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Football: A good time had by all at Warrior alumni game

PJ Smith (front) and Craig Holm from the class of 1979 plans out a play Friday during the Brainerd Warriors 7 on 7 Alumni Tournament on the new turf at Don Adamson Field. (Kelly Humphrey, Brainerd Dispatch)1 / 2
Tommy Smith (right) of the class of 1982 tosses the ball to a teammate before he can be tagged Friday during the Brainerd Warriors 7 on 7 Alumni Tournament on the new turf at Don Adamson Field. (Kelly Humphrey, Brainerd Dispatch)2 / 2

Some were a little gray. Others were a little thin, if not shiny, on top.

Some looked like they might still be able to score a touchdown. Others appeared to be a tad above their playing weight.

That was the scene for the Brainerd Warriors' 7-on-7 alumni tournament that was played Friday before the 2014 Warriors conducted their intrasquad scrimmage on the new artificial turf at Adamson Field.

Former long-time defensive coordinator Steve Nunnink was seated on the sideline. And, about 75 former Warriors returned to Brainerd to run around on the turf, toss the football downfield, run a few pass patterns and catch up with former teammates.

"It's doing what we wanted it to do," Warriors head coach Ron Stolski said of the event, a week before he starts his 39th season in Brainerd, his 53rd overall as a head coach. "I have been unabashed about saying I want the Warriors of the past to be the first football group on this field, and they are. They're having fun.

"We appreciate that they took the time to come. We've shared so much with so many. We haven't talked about a win yet. We've talked about life lessons - period."

Among the former standouts returning were Barry Sorensen and Chris Studer.

Sorensen, a 1980 graduate, was a versatile standout for the Warriors before going on to star at North Dakota State University. He tried out for the Kansas City Chiefs and played briefly in Canada.

"I think this is a beautiful addition to the community," Sorensen said. "It's very exciting to be part of this history and how the Warrior tradition is a strong one. Coach Stolski and the Brainerd community just has to be very proud about this new stadium."

Sorensen, 52, lives in the Twin Cities and works in commercial banking.

"I come back up to Brainerd when I can," he said. "It's always going to be home for me,"

Studer was one of the top linebackers ever to play for the Warriors, one of the leading tacklers in program history. He also was a standout catcher in baseball, later starring at South Dakota State University.

The 35-year-old Studer said the event "makes me feel old.

"But it's been a great time," he said. "The field looks amazing. It's an incredible facility. I'm proud to say that I went here ... and I'm out of breath.

"When I heard about (the tournament), I thought I have to come home for that. We've already played one game and it was a good time. I can really tell my age."

Studer, 35, is communications manager at East River Electric in Madison, S.D., where he does marketing and writing.

"It was great to see coach Nunnink down there, and the guys that have made such an impact on my life," Studer said. "Being able to rub shoulders with them again was pretty cool."