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High School Football: Winless Apollo hosts Warriors for homecoming

A team riding a 3-game win streak is probably one of the least desirable homecoming opponents.

That will be the situation for the winless St. Cloud Apollo Eagles when they host their homecoming game Friday night against the red-hot 3-1 Brainerd Warriors.

“Homecoming week is an exciting week in school,” Apollo coach Justin Skaalerud said. “I hope the kids enjoy it. Brainerd brings a well-coached and talented team ... It will be a challenge for us. If our defense can continue to play well, and we can find a way to score some points, we hope to be in the ballgame when it comes down to the fourth quarter.”

The Eagles have been outscored 86-37 but have played respectable defense. Their losses were 6-0 to Sartell, 24-12 to Rogers, 35-18 to Rocori and 21-7 to Alexandria last week.

“I think in weeks 1-3 we played pretty well,” Skaalerud said. “I think everyone from the coaching staff to the kids were disappointed with our performance in Alex. That was a game we thought we probably should have won. We made way too many mistakes. We turned the ball over six times. You’re not going to win football games when you do that.

“I know the tone for this week is mistake-free football.

“The defense is playing well. I’m pleased with what they’re doing. Against Alex, we put (the defense) in awful position. We fumbled on their 17 so they got their second touchdown from a short field.”

Warriors coach Ron Stolski knows Brainerd can’t overlook the Eagles.

“This is a very challenging game because we’ve had a rough 4-week stretch,” he said. “It will be our homecoming next week, and some events are already beginning. It’s their homecoming Friday. Apollo is a very good defensive football team. They look like a team ready to break out offensively.

“We can’t afford to think, for whatever reason, that this won’t be as challenging a game as the previous four. We’ve got a lot to learn and a long way to go. We need to continue to improve. Otherwise, the outcome won’t be what we would like it to be.”

The Warriors have developed two important characteristics — the ability to come back and the ability to never surrender — in the season’s first half. They have trailed in all three of their wins, including 17-12 in the fourth quarter last week against Bemidji. Brainerd outscored the Lumberjacks 28-6 in the fourth.

“We’ve seen putting the pedal to the throttle. It was complete, pretty overwhelming, we just kept playing,” Stolski said of last week’s comeback. “We try to keep a really good practice tempo. I think conditioning has shown up in our games. We haven’t yet seemed to have fallen off and lost our fundamentals. It seems like we improve as the game goes on.”

Brainerd starts the second half of the regular season receiving votes in the Associated Press Class 6A poll and ranked fifth in the Quality Results Formula among the state’s 32 largest schools. Eden Prairie leads the QRF at 87.0, followed by Mounds View 81.8, Osseo 76.5, Edina 74.4 and Brainerd 69.0. Brainerd trails only Osseo in Section 5-6A.

“Speaking on behalf of the coaching staff, our kids are making real good progress,” Stolski said. “We practice hard. We’re proud of how the kids have accepted the challenge of being a relatively inexperienced team, although I always say at this stage of the season we’re not inexperienced any longer. When you get to this point, this is your team.

“Our team has goals. Among them are to care about one another, become a family, be good role models, and my sense is they’re doing those things. That’s among many things we’re proud of that really stands out. The kids are really together. We haven’t seen any give up.”

Mike Bialka, sports editor, may be reached at 855-5861. Follow on Twitter at


Brainerd Warriors


QB: 11-Luke Boran, 12-Thomas Stoxen, 15-Logan McElfresh, 37-Luke Patron

RB: 23-Logan Davis, 22-Conor Gessell, 10-Mason Severson, 24-Matt Ramerth, 26-Matt Sucik

WR: 2-Isaiah Smith, 7-Grant Reuer, 18-Geoff Sheflo, 81-Quinn McElfresh

SR: 8-Logan Jones, 31-Cole Smith

TE: 15-Logan McElfresh, 54-Alex Mimmack

C: 64-Billy Desrocher, 57-Zach Shepersky, 50-Wyll Erickson

G: 63-Jon Asprey, 57-Zach Shepersky, 54-Alex Mimmack, 65-Andrew Seglem, 77-Zach Thomas

T: 67-Alex DeRosier, 68/87-Alex Evanson, 62-Andy Meierhofer, 75-James Weiss


Line: 55-Jace Engelmann, 88-Chris Bowman, 73-Eric Uphoff, 54-Alex Mimmack, 96-Chris Laber, 94-Austin Mau, 78-Sam Adams, 66-Zach Hatcher

OLB: 36-T.J. Graumann, 33-Jake Donnay, 27-Troy Lenz, 33-Cole DeRosier

ILB: 34/52-Slade Simpson, 53-Sam Kelash, 30-Taylor Scheidenberger, 15-Logan McElfresh, 47-Winston Fenske

CB: 31-Cole Smith, 7-Grant Reuer, 12-Thomas Stoxen, 17-Beau Janousek, 20-Cody Mihok

S: 16-Trevor Maier, 31-Cole Smith


Punter: 15-Logan McElfresh

Kicker: 15-Logan McElfresh

Punt return: 23-Logan Davis, 2-Isaiah Smith

Kickoff return: 23-Logan Davis, 22-Conor Gessell

Long snap: 33-Jake Donnay, 17-Beau Janousek

Holder: 11-Luke Boran, 12-Thomas Stoxen

St. Cloud Apollo Eagles


QB: 14-Ben Alvord

WR: 25-Noel Teigen

WR: 33-Kyle Rosenthal

WR: 11-Cooper Lynch

RB: 35-Derek Alexander

FB: 44-Jacob Thurlow

G: 54-Brandon Bloch

C: 69-Dusty Cassens

T: 72-De’Mico Elyea

T: Matt Danielson


E: 69-Dusty Cassens

NG: 70-Swin Sinthavong

E: 63-Cory Franzwa

OLB: 7-Luke Stangler

OLB: 35-Derek Alexander

OLB: 36-Zack Overboe

ILB: 42-Dylan Erickson-Thoemke

ILB: 54-Brandon Bloch

CB: 25-Noel Teigen

CB: Kyle Rosenthal

FS: 32-Jeremy Koffi


P: 75-Nate Bergherr

K: 75-Nate Bergherr

Warriors schedule

Aug 31, Rocori, LOST 48-28

Sept 7, St. Cloud Tech, WON 42-28

Sept 14, at Willmar, WON 21-14

Sept 21, Bemidji, WON 40-23

Sept 28, at St. Cloud Apollo 7 p.m.

Oct 6, St. Michael-Albertville 2 p.m.

Oct 12, at Grand Rapids 7 p.m.

Oct 17, at Alexandria 7 p.m.

Central Lakes Conference

Conf All

Rocori 4-0 4-0

Fergus Falls 3-0 3-1

Sartell 2-0 4-0

Brainerd 2-1 3-1

St. Cloud Tech 2-1 3-1

Alexandria 1-3 1-3

Willmar 0-3 1-3

St. Cloud Apollo 0-3 0-4

Sauk Rapids 0-3 0-4

Sept. 21 Results

Rocori 22, Willmar 21

Tech 28, Sauk Rapids 6


Moorhead 40, Fergus Falls 20

Sartell 27, Grand Rapids 8

Brainerd 40, Bemidji 23

Sept. 22 Result

Alexandria 21, Apollo 7

Friday, Sept. 28

Brainerd at Apollo

Alexandria at Willmar

Fergus Falls at Sartell


Moorhead at Tech

Saturday, Sept. 29

Sauk Rapids at Rocori

Section 5-6A

Section All

Osseo 3-0 4-0

Brainerd 0-0 3-1

Maple Grove 1-1 3-1

Anoka 0-1 2-2

Champlin Park 1-0 2-2

Blaine 0-2 2-2

Centennial 1-1 1-3

Coon Rapids 0-1 0-4

Friday, Sept. 21

Bemidji at Brainerd

Osseo 42, Robbinsdale Armstrong 14

Anoka at Centennial

Blaine at Maple Grove

Champlin Park at Coon Rapids

Friday, Sept. 28

Osseo at Andover

Brainerd at Apollo

Maple Grove at Anoka

Coon Rapids at Blaine

Champlin Park at Centennial

Warriors statistics



Conor Gessell 57 372 6.5 5

Luke Boran 55 258 4.7 4

Logan Davis 64 226 3.5 2

Matt Ramerth 3 15 5.0 0

Thomas Stoxen 3 14 4.7 0

Ma. Severson 2 10 5.0 0

Matt Sucik 1 6 6.0 0

Team 3 -22 -7.3 0


Luke Boran 32 58 450 5

Thomas Stoxen 2 4 25 0


Cole Smith 12 155 12.9 1

Isaiah Smith 7 140 20.0 2

Conor Gessell 2 69 34.5 1

Grant Reuer 6 64 10.7 1

Logan Davis 5 47 9.4 0

Logan Jones 3 32 10.7 0


Conor Gessell 7 1 0 44

Luke Boran 4 0 0 24

Logan Davis 3 0 0 18

Lo. McElfresh 0 0 15 15

Isaiah Smith 2 0 0 12

Grant Reuer 2 0 0 12

Cole Smith 1 0 0 6

Fumble recoveries: Sam Kelash 1, Jake Donnay 1, Cole Smith 1, Slade Simpson 1

Interceptions: Reuer 4, Thomas Stoxen 1

Season tackle leaders: Cole Smith 60, Winston Fenske 50, T.J. Graumann 47, Simpson 47

Points per-game average: Brainerd 32.8, opposition 28.3

Yards per game average: Brainerd 352.0, opposition 329.5.

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
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