Football: Bemidji takes Babe’s Bell again

Brainerd's Brandt Patton runs with the ball against Bemidji Friday, Oct. 30, at Don Adamson Field in Brainerd. Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch

Babe’s Bell stays in Bemidji for a third straight year.

Behind quarterback Brett Tharaldson, the Bemidji Lumberjacks cruised to a 38-13 victory over the Brainerd Warriors Friday, Oct. 30, at Adamson Field.

Tharaldson threw for 133 yards on 9-for-16 and three touchdowns. He threw for 121 yards and three touchdowns in the first half where Bemidji mounted a 31-0 halftime advantage.

“The kids did an excellent job of executing the game plan,” Bemidji head coach Bryan Stoffel said. “I thought our quarterback played outstanding today. He made some big-time throws. A couple with some big pressure from the defense. We go by him and he did a fantastic job tonight.

“He’s a senior and he played like a senior. He played with a lot of confidence tonight and he led. I was extremely pleased with the way he led the team.”


Bemidji’s Colton Hinrichs ran in the first touchdown from 27 yards on a reserve with 7:27 remaining in the first quarter. The Lumberjacks ended the first quarter with a 19-yard touchdown pass from Tharaldson to Matt Arel on a fourth and 15 to give them a 14-0 lead.

After a Grant DeClusin 32-yard field goal, Tharaldson found Gavin Luksik on a fourth and four jump pass for a 14-yard touchdown.

With 21 seconds until halftime, Tharaldson and Luksik connected again from 6 yards out making it 31-0.

The Warriors picked it up in the second half forcing three turnovers.

“We just talked about how we need to get better,” Warriors head coach Jason Freed said. “Anytime you play a section opponent you are going to play tough teams. Bemidji is a great football team and we talked about leadership. I’m proud of how the kids came out in the second half. We have to fix things.”

Freed can’t really pinpoint an answer to getting his team off to better starts.

“We keep challenging the kids with leadership,” he said. “We got to come out and make some plays early. It’s something that we as a staff will have to sit down and try to figure out how to do that.”

Brainerd’s offense gained just 161 total yards and turned it over four times -- all interceptions.


“That defense continues week after week to set a high standard of play and they continued to put us in good positions and get us turnovers,” Stoffel said.

After a scoreless third quarter, Nathaniel Staehling found Jed Klang on a fourth and eight from 28 yards to put Brainerd on the board.

Bemidji’s WIll Falldorf led the Lumberjacks in rushing with 137 yards on 19 carries. His longest run came in the fourth quarter when he scored a 28-yard touchdown.

Brianerd held Bemidji to just seven second-half points.

“I was happy with how the defense responded tonight,” Freed said, “forcing some turnovers and getting the ball back for our offense. Defensively, it’s getting better at reading our reads and staying defensively sound. Tonight, we played more consistently.

Staehling led the Warriors in rushing with 50 yards and also threw for 59 yards and two touchdowns.

With four seconds left, Staehling found Klang from 16 yards out to make it a 38-13 final.

Klang finished the game with 51 yards receiving and two touchdowns.


“We’ve got to make things in practice more game-like” Freed said. “We have to put our quarterback, running backs and especially our offensive line in game-like, game-tempo situations in practice.”

Brainerd has a short week coming up as they travel to reigning Section 8-5A champion Moorhead Spuds.

“We are not going to get crazy about adding all kinds of things,” Freed said. “For us, it’s focusing in on what we are doing and getting better at what we need to do.”

Bemidji 14 17 0 7 — 38
Brainerd 0 0 0 13 — 13

First quarter
Bem-Colton Hinrichs 27 run (Grant DeClusin kick) 7:27
Bem-Matt Arel 19 pass from Brett Tharaldson (DeClusin kick) 0:39
Second quarter
Bem-DeClusin 32-yard field goal 8:07
Bem-Gavin Luksik 14 pass from Tharaldson (DeClusin kick) 3:01
Bem-Luksik 6 pass from Tharaldson (DeClusin kick) 0:21
Fourth quarter
Brd-Jed Klang 28 pass from Nathaniel Staehling (kick failed) 8:37
Bem-Will Falldorf 28 run (DeClusin kick) 4:57
Brd-Klang 16 pass from Staehling (Aiden Brown kick) 0:04


Team statistics
Rushes-yards: Brd 32-102, Bem 46-263
Pass comp-att-int-yds: Brd 10-25-4-59, Bem 9-16-1-133
Total offense: Brd 57-161, Bem 62-396

Individual leaders
Rushing: Brd-Nathaniel Staehling 11-50, Caden Schoeppner 11-22, Gabe Wagner 4-16, Isaiah Windorski 4-12, Brandt Patton 2-2; Bem-Will Falldorf 19-137, James Williams 5-80, Gemini Ellis 7-25, Colton Hinrichs 2-25, Brett Tharaldson 7-18, Carson Binkley 2-5, Noah Leffelman 3-(-2), team 1-(-25)
Passing: Brd-Nathaniel Staehling 10-25-4-59; Bem-Brett Tharaldson 9-16-1-133
Receiving: Brd-Jed Klang 4-51, Ethan Windorski 1-6, Andrew Albright 1-4, Caden Schoeppner 2-1, Brandt Patton 1-1, Matt Huesmann 1-(-4); Bem-Matt Arel 3-69, Jacob Kelly 1-21, Gavin Luksik 2-20, James Williams 1-12, Will Falldorf 2-11

Bemidji 38, Warriors 13

Key: The Lumberjacks passing game in the first half spotted them a 31-0 halftime lead.

Overall: Brd 2-1, Bem 2-2.

Next: Brainerd at Moorhead 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 5.


CONRAD ENGSTROM may be reached at 218-855-5861 or Follow on Twitter at

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