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Warrior Football captains Paul Augustinack (left) Taylor Streiff, Anthony Cory, Quinn McElfresh and Hayden Bukowski get ready for the season on the new turf at Don Adamson field. Brainerd Dispatch/Steve Kohls

Football: Warriors moving forward after state runner-up finish

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Football: Warriors moving forward after state runner-up finish
Brainerd MN 506 James St. / PO Box 974 56401

Winning the first Central Lakes Conference North Division championship.

Recording the fifth unbeaten regular season in program history.

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Winning the Section 7-5A title.

Setting a program record for wins (12).

Playing for the state championship for the first time in program history.

Finishing as the Class 5A runner-up after losing to Owatonna 24-0 for the state title in the final high school football game at the Metrodome.

Those were among the achievements in a magical 2013 season for the Brainerd Warriors, who open the 2014 campaign on the new artificial surface at Adamson Field at 7 p.m. Friday against Fergus Falls.

Last year is last year as far as Warriors coach Ron Stolski is concerned.

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Warriors football

  • Head coach: Ron Stolski, 53rd season (40th at Brainerd, 4 at Park Center, 6 at Princeton, 1 at Slayton, 2 at Kensington).
  • Career record: 355-156-5 (.695)
  • Brainerd record: 283-121 (.700)
  • 2013 finish: 8-0 CLC North Division champion, 12-1 overall, Section 7-5A champion, Class 5A runner-up
  • Returning starters: Quinn McElfresh (WR), Cole Spieker (WR), Hayden Bukowski (S), Jaquon Cogshell (CB), Taylor Streiff (ILB), Cole Sellnow (OLB), Anthony Cory (ILB), Ted Nelson (DL), Cole DeRosier (OLB)
  • Captains: Anthony Cory, Quinn McElfresh, Taylor Streiff, Paul Augustinack, Hayden Bukowski
  • Assistant coaches: Chet Stevenson, Scott Parsons, Jeff Ramey, Aron Anderson, Troy Nelson, Deryl Ramey, Jason Freed, Mike Langer, Joe Pohlkamp, Wade Haapajoki.
  • Volunteer assistants: Mike Huesmann, John Stumpf, Michael Zauhar, Chuck Rodgers

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"Each team develops its own personality even though the precepts of the Warrior Way are solid," Stolski said before his 53rd season as a head coach. "The foundation is it - become a family, do the best you can, enjoy the experience. That's us since 1975. It's fun to watch each group of kids make it their team. They're Warriors forever, but it's their team now.

"Another aspect of our teams is like the quote from coach Jeff Williams of Owatonna (after the state championship): "Brainerd does not beat itself.' That's been something we try to teach our kids - eliminate to the extent you can those things that beat you - penalties and turnovers.

"One reason I've always enjoyed coaching football so much is you can find a role for a boy who comes with his heart in his hands."

The 2013 Warriors returned 14 starters. This season they return nine full- or part-time starters - two on offense, seven on defense.

Back on offense are wide receivers Quinn McElfresh and Cole Spieker. McElfresh, a full-time starter, caught 10 passes last fall for 203 yards and a touchdown. Spieker, a part-time starter, caught one pass for 14 yards.

"I think our strength offensively is we have some very good athletes in skill positions, wide receivers especially and quarterbacks," Stolski said.

"We'll see how it all plays itself out. We can be a 1-back team, maybe a 2-back, we can be multiple wide receivers. Our backs catch the ball pretty well.

"We like the offense we have. We just have to get some game seasoning. There's absolutely no substitute for game experience."

Defensively, the Warriors return safety Hayden Bukowski, cornerback Jaquon Cogshell, linebackers Taylor Streiff, Cole Sellnow, Anthony Cory and Cole DeRosier and lineman Ted Nelson. In 2013, Cory started at guard. DeRosier and Nelson were part-time starters.

Cogshell grabbed three interceptions and Bukowski and Streiff each had one.

"We've felt that, particularly early on, our strength would be defensively," Stolski said. "Not only are these returning starters, they're good football players.

"Our defense will be relatively small again, in terms of being not very heavy, but we will have very good team speed and quickness. When you bring roughly four linebackers back who played in a 13-game season, that's experience you can rely on. That's valuable game experience coming back to the ballclub."

A position-by-position look at the 2014 Warriors:

DEFENSE

Line:

Nelson is the only returning player who started some. Seniors Matt Thompson, Nick Stettler and Jared Winters are competing for spots along with juniors Josh Howieson, Zach Stangl and Dylan Crandall.

Outside linebacker:

Sellnow and DeRosier head the position. Senior Mike Eschenbacher and juniors C.J. Wohl and Kolt Herron are in the running.

Inside linebacker:

Streiff heads the corps, joined by Cory. Senior Jordan Jarmuzak and juniors Aaron Martin and Tristan Brecht round out the position.

Cornerbacks:

Cogshell is joined by senior Isaiah Stewart and juniors Matt Hill, Cole Harmer and Nick Peterson.

Safeties:

Seniors Will Stolski and Adam Fischer and Hill join Bukowski at the position.

OFFENSE

Quarterback:

Evan Brecht played in two games last season, completing one of two passes and rushed six times for 71 yards and a score.

Juniors competing to be the signal-caller include Hanson Devine, Chris Pederson and Howieson.

"I think it would be accurate to say you might see the ball in the air more just because of the nature of the skill more than say a year ago," Stolski said.

Running back:

Senior candidates are Paul Augustinack, Cooper Tollefson, Chris Veith, Zach Winger and Tim O'Reilly. Juniors are Allen Jevning, Mitch Rahn and Colton Borg.

Augustinack played quarterback last season, completing his only pass, and rushed four times for 21 yards and a TD. Winger carried three times, Tollefson twice and Veith once.

Tight end:

If the Warriors play a tight end, they may line up Ted Nelson and Howieson there.

Wide receivers:

Steven Severson is the other senior, along with McElfresh and Spieker. Juniors in the running for playing time are Pederson, Jordan Whitehead, Brady Kline, Devon Fiedler and Riley Fabian.

Tackles:

Seniors are Eric Uphoff, Michael Horton and Kyler Kennedy with sophomore Ryan Powers.

Guards:

Horton is joined by juniors Clayton Caird and Zach Rude and sophomore Seth Desrocher.

Centers:

Senior Jon Bostrom and Caird are vying to start.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Punter:

Candidates are Pederson and Hill.

Placekicker/kickoff:

Stewart and junior David Saxum are competing to be the starter.

Holder:

Evan Brecht returns to hold for field goals and extra points.

Kickoff/punt return:

Pederson, Jevning, Chris Veith, Cogshell, McElfresh and Spieker are in the running to return kicks.

"In addition to having strong units offensively and defensively, you have to have strong special teams," Stolski said. "We really emphasize special teams. Thinking back to our past, we've had good kickoff teams, good punting teams .. all those things add up to trying to put a good football team on the field."

Warriors roster

2-Chris Pederson QB/WR Jr

2-Jacob Berg QB soph

5-Steven Severson WR Sr

5-Joe Christianson QB soph

7-Jaquon Cogshell DB Sr

8-Cole Spieker WR Sr

10-Hanson Devine QB Jr

10-Luke Wiskow RB/DB soph

11-Adam Fischer DB Sr

12-Cole Sellnow LB Sr

14-Isiah Stewart CB Sr

14-Tyler Stephanie RB soph

15-Paul Augustinack RB Sr

16-Evan Brecht QB Sr

17-Cade Pikula WR soph

18-Colton Borg RB Jr

20-Chris Veith RB Sr

20-Tanner Clink WR soph

21-Allen Jevning RB Jr

22-Cooper Tollefson RB Sr

23-Cole Harmer DB Jr

23-Sidy Faye WR soph

24-Nick Peterson DB Jr

25-Tim O'Reilly RB Sr

26-Matt O'Reilly DB Jr

26-Corbin Pikula RB soph

27-Matt Hill DB Jr

28-Ryan Miller WR soph

28-Will Peabody QB soph

30-Kolton Herron LB Jr

31-Caleb Meyer DB Jr

32-Will Stolski DB Sr

33-Zach Winger RB Sr

33-Cody Christiansen DB soph

34-Arron Martin LB Jr

35-Cole DeRosier LB Sr

36-C.J. Wohl LB Jr

37-Luke Wiskow RB soph

38-Magnus Holt Hagen LB Sr

40-Mitch Rahn RB Jr

41-Taylor Streiff LB Sr

42-Anthony Cory LB Sr

42-Evan Schreifels LB soph

43-Hayden Bukowski DB Sr

44-Robert Young DB Jr

45-Josh Bock LB Jr

45-Travis Hensley LB soph

46-Kesmond Willert RB soph

47-Tayler Borders DL Jr

48-Mike Eschenbacher LB Sr

50-Josh Rushmeyer LB soph

51-Seth Desrocher OL soph

51-Trenton Rushmeyer DL soph

52-Sean Laughton OL Jr

52-Brian Barajas DL soph

53-Jordan Jarmuzak LB Sr

54-Dylan Crandall DL Jr

54-Will Schneider OL soph

55-Tristan Brecht LB Jr

56-Matt Thompson DL Sr

56-Thomas Sullivan OL soph

57-Zach Stangl DL Jr

58-Jared Winter DL Sr

58-Jared Lane LB soph

60-Michael Horton OL Sr

61-Clayton Caird OL Jr

62-Jon Bostrom OL Sr

63-Kyler Kennedy OL Sr

63-Sam Olson OL soph

64-Randall Clark DL Sr

66-Branden Tandeski LB soph

71-Ryan Powers OL soph

71-Justin Banks OL soph

72-Tate Arntson DL soph

73-Eric Uphoff OL Sr

73-Connor Marichalar OL soph

75-Zach Vogt OL Jr

76-Zach Rude OL Jr

77-Mikale Thompson DL Sr

78-Caleb Cherne DL Jr

80-Daunte Carner DL soph

81-Quinn McElfresh WR Sr

82-Riley Fabian WR Jr

82-Dawson Kintop WR soph

84-Jordan Whitehead WR Jr

85-Brady Kline WR Jr

85-Sam Nesheim TE soph

88-Devan Fiedler WR Jr

89-David Saxum K Jr

90-Ted Nelson DL Sr

91-Garett Lee DL Jr

92-Greg Rider DL soph

93-Devan Liebeg LB soph

94-Kyler Yerks DL Jr

95-Josh Howieson DL/QB Jr

96-Nick Stettler DL Sr

97-Mike Bieganek OL soph

99-Bruno Bernatsky DL Jr

Warriors schedule

Aug 29, Fergus Falls 7 p.m.

Sept. 5, Willmar 7 p.m. (BYAA Night)

Sept. 12, at Alexandria 7 p.m.

Sept. 19, at St. Cloud Apollo 7 p.m.

Sept. 27, St. Cloud Tech 2 p.m. (homecoming)

Oct. 3, at Bemidji 7 p.m.

Oct. 10, Moorhead 7 p.m.

Oct. 15, at Grand Rapids 7 p.m.

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Mike Bialka
(218) 855-5861
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