Semipro Football: Lumberjacks take to the road
The Brainerd Lumberjacks are holding on to the No. 3 seed for the Midwest Premier Football League playoffs.
They’d like it to be the No. 2 seed and at home for the first round of the playoffs. For that to happen, Brainerd will first half to take care of business against the Northern Terror 3 p.m. Saturday at Chisago Lakes High School.
If that should happen and Brainerd can pull off an upset of current No. 1 seeded Minnesota Sting in the final regular season game (July 21), Brainerd could move up in the standings and host a first-round playoff game.
“If we win out it will likely be a three-way tie and then it will come down to who scores how many points against who,” said Brainerd head coach JJ Kern. “It will come down to a lot of stuff. The biggest thing is for me I don’t care. We just need to win. Home or on the road, we just need to win. If we come prepared and we have everyone it doesn’t matter if we’re home or away. The most important thing is we need our guys playing and prepared. It’s always nice to have a home game, though.”
First things first and that means tackling the Terror. Brainerd beat them 24-0 on June 9. The Lumberjacks (6-2) are on a three-game winning streak and have surpassed 30 points in their last two games.
“Hopefully we keep that going,” said Kern. “(Mark) Hummel has been throwing the ball well and giving our receivers a chance to make plays. Our offensive line is doing great things. It’s kind of everyone feeding off another. Hummel has been making quick decisions and that forces teams to stop blitzing us. Then we beat them on draw plays. Plus, when you have play makers like Ra Ra (Jones) you can’t single cover him. He’s going to beat you if you do. He has proven it consistently that he’s going to beat you for a touchdown.”
The Terror are tied with the Twin City Rhinos for the league’s worst record at 1-7. They were blanked by the Twin Cities Titans 35-0 last week. The Northern’s one win came against the Rhinos on May 19.
“They try to run the ball,” said Kern. “Their offense is not very good. Their defense is the strength of their team. They’re aggressive and bring pressure. As far as offense, they are primarily a running team. They struggle passing the ball and so they struggle putting up points. It could be an ugly game.”
An ugly game is what Kern is fearing right now. He already knows he’ll be short a few players because of other commitments and with next Saturday’s all-important regular season finale lingering, this could be a tougher game than it should be.
“It’s a road game and we do have some people that can’t make it. It’s been a long season and these late season road games are tough. I’m just concerned about the guys knowing that last game is so important. But if we don’t take care of business Saturday that last game won’t mean anything.”