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High School Football: Buffalo holds off Warriors 38-28 in season opener

BUFFALO—Aidan Bouman and Treyton Welch were as dynamic as projected for the Buffalo Bison Friday, Aug. 31.

Bouman, who has given a verbal commitment to Iowa State even though he's a junior, threw for 272 yards and four touchdowns. Welch, who has offers from North Dakota State and Northern Iowa, caught 10 passes for 118 yards and two scores as the Bison rumbled to a 38-28 victory over the Brainerd Warriors in the season opener for both teams.

But the Warriors were nearly Buffalo's equal offensively. Running back Joe Klang rushed for 141 yards and a score and caught a TD pass. Quarterback Sam Miller passed for 138 yards and two TDs for Brainerd, which trailed by only 7 until the final minute.

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Buffalo 38, Warriors 28

  • The key: The Bison scored 21 first-quarter points and rolled up 436 yards in total offense.
  • Overall: Brd 0-1
  • Next: Brainerd vs. St. Cloud Tech at St. John's University 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 7.

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"Our kids played really hard, as did theirs," Warriors coach Ron Stolski said. "Bouman is as good a quarterback as we've seen in a very long time but I thought our coverage was pretty good most of the time.

"With that said, as far as our team was concerned, I thought we really battled well. We just missed on a couple things and maybe the game would have been closer, maybe we even would have won. Our running game was excellent—our running backs Klang and Ben Staehling.

"We'll be a better team and you know that. I am not disappointed in our effort, not at all."

Staehling added 80 yards on the ground and Brainerd finished with 396 total yards to the Bison's 436. Buffalo running back Riley Habisch added 105 yards rushing to Buffalo's total.

The Bison surged to a 21-7 first-quarter lead and led 21-14 at the half. Brainerd was outscored just 17-14 in the second half.

"I think our first half was kind of rough," Klang said, "but obviously it's our first game. We're just trying to click as a team. As the game went on, in the second half, it was our half. I think if we can come out stronger and get a few extra weeks in with the boys we'll be good to go.

"Our offensive line did a really good job. They don't have much size so they've got to have a lot of power. They've got to stay low on those guys because those defensive linemen are a lot bigger than us. As long as they can sustain blocks for just enough seconds to get the ball off, it's good."

After Staehling darted 37 yards around the left end to open the scoring four minutes into the contest, the Bison rattled off scores on their first three possessions.

On the fourth play of their first drive, Bouman tossed to Welch, who threw a 50-yard score to Damien Biegert. On their second series, Bouman threw a 37-yard TD to Biegert. On their third possession, Bouman and Tony Dahl hooked up for a 15-yard TD and it was 21-7 Buffalo with 1:11 left in the first quarter.

In the second quarter, Miller fired a 21-yard TD pass to Pat Gervenak and Brainerd was within 21-14 at the half.

Buffalo bolted in front 28-14 in the first four minutes of the second half on Bouman's 24-yard TD pass to Welch.

Warriors' linebacker Jacob Dreitz recovered a fumble on the next Buffalo series but the Warriors were unable to convert it into points.

Klang charged 31 yards for a score on the second-to-last play of the third. He appeared to be stonewalled but glanced off several tacklers and took it to the house. Brainerd then trailed just 28-21.

Bouman and Welch teamed up for a 9-yard scoring toss on the first possession of the fourth and the Bison led by 14 with 6:46 remaining.

But the Warriors weren't done. Klang caught a 24-yard TD pass from Miller with 4:11 left and Brainerd trailed by 7.

Parker Vadja's 26-yard field goal with 47 seconds to play sealed the deal for Buffalo.

"There's no disappointment here," Klang said. "It's the first game. We've got new guys coming in. We've got to fill spots from last year. We've got a target on our back. We went to the state tournament last year so we just have to keep on going forward."

Brainerd 7 7 7 7—28

Buffalo 21 0 7 10—38

First quarter

Brd: Ben Staehling 37 run (Zach Henke kick) 8:00

Buf: Damien Biegert 50 pass from Treyton Welch (Parker Vadja kick) 6:38

Buf: Biegert 37 pass from Bouman (Vadja kick) 4:46

Buf: Tony Dahl 15 pass from Bouman (Vadja kick) 1:11

Second quarter

Brd-Pat Gervenak 21 pass from Sam Miller (Henke kick) 8:57

Third quarter

Buf-Welch 21 pass from Bouman (Vadja kick) 8:46

Brd: Klang 31 run (Henke kick) 0:16

Fourth quarter

Buf: Welch 9 pass from Bouman (Vajka kick) 6:46

Brd: Klang 25 pass from Miller (Henke kick) 4:11

Buf: Vadja 26 FG 0:47

Team statistics

Rushing yards: Brd 258, Buf 114

Passing yds: Brd 138, Buf 322

Total offense: Brd 396, Buf 436

Individual leaders

Rushing: Brd-Sam Miller 15-31, Joe Klang 18-141, Devon Stuckey 2-6, Ben Staehling 14-80; Buf-Riley Habisch 25-105

Passing: Brd-Miller 10-18-138, Klang 0-1-0; Buf-Aidan Bouman 24-39-272, Welch 1-3-50

Receiving: Brd-Pat Gervenak 4-66, Levi McDonald 2-32, Gabe Smith 2-10, Brett Besenfelder 1-6, Klang 1-24; Buf-Welch 10-118, Jack Munsterteiger 4-37, Tony Dahl 4-44, Habisch 5-36, Damien Biegert 2-87

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