Football: Warriors overcome penalties, win opener
It wasn't the way the Brainerd Warriors hoped to inaugurate their new artificial surface at Adamson Field but hey, a win is a win, especially in a season opener.
Brainerd overcame 12 penalties for 105 yards, but did enough offensively and played swarming defense to subdue the Fergus Falls Spartans 30-6 in a Central Lakes Conference game Friday night.
Mitch Rahn ran for three short touchdowns, three Warrior quarterbacks combined to throw for 156 yards and the defense recovered a fumble and forced a safety as Brainerd scored 28 unanswered points.
"I would like to say it's a typical first game but it's not because typically we've been really sharp," Warriors coach Ron Stolski said, "but I think our youth really showed. As odd as it sounds, maybe we've had too much practice. I could kind of see it coming. Usually you play the way you practice.
Warriors 30, Otters 6
- The key: Brainerd outgained the Otters 387-116 in total yards
- Conference: Brd 1-0
- Overall: Brd 1-0
- Next: Brainerd hosts Willmar 7 p.m. Friday.
"With that said, I'm really happy for the kids. We're a young team. Fergus Falls is a good team, a rugged team, but we had too many penalties. We only turned the ball over once but once is too many. It felt like more. It's just mistakes we can't make and be good.
"l liked the defense a lot. Our offense is fine. You take a few of the penalties out of there, and they're always costly, but we'll be better next week."
Eight Warrior penalties were on the offense.
"I think it was a typical first game," Warriors senior linebacker and captain Anthony Cory said. "Our offense will progress. They had a little bit of trouble at the beginning, but they started to get better and better as the game progressed."
Brainerd limited the Otters to 116 total yards, just 35 in the first half, and eight total first downs. Fergus Falls didn't score until 5:51 remained.
Following a scoreless opening quarter, Rahn scored on a 1-yard run on the seventh play of the second. He had an 18-yard run in the series and quarterback Evan Brecht completed 3 of 3 passes for 33 yards during the drive.
After the Otters went three and out, Allen Jevning broke away for a 42-yard punt return to the Fergus Falls 20. Two plays later, Rahn scored from the one and Jevning caught the 2-point conversion pass from quarterback Hanson Devine and Brainerd led 14-0 at the half.
The Warriors scored 14 points in the third, tallying on their first possession on Rahn's 3-yard run.
On the ensuing kickoff, Jordan Jarmuzak recovered an Otters' fumble at the Fergus Falls 30. A 25-yard pass from quarterback Chris Pederson to Quinn McElfresh on fourth an 23 to the Otters 4 sparked the drive. Following a penalty, Brainerd scored on Pederson's 21-yard pass to Cole Spieker.
Brainerd defensive lineman Ted Nelson had a good night up front with a tackle for loss and a sack.
Brecht started at quarterback, followed by Devine and Pederson. Brecht was 4 of 7 passing for 48 yards, Devine was 4 of 9 for 51 and Pederson 3-for-3 for 57 and a score.
"We wanted to look at all of them, that's only fair," Stolski said. "That's not a plan.
"The interesting thing was what we thought would be really a strength we just didn't throw as well as we have been, then we didn't catch it as well. The offensive line we were really worried about and I thought they were outstanding, as well as the defense."
After several soccer games had been played on the turf, the football team finally got a chance to officially play on it.
"It's way faster than it is playing on the dirt, that's for sure," Cory said.
Fergus Falls 0 0 0 6 - 6
Brainerd 0 14 14 2 - 30
Brd-Mitch Rahn 1 run (kick fails) 9:40
Brd-Rahn 1 run (Allen Jevning pass from Hanson Devine) 8:02
Brd-Rahn 3 run (David Saxum kick) 7:50
Brd-Cole Spieker 21 pass from Chris Pederson (Saxum kick) 3:46
FF-Luke Velde 21 pass from Isaiah Lemke (kick fails) 5:51
Brd-Safety, Fergus Falls snaps ball out of end zone from punt formation, :20
Rushes-yards: Brd 35-52, FF 52-231
Pass comp-att-int-yds: Brd 12-19-0156, FF 4-10-64
Total offense: Brd 387, FF 116
Rushing: Brd-Paul Augustinack 2-11, Allen Jevning 6-38, Mitch Rahn 12-63, Evan Brecht 11-70, Chris Pederson 6-1, Hanson Devine 1-1, Zach Winger 6-24, Chris Veith 3-18, Cooper Tollefson 2-(-1), Colton Borg 1-10; FF-Ben Schindler 4-27
Passing: Brecht 4-7-48, Devine 4-9-51, Pederson 3-3-57; FF-Noah Strom 2-7-20, Lemke 2-3-44
Receiving: Brd-Quinn McElfresh 5-75, Cole Spieker 4-59, Steve Severson 2-11, Chris Pederson 1-11