / Bemidji Pioneer
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BEMIDJI – The margin between winning and losing can be very thin.

The Bemidji High School boys soccer team had battled back from a massive shots-on-goal deficit and a one-goal halftime gap on Thursday against Moorhead, equalizing with Jonathan Devescovi’s strike – deflected in off his back, no less – midway through the second half.

But as the clock ticked away at Chet Anderson Stadium, it was the Spuds that struck the decisive blow. On their 16th shot on target, Revar Qaqos slipped a slow roller past Connor Helm with 14 seconds left, and Moorhead left the Chet a 2-1 winner.

“We grew into the game, that's for sure,” BHS head coach Rick Toward said. “We were a little tentative and on our heels, they got the first goal on us. We talked at halftime, we're able to get the equalizer off the corner. And then it was just a battle – back and forth and back and forth. Proud of the effort, but disappointed in the result. Especially (with) 15 seconds left in the game to give up something like that.”

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Bemidji sophomore Connor Helm protects the net during the first half against Moorhead on Thursday, Sept. 15, 2022, at Chet Anderson Stadium.
Maggi Fellerman / Bemidji Pioneer

About a minute earlier, the Lumberjacks (4-4) also had an excellent opportunity to take the lead, but it was not to be.

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“Bo (Hofstad) plays the ball across to Lincoln (Schmitt), who gets a header on it,” Toward recounted. “And if he finishes it, what a different conversation we're having.”

It didn’t happen that way, so the Jacks were left to deal with the disappointment of coming so close against a quality opponent. The Spuds entered the contest with a record of 6-1-1, pacing the Section 8-3A field.

“It stings,” Toward said. “There's no doubt. That would have been a great, great building block for us. We can still build off of what happened, but obviously the result would have helped a little bit more. Yes, you are playing to be at your best at the end of the season. But you want to have the victories along the way during the season to get there.”

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Bemidji sophomore Lincoln Schmitt pushes the ball up the field during the first half against Moorhead on Thursday, Sept. 15, 2022, at Chet Anderson Stadium.
Maggi Fellerman / Bemidji Pioneer

Bemidji had a chance to win thanks to Devescovi’s goal in the 56th minute – one of the more unique ones you will ever see in soccer. He approached the near post on Schmitt’s corner kick, then essentially deflected the ball into the Moorhead net with a backwards effort.

“He comes right by the keeper,” Toward said of Devescovi. “And then his job is basically to make it difficult for the goalie to get to the ball. So, as the ball came short, the keeper’s coming forward, JD just went with him. Shielded it off – I think it went off his backside – and went in. But the keeper could not get to the ball because Jonathan was in the way.”

Devescovi’s score negated Yahye Hashim’s goal in the 15th minute, which had given the Spuds a 1-0 advantage. Moorhead remained at that total for the next 64 minutes thanks to Helm, who turned away multiple dicey Spuds chances down the stretch.

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Bemidji senior Bo Hofstad (21) looks to score during the first half against Moorhead on Thursday, Sept. 15, 2022, at Chet Anderson Stadium.
Maggi Fellerman / Bemidji Pioneer

“You can see the scoreboard, 16-4 (shots on goal),” Toward said. “Connor had a huge game. The fact that we gave up that one with 15 seconds is only an issue because he made so many fantastic saves that kept us in the game earlier on. So hats off to the keeper again. Another big game we had from him, and we still have work to do in our backline.”

Helm finished with 14 saves, while Moorhead goalkeeper Dalton Songstad collected three.

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The Lumberjacks return to action against Hill-Murray, the No. 2-ranked team in Class AA, at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 17, at Bemidji Middle School.

Moorhead 2, Bemidji 1

MHD 1 1 – 2

BHS 0 1 – 1

First half – 1, MHD GOAL, Hashim (Gast), 15’.

Second half – 2, BHS GOAL, Devescovi (Schmitt), 56’; 3, MHD GOAL, Qaqos (Allawi), 80’.

Saves – Helm (BHS) 14; Songstad (MHD) 3.

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Bemidji freshman Taevon Welle takes a throw-in during the first half against Moorhead on Thursday, Sept. 15, 2022, at Chet Anderson Stadium.
Maggi Fellerman / Bemidji Pioneer
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Bemidji sophomore Conor Stodgell (13) controls the ball during the first half against Moorhead on Thursday, Sept. 15, 2022, at Chet Anderson Stadium.
Maggi Fellerman / Bemidji Pioneer
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Bemidji sophomore Reed Johnson moves the ball during the first half against Moorhead on Thursday, Sept. 15, 2022, at Chet Anderson Stadium.
Maggi Fellerman / Bemidji Pioneer
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Bemidji sophomore Levi Renn (20) moves toward the net to score during the first half against Moorhead on Thursday, Sept. 15, 2022, at Chet Anderson Stadium.
Maggi Fellerman / Bemidji Pioneer
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Bemidji sophomore Isaac Stone (8) passes the ball to senior Johnathan Devescovi (11) during the first half against Moorhead on Thursday, Sept. 15, 2022, at Chet Anderson Stadium.
Maggi Fellerman / Bemidji Pioneer

Christian Babcock is a sports reporter at the Bemidji Pioneer. He trekked to Bemidji from his hometown of Campbell, Calif., after graduating from the Cronkite School at Arizona State University in 2021. Follow him on Twitter at @CB_Journalist for updates on the Lumberjacks and Beavers or to suggest your favorite local restaurant.
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