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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.
After losing to Owatonna in the 2017 Class 5A state semifinals at U.S. Bank Stadium, the Brainerd Warriors said farewell to several standouts. Among them was running back Charlie Geraets, who rushed for 2,256 yards and 25 touchdowns his senior year. He finished his career as the leading rusher in school history with 4,046 yards and 46 TDs. Also graduating were leading receiver Max Boran and linebackers Luke Johnson and Max Zimmerman, the team's No. 1 and No. 3 tacklers, respectively.
Scoring for the Brainerd Warriors has been a collective effort so far this season and that trend continued Thursday, Aug. 30, as three different players tallied in a 6-0 victory over the Willmar Cardinals at Adamson Field in Brainerd. In the Central Lakes Conference opener for both teams, Brainerd's Gabbie Smith punched in two goals and added two assists. Gina Wasniewski also tallied twice and Emma Smith and the Warriors added an own goal in the final minute. "I think that's how we're going to have to be," Warriors coach Grant Gmeinder said. "It's not going to be one person this season like maybe we've had in the past. It's going to be a collective effort. It's fun to see a few different girls get on the scoreboard and create for each other."
An offensive juggernaut awaits the Brainerd Warriors when they open the football season at 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 31, at Buffalo against the high-octane Bison. Left-handed quarterback Aidan Bouman, who has verbally committed to Iowa State University entering his junior high school season, is the centerpiece of the Bison's offense. According to Minnesota Football Hub, during the 2017 regular season, Bouman completed 141 of 257 passes (54.9 percent) for 2,141 yards and 16 scores. He averaged 267.6 yards per game and was intercepted eight times.
Trent Grams realizes he's replacing a legend in Minnesota State High School League baseball and he's up for the challenge. The 42-year-old fourth-grade teacher at Garfield Elementary School in Brainerd was hired Monday, Aug. 27, as the Brainerd Warriors head baseball coach, replacing Lowell Scearcy who retired in June after 46 years in that role. Scearcy retired with the second-most wins in MSHSL baseball history. His career mark of 765-325 (.701) trails only Bob Karn of St. Cloud Cathedral, who is 782-306 (.719) coaching the Crusaders.
In the mid- to late 2000s, the Minnesota Twins wrote out lineups with several lead-off type hitters, players who weren't superstars, but did the little things necessary to win games. Those teams were nicknamed "piranhas" by an opposing manager. Brainerd Warrior head coach Dan Anderson sees his 2018 team has some of the same qualities. "We probably don't have anybody who really scares the opposing team," he said. "When you go into a dual meet with most teams there's usually that one swimmer you know you have no answer for. We don't really have that, but what we do have is a lot of really good swimmers.
For only the second time in program history, the Brainerd Warriors won a Section 8-2A playoff game in 2017, defeating fifth-seeded St. Michael-Albertville 2-0 in the quarterfinals. Warriors coach Tom Grausam hopes his squad builds off that accomplishment this fall and makes advancing in the playoffs an annual occurrence. Grausam hopes that victory has enabled his program to turn the corner and become a consistent winner. "Our team is such a group of great kids. They're a close-knit group," Grausam said. "When you have a close-knit group, the play is much better. They're having a lot more fun. They're mentally stronger. They all believe they can do it.
EAST GULL LAKE—Printed on the Dondelinger Brainerd Lakes Area Tour Showcase program were the words, "The Path to the PGA Tour Starts Here." If the Showcase, played at Cragun's Legacy Courses Wednesday, Aug. 22, is any indicator, a Web.com PGA Tour event will be played in the Brainerd lakes area in the not too distant future.
In Grant Gmeinder's four seasons as Brainerd's head coach, the Warriors compiled a stellar 53-13-2 overall record and won four Central Lakes Conference titles. In addition, last season the Warriors attained their first Section 8-2A quarterfinal playoff victory since 2009 when third-seeded Brainerd beat No. 6 Buffalo 3-1. Brainerd went on to the semifinals, where its season ended with a 5-1 loss to No. 2 St. Michael-Albertville. The playoff victory lifted a load off of the program's shoulders.
Pierz High School graduate Robert Bell is scheduled to be among the pros golfing in the first Dondelinger Brainerd Lakes Area Tour Showcase Wednesday, Aug. 22, at Cragun's Legacy Courses.