High School Football: Babe’s Bell at stake in Bemidji

Brainerd at Bemidji Football preview

Brainerd's Jed Klang runs with the ball against Coon Rapids Friday, Aug. 27, 2021, at Brainerd. Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch

Halfway through the season, Brainerd Warriors head coach Jason Freed likes the way his team is playing coming off a win against Sartell last week.

“I think we are in a good spot right now,” Freed said. “We seem to be trending in the right direction. Obviously, after Week Four you identify where your mistakes are and where your weak points are and those are things that you address heading into the second half of the season.”

It’s rivalry week for the Warriors (2-2) this week as they will travel to Bemidji Friday, Sept. 24, for the battle of Babe’s Bell — a trophy that has stayed with the Lumberjacks the last three seasons.

“Ever since I’ve been here we’ve had a lot of great games with them,” Freed said. “I think it’s a fun rivalry and is a fun game. It’s a very competitive game and I think both sides are going to bring their best and deep down I know it’s a game that our kids want to get and it’s a game that sometimes has a little extra meaning.”

The Lumberjacks (0-2) will be back in action for Week Four after not playing their Week Three matchup against Moorhead due to COVID-19 issues.


“It was unfortunate and you feel bad for the kids that you have to cancel a game,” Bemidji head coach Bryan Stoffel said. “Being able to work through those emotions and be able to handle it as well as they did is a testament to them. And we are excited to move forward to play a game this week against Brainerd.”

RELATED: High School Football: Warriors defense gets them 35-6 win Brainerd at Sartell Friday, Sept. 17
Stoffel knows the Brainerd-Bemidji rivalry well and despite the Lumberjacks being on top the last three meetings he knows Brainerd poses a challenge.

“I think it’s one of the best, if not the best, rivalry in the state,” Stoffel said. “I’ve been a part of it since 2009 and there was a stretch there where the game came down to the final drive. That’s what made it such a great rivalry. You never know who’s going to come out on top. You have four quarters of kids laying it out on the line for their team and their school. Not all high schools have a rivalry like this. We know that this is going to be a four-quarter battle.”

Stoffel likes how his triple-option offense is progressing this year.

“We are a good football team when we don’t make mental mistakes,” Stoffel said. “That’s what we have been battling the first two weeks. When we haven’t done those things we have executed well on offense and defense.”

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The Warriors are focused on defensive discipline preparing for Bemidji’s triple-option.

“I think option football is all about assignments,” Freed said. “You have to really understand that you have a job and that job is something specific to stopping that option and you can’t be doing other people’s job. It’s a lot about reading people’s reads and being disciplined in what you are assigned to do.”

Last week, Freed mentioned the running game as a big key headed into the matchup against Sartell. The offense started slow for Brainerd in the first half, but picked up more as the game went on as the Warriors scored twice on the ground in the win over the Sabres.


“I think it’s going to be important that we get off to a fast start,” Freed said. “I think it’s for all three phases of the game. When you go on the road like this, we fully expect we are going to see Bemidji’s best game of the year and we need to be prepared for that and get off to a good start.”

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Brainerd Warriors (2-2)
QB: 7-Marcello Getty, 15-Eli Hoelz
RB: 22-Nathaniel Staehling, 20-Damen Bentho, 28-Jesse Rodman
WR: 2-Jed Klang, 8-Matt Huesmann, 11-Ethan Windorski, 14-Reece Isle, 16-Sam Spieker, 15-Eli Hoelz
TE: 84-Mitchell Degen, 86-Caleb Lange, 80-Henry Hopkins
OL: 60-Dominik Waytashek, 57-Carter Springer, 66-Caden Jager, 67-Jacob Borgstrom, 73-Dalton Barrett, 76-Elijah Hanson, 51-Josh Albright, 68-Mason Callstrom, 71-Kolbie Bernu
DL: 53-Grant Gardiepy, 54-Riley DeRosier, 95-Max Barber, 89-Jack Schafer, 5-Eli Wiskow, 56-Mitchell Wind, 50-Rhyen Buckmaster
LB: 17-Jacob Holm, 25-Cam Langerman, 52-Brady Toensing, 60-Dylan Wgeishofski, 42-Dylan Gross, 21-Conner Erickson
DB: 31-Ethan Derosier, 22-Nathaniel Staehling, 23-Dillon MacLaughlin, 82-Ethan Olson, 30-Kouper Seidel, 27-Dawon Piepho, 35-Brandon Stark, 26-Gaven Schwen, 43-Izayah Schultz, 38-Aiden Sills, 36-Daric Caughey, 31-Nathan Herkenhoff
Special Teams
K: 18-Ryan Westerberg, 88-Andrew Albright
P: 16-Nathaniel Staehling, 2-Jed Klang
Long Snapper: 84-Mitchell Degen, 8-Matt Huesmann
Holder: 22-Nathaniel Staehling

Bemidji Lumberjacks (0-2)
QB: 10-Jack Larson
RB: 1-Gemini Ellis, 2-Ethan Biehn 20-Cooper Malkowski, 18-Jack McCrady
WR/TE: 6-Jacob Kelly, 11-John Clay-Ven, 28-Carson Binkley, 81-Aiden Neadeau, 88-Gavin Luksik
OL: 79-Jared Frenzel, 65-Dylan Sweeney, 56-Cody Lyle, 57-Dylan Headbird, 54-Isaac Frenzel, 58-Caide Staker
DL: 7-Nate Schwinghammer, 69-Jack Twelevetrees, 88-Gavin Luksik
LB: 52-Barrick Nelson, 48-Dakota Canty, 3-Eli Klinke, 22-Setha Newby
DB: 25-Thad Osborn, 2-Ethan Biehn, 4-Logan Willard, 24-Caden Bolte

Warriors Schedule
Regular Season
Aug. 27, hosts Coon Rapids — won 21-6
Sept. 2, at Andover 7 p.m. — lost 49-14
Sept. 10, hosts Moorhead 7 p.m. — lost 28-18
Sept. 17, at Sartell 7 p.m. — won 35-6
Sept. 24, at Bemidji 7 p.m.
Oct. 1, hosts Alexandria 7 p.m.
Oct. 8, hosts Rogers 7 p.m.
Oct. 20, at Buffalo 7 p.m.
Class 6A Playoffs
Oct. 29: Round One of Class 6A Playoffs
Nov. 5: Round Two of Class 6A Playoffs
Nov. 11-13: Class 6A Quarterfinals
Nov. 18-20: Class 6A Semifinals
Nov. 26-27: Class 6A Finals


North Central Red Subdistrict
Subdistrict Records
Moorhead 1-1 (1-0), Alexandria 1-2 (1-0), Brainerd 2-2 (1-1), Bemidji 0-2 (0-1), Sartell 1-3 (0-1)
Week Four games
Brainerd at Bemidji
Moorhead at Alexandria
Sartell at Willmar
Week Three results
Brainerd 35, Sartell 6
Sauk Rapids 27, Alexandria 13
Bemidji at Moorhead — canceled

Team Stats
Rushing: 126-423
Passing: 41-80-595
Total Offense: 206-1,018
Rushing: 134-422
Passing: 39-86-519
Total Offense: 220-941

Brainerd at Bemidji

When: 7 p.m.

Where: at Chet Anderson Stadium on the campus of Bemidji State University

Last result: Bemidji won 35-13 in 2020

The series: Brainerd leads 39-35.

Twitter: @the_rad34

Radio: KLIZ-AM (1380)

Web Stream:

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