High School Football: Warriors' foe features new, familiar head coach
Jon Benson is back in the saddle.
Formerly the head coach at St. Cloud Apollo, Benson spent the last nine years as an assistant at St. Cloud Tech, the last five as the Tigers' defensive coordinator. During the offseason, Benson was hired as Tech's head man after longtime head coach Gregg Martig departed to join the staff of former Sauk Rapids head coach Bill Magnuson at Pequot Lakes.
Benson said after he left Apollo, for various reasons, he wasn't sure he wanted to be a head coach again.
"I loved coordinating the defense so much with Gregg that I never thought I would ever be happy doing this, but this is great," Benson said. "I started getting the itch maybe last year and I thought about applying for a few jobs in the area. But I ended up thinking I've got to be loyal to Tech. I love it here. My kids go to school here. I'm happy here. Leaving here I thought would be just a crime.
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Brainerd vs. Tech
- When: 7 p.m. Friday
- Where: Clemens Stadium at St. John's University
- Last meeting: Tech won 45-6 during the 2017 regular season
- The series: Tech leads 55-36
- Twitter: @bertsballpark
- Radio: KLIZ-AM (1380)
- Web stream: www.brainerdradio.net.
- Warrior stats are at www.mnfootballhub.com and www.minnesota-scores.net
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"So then Gregg gives us the news he's moving up to his cabin in Pequot Lakes and I thought, 'How can I not throw my hat in the ring and interview for it?' It's been quite a blessing. It's humbling to be part of a program that's playing its 101st season of football, which is pretty remarkable in and of itself."
Warriors head coach Ron Stolski, whose team plays Tech at St. John's University Friday, Sept. 7, is happy to see Benson back in the fold.
"I have a lot of respect for Jon," Stolski said. "He's a football guy. Earlier in the season Jon and I had a good conversation about rules and such. Jon has always been one after any game, you spend a little time with, because he likes the game."
Tech is coming off a season-opening 30-22 victory over Apollo. Quarterback Nate Trewick completed 21 of 27 passes for 286 yards and four TDs with one interception. Running back Kedrick Osuorah rushed for 86 yards and caught a scoring pass. Running back Troy Feddema caught 10 passes for 125 yards and ran for a score and Isaiah Green caught two TD passes.
Benson said the Tigers had a chance to go up by two scores at halftime but ran out of time at the Apollo 3.
"It was kind of a folly of errors," he said. "Our telecommunication system broke down, our Hudl Sideline broke down. We had a rain delay ... and the last two times we've had a rain delay we've gotten beat. Three years ago at Chisago Lakes we came back on the field, had a 13-point lead and ended up losing by a point. Five years later we lost to Apollo by a point after being up significantly.
"It was kind of a nightmarish situation, going on our historic reputation of not being able to stay fired up, coming out flat and getting beat."
This Tech team may not possess the glitz that last year's Tigers showcased in a 45-6 win at Brainerd. James Kaczor, now at North Dakota State, ran for a score and caught seven passes for 133 yards and three TDs. Devyn Spann-Ford, now at the University of Minnesota, had 50 yards receiving and a TD. Trewick finished with 265 yards passing and four scores.
"We were shocked the way it turned out last year," Benson said. "I can tell you that nobody from St. Cloud Tech ever expects things to swing so heavily in favor of one team in a Brainerd-Tech game."
In Brainerd's season opener last week at Buffalo, the Warriors gave a positive account of themselves despite a 38-28 loss to the high-octane Bison. Running back Joe Klang rambled for 141 yards and a score. Ben Staehling added 80 yards and a TD. Quarterback Sam Miller threw for 138 yards and two scores. Klang and Gervenak caught TD passes.
"I was pleased with the way we played," Stolski said. "We played very hard most of the time. We did not have a lot of errors. We had very few penalties (five for 30 yards). So even in a loss, we saw some good things out of kids who were getting their first varsity experience."
Kickoff coverage is one area Stolski hopes to shore up. The Warriors surrendered 145 yards on kickoffs, the majority of that supplied by Michael Tweten's 66-yard return in the fourth quarter and Damien Biegert's 42-yarder in the second.
"You always hope that your kids with experience will play well and I thought we did that," Stolski said. "The kids that were back off of last year's team performed pretty well.
"With that said, we had a few unforced errors and I think that's all clean-up work. There was nothing glaring ... other than one thing we were disappointed in was our kickoff coverage. That was a disappointment but again you have all new personnel so you evaluate that."
QB: 7-Sam Miller, 23-Owen Davis
RB: 25-Joe Klang, 22-Ben Staehling, 26-Davon Stuckey, 2-Braden Kramer, 5-Taylor Ludwig, 21-Bryson Bassett
WR: 8-Pat Gervenak, 35-Levi McDonald, 24-Gabe Smith, 10-Brett Besenfelder, 23-Owen Davis, 84-Renzen Caughey
T: 66-Jason Jennette, 60-Isaac Chappuis, 64-Cameron Olson, 75-Brady Seidl
G: 56-Nate Bessingpas, 64-Cam Olson, 57-Garret Gardiepy
C: 53-Brett Hague, 60-Isaac Chappius
T: 45-Morgan Gibson, 57-Garret Gardiepy, 66-Jason Jennette, 76-Blake Schibonski, 67-Logan Thede, 90-Mannie Uketegbe
NG: 78-Nick Moline, 95-Elias Lies, 93-Isaac Winter
OLB: 5-Taylor Ludwig, 2-Braden Kramer, 30-Tom Fickett, 28-Josh McLain, 46-Max Ferrie
ILB: 17-Jacob Dreitz, 40-Forrest Gibson, 28-Josh McLain, 55-Simon Nelson, 56-Nate Bessingpas
CB: 35-Levi McDonald, 15-Jack Olson, 44-Devlin Lamke, 31-John Barr, 47-Calvin Foss, 16-Joey Wiskow, 26-Davon Stuckey, 24-Gabe Smith
SS: 8-Pat Gervenak, 22-Ben Staehling, 41-Mark Boran, 27-Devin Emslander, 32-Caleb Nagel
FS: 20-Brady Anderson, 23-Owen Davis, 14-Zach Benes
P: 25-Joe Klang, 34-Nathaniel Staehling
K: 81-Zach Henke
LS: 15-Jack Olson H: 7-Sam Miller Returns: 8-Pat Gervenak, 20-Brady Anderson, 26-Davon Stuckey, 22-Ben Staehling, 23-Owen Davis, 25-Joe Klang
ST. CLOUD TECH TIGERS
QB: 13-Nate Trewick
TE: 25-Drew Kiffmeyer
WR: 19-Sam Oster
WR: 16-Chris Schmidt
HB: 24-Kedrick Osuoura
HB: 9-Troy Feddema
T: 50-Anthony Nelson
G: 79-Aaron Voigt
C: 53-Spencer Gustin
G: 77-John Quach
T: 59-Noah Hegland
T: 5-Isaiah Green
NG: 97-Peyton Christianson
T: 70-Major Campbell
LB: 22-Blake Magneson
LB: 65-Kyle Ambrosch
LB: 88-Logan Hanson
LB: 20-Elijah Neville
CB: 9-Troy Feddema
CB: 10-Devin Phillips
S: 2-Matt Schmitt
S: 2-Hunter Stulz
Aug 31, at Buffalo — Lost 38-28
Friday, Sept 7, St. Cloud Tech at St. John's University 7 p.m.
Friday, Sept 14, Alexandria 7 p.m.
Friday, Sept 21, Sauk Rapids-Rice 7 p.m.
Friday, Sept 28, at Bemidji 7 p.m.
Saturday, Oct 6, Becker 2 p.m. (homecoming)
Friday, Oct 12, Moorhead 7 p.m.
Wednesday, Oct 17, at Sartell 7 p.m. Section 8-5A Playoffs
Tuesday - Oct 23, quarterfinals
Saturday - Oct 27, semifinals
Friday - Nov 2, championship
NORTH CENTRAL RED SUBDISTRICT
Bemidji 1-0, Sauk Rapids 1-0, St. Cloud Tech 1-0, Moorhead 0-1, Brainerd 0-1, Alexandria 0-1, Sartell 0-1
Aug. 31 Results
Bemidji 31, Rogers 7
Sauk Rapids 38, St. Francis 35
Tech 30, Apollo 22
Buffalo 38, Brainerd 28
Elk River 40, Moorhead 20
Andover 26, Alexandria 7
Cambridge-Isanti 30, Sartell 0
Friday, Sept. 7, Games 7 p.m.
Brainerd vs. Tech at St. John's University
Big Lake at Bemidji
Moorhead at Sauk Rapids
Sartell at Alexandria
Bemidji 1-0, Alexandria 0-1, Brainerd 0-1, Moorhead 0-1, Sartell-St. Stephen 0-1