Football: Apollo coach hopes for better showing Friday

When the St. Cloud Apollo Eagles and Brainerd Warriors met in 2013, both teams were 3-0 and riding a wave of momentum. So Eagles coach Justin Skaalerud was hoping for a better showing than the 42-14 beating that was administered by the Warriors. ...

Brainerd’s Cole Spieker (8) follows the block of Quinn McElfresh during a previous game. (Kelly Humphrey, Brainerd Dispatch)
Brainerd’s Cole Spieker (8) follows the block of Quinn McElfresh during a previous game. (Kelly Humphrey, Brainerd Dispatch)

When the St. Cloud Apollo Eagles and Brainerd Warriors met in 2013, both teams were 3-0 and riding a wave of momentum.

So Eagles coach Justin Skaalerud was hoping for a better showing than the 42-14 beating that was administered by the Warriors.

"We were very disappointed with our performance in that game," he said. "We hope to have the best week of practice this week that we've had and perform better.

"At the varsity level, it's been a long time since we beat Brainerd (2003). I think it will be a very competitive game Friday night."



Warriors vs. Apollo

  • When: 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 19
  • Where: At St. Cloud
  • The series: Brainerd leads 35-7
  • Last meeting: Brainerd won 42-14 in 2013
  • Twitter: @bertsballpark
  • Radio: KLIZ-AM (1380)
  • Web stream: .


The teams enter Friday's CLC game with 2-1 records. Senior quarterback Ben Alvord, in his fourth year as a starter, guides the Eagles. He has completed 36 of 60 passes (60 percent) for 514 yards and seven TDs with two interceptions. He is the team's second-leading rusher with 124 yards on 40 attempts (3.1).

"Up to now, he will be every bit as good a quarterback as we've seen or better," Warriors coach Ron Stolski said. "He throws well, he can get out of the pocket, he's a big guy, he runs well."

Running back Evin Rassier complements Alvord's passing with 244 yards rushing in 52 carries (4.7) and a TD.

Ethan Novacinski leads the Eagles' receiving corps with 10 catches for 187 yards and three TDs, followed by Cole Johnson with 13 grabs for 133 yards and two scores and Rassier with four catches for 73 yards and a TD. Dillian Biersbach has added three catches, one for a score.

"They have a real good running back," Stolski said of Rassier. "He's quicker than a cat. He's very mindful of (Willmar's Michael) Heitzman. It's just a potent offense with big receivers."

In 2013, Apollo attained its first winning season in years. The Eagles finished the regular season 6-2, sharing the Central Lakes Conference South Division title with Willmar, before losing to Moorhead in the opening round of the Section 8-5A playoffs.


Skaalerud believes last season's success has been a factor in the Eagles winning two of their first three games this fall despite returning only about six players who played extensively at the varsity in 2013. The Eagles opened with a 19-14 win at Rocori, lost 42-20 at Moorhead in Week Two and rebounded last week to defeat Sauk Rapids 40-20.

"We played Rocori with about 16 guys that hadn't really seen varsity game experience. They got playing time that game, and we were fortunate to beat Rocori," Skaalerud said. "We learned a lot from a tough game at Moorhead. We bounced back last week and had a nice game offensively and defensively against Sauk Rapids."

Against Sauk Rapids, Alvord passed for four TDs and 302 yards. He also rushed for 71 yards and a score. Rassier scored on a run and a pass and Novacinski caught two TD passes.

In a 20-7 win at Alexandria, the Warriors unleashed running backs Paul Augustinack and Mitch Rahn on the Cardinals. Augustinack rushed for 111 yards and Rahn for 103 and two TDs. Quarterback Hanson Devine added 67 yards passing, including a 9-yard scoring toss to Augustinack.

Brainerd's defense limited the Cardinals to 227 yards and twice prevented Alexandria from scoring when it had penetrated the red zone in the fourth quarter. After the second stand at its 19, Brainerd went 81 yards in the final four minutes for an insurance TD.

"We were happy with last week's game, but it is last week's game," Stolski said. "We hope to build on that. We showed good poise by and large. One of our goals is to play hard through four quarters. We understand there are ebbs and flows to games and how you handle that is important to any success you might have."

MIKE BIALKA may be reached at or 855-5861. Follow on Twitter at .

Brainerd Warriors



QB: 16-Evan Brecht, 10-Hanson Devine, 2-Chris Pederson

RB: 40-Mitch Rahn, 15-Paul Augustinack, 21-Allen Jevning, 33-Zach Winger, 22-Cooper Tollefson, 20-Chris Veith, 25-Tim O'Reilly, 18-Colton Borg

TE: 90-Ted Nelson, 95-Josh Howieson

WR: 81-Quinn McElfresh, 8-Cole Spieker, 5-Steven Severson, 2-Chris Pederson, 85-Brady Kline, 84-Jordan Whitehead, 88-Devan Fiedler, 82-Riley Fabian

T: 73-Eric Uphoff, 63-Kyler Kennedy, 60-Michael Horton, 71-Ryan Powers

G: 60-Michael Horton, 61-Clayton Caird, 76-Zach Rude, 51-Seth Desrocher

C: 62-Jon Bostrom, 52-Sean Laughton, 63-Kyler Kennedy



DL: 90-Ted Nelson, 56-Matt Thompson, 95-Josh Howieson, 96-Nick Stettler, 58-Jared Winter, 57-Zach Stangl, 54-Dylan Crandall

OLB: 12-Cole Sellnow, 35-Cole DeRosier, 34-Arron Martin, 88-Devan Fiedler, 36-C.J. Wohl

ILB: 41-Taylor Streiff, 42-Anthony Cory, 55-Tristan Brecht, 53-Jordan Jarmuzak

CB: 7-Jaquon Cogshell, 14-Isaiah Stewart, 18-Colton Borg, 21-Allen Jevning, 24-Nick Peterson, 23-Cole Harmer

S: 32-Will Stolski, 2-Chris Pederson, 11-Adam Fischer, 27-Matt Hill


Punter: 2-Chris Pederson, 93-Devan Liebeg


PK-KO: 89-David Saxum, 4-Isaiah Stewart

Holder: 16-Evan Brecht

KO/punt return: 2-Chris Pederson, 21-Allan Jevning, 7-Jaquon Cogshell, 81-Quinn McElfresh, 8-Cole Spieker, 20-Chris Veith

Long snapper: 36-C.J. Wohl

St. Cloud Apollo Eagles


QB: 14-Ben Alvord

RB: 28-Evin Rassier


TE: 32-Jack Atkinson

WR: 25-Cole Johnson

WR: 18-Ethan Novackinski

WR: 82-Ben Giese

RT: 52-Austin Mehr

RG: 54-Sean Zyvoloski

C: 53-Josh Gohmann

LG: 69-Jakob Erickson-Thoemke

LT: 79-Jordan Smith


DE: 85-Nate Bergherr

NG: 70-Swin Sinthavong

DE: 35-Martin Hanson

OLB: 8-Eli Knutson

ILB: 34-Sean Zyvolski

ILB: 40-Hunter Blommer

OLB: 5-Justin Barg

FS: 10-Jackson Pelzer

SS: 21-Clayton Hoeper

CB: 18-Ethan Novackinski

CB: 6-John Quinlan


P: 75-Nate Bergherr

PK: 16-Connor Waldron

PR: 6-John Quinlan

PR: 10-Jackson Pelzer

KR: 6-John Quinlan

KR: 28-Evin Rassier

Warriors regular season

Aug 29, Fergus Falls - WON 30-6

Sept. 5, Willmar - Lost 39-20

Sept. 12, at Alexandria - WON 20-7

Sept. 19, at St. Cloud Apollo 7 p.m.

Sept. 27, St. Cloud Tech 2 p.m. (homecoming)

Oct. 3, at Bemidji 7 p.m.

Oct. 10, Moorhead 7 p.m.

Oct. 15, at Grand Rapids 7 p.m.

Central Lakes Conference

North Division

Div All

Bemidji 2-0 3-0

Moorhead 2-0 3-0

Brainerd 2-0 2-1

Alexandria 0-2 0-3

Fergus Falls 0-2 0-3

Grand Rapids 0-2 0-3

South Division

Sartell 2-0 3-0

St. Cloud Apollo 2-0 2-1

Rocori 1-1 2-1

Willmar 1-1 2-1

St. Cloud Tech 0-2 1-2

Sauk Rapids 0-2 0-3

Friday, Sept. 12 Results

Brainerd 20, Alexandria 7

Apollo 40, Sauk Rapids 20

Bemidji 40, Fergus Falls 8

Sartell 49, Willmar 14

Rocori 18, Tech 16

Friday, Sept. 19

Brainerd at Apollo

Sartell at Bemidji

Willmar at Grand Rapids

Fergus Falls at Sauk Rapids

Moorhead at Tech

Saturday, Sept. 20

Rocori at Alexandria

Section 7, Class 5A

Sect All

Cambridge-Isanti 1-0 3-0

Chisago Lakes 1-0 3-0

Bemidji 0-0 3-0

Brainerd 0-0 2-1

St. Francis 1-0 1-2

Duluth East 0-3 0-3

Friday, Sept. 12 Results

Brainerd 20, Alexandria 7

Bemidji 40, Fergus Falls 8

Cambridge 42, North Branch 21

Chisago Lakes 41, Duluth East 0

Rogers 45, St. Francis 40

Friday, Sept. 19

Brainerd at Apollo

Sartell at Bemidji

Cambridge at St. Francis

Chisago Lakes at Princeton

Duluth East at Rogers

Warriors statistics



Hanson Devine 13 25 164 1

Evan Brecht 13 31 139 0

Chris Pederson 2 2 32 1

Paul Augustinack 1 1 19 1


Mitch Rahn 53 238 4.5 7

Paul Augustinack 23 127 5.5 0

Evan Brecht 19 92 4.8 0

Allen Jevning 11 72 6.5 0

Zach Winger 6 24 4.0 0

Chris Veith 3 18 6.0 0

Colton Borg 1 10 10.0 0

Cooper Tollefson 2 -1 -0.5 0

Chris Pederson 8 -1 -0.1 0

Hanson Devine 5 -1 -0.2 0

Team 1 -4 x x


Q. McElfresh 9 155 17.2 0

Cole Spieker 11 140 12.7 1

Steven Severson 3 30 10.0 1

Chris Pederson 4 22 5.5 0

Paul Augustinack 2 14 7.0 1


Mitch Rahn 7 0 0 42

Cole Spieker 1 0 0 6

Steve Severson 1 0 0 6

David Saxum 0 0 6 6

Paul Augustinack 1 0 0 6

Allen Jevning 0 1 0 2

Defense-Safety 0 0 0 2

Points per-game average: Brainerd 23.3, opposition 17.3

Yards per game average: Brainerd 311.7, opposition 280.3


vs. Alexandria

Tackles: Streiff 19, Pederson 19, Cogshell 18, Sellnow 17, C.DeRosier 17, Stolski 15, Cory 15

Sacks: Sellnow .5, Cory .5, Streiff 1

Forced fumble: Nelson

Fumble recovery: Howieson

Pass break-ups: Streiff 1, Cogshell 2, Pederson 1, Stewart 1


Fumble recoveries: Howieson 2

Sacks: Sellnow 2.5, Nelson 2, Cory 2, Streiff 1, C. DeRosier .5

Interceptions: Howieson, Cogshell

Tackle leaders: Sellnow 50, Stolski 49, Cory 46, Streiff 41, C.DeRosier 38

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