Football: Elks run over Warriors for win

Ben Staehling

ELK RIVER -- Without throwing a pass Elk River defeated the Brainerd Warriors 57-0 with 563 rushing yards Thursday, Aug. 29.

The misdirect used by Elk River’s offense confused the Warriors’ defense multiple times and turned into big touchdown runs for Elk River.

A 40-yard touchdown run by Joe Nordstrom put the Elks up 6-0 in the first quarter. Brainerd responded with a good drive highlighted by sophomore quarterback Nate Staehling completing a 34-yard pass to senior wideout Owen Davis to get the Warriors in the red zone.

A holding penalty set Brainerd back and it ended up turning the ball over on downs.

Elk River then scored on a 5-yard quarterback keeper by Beau Ruby as time expired on the first quarter.


From the second quarter on Brainerd struggled putting together an offensive drive against Elk River’s defense. A 53-yard run on Zach Stroh’s quarterback keeper made the score 20-0 Elks in the second quarter.

A 40-yard run by Rahim Avery set up a Carter Otto 3-yard touchdown run to put Elk River up 28-0 at halftime.

Elk River’s winged T offense was something Brainerd struggled with all night.

“We thought we knew where to be,” Brainerd coach Ron Stolski said. “But obviously we didn’t.”

Elk River did more of the same in the second half as its first play from scrimmage was a 75-yard touchdown run by Nordstrom -- his second of the game. Followed by an 83-yard touchdown run from Dylan Bell and a 65-yard touchdown run by Avery, it was 50-0 Elk river going into the fourth quarter. Albis Alexander added one last blow with a 3-yard touchdown run after a Brainerd fumble to reach the final score of 57-0.

Elk River coach Steve Hamliton was pleased with the way his team played Week One.

“First game is tough because you don’t really know what you have,” Hamilton said. “We have a lot of guys who haven’t played a ton so to come out against Brainerd and win like that is really good for us.”

Stolski said it’s a good learning experience for his young team.


“We said we had to be disciplined on defense and I thought for two and three plays we did pretty well,” Stolski said. “It was a young game and we made too many mistakes early. I thought on offense we shot ourselves in the foot more than anything else. Then they got in a little rhythm.”

Brainerd’s senior running back Ben Staehling rushed for 79 yards on 13 carries. Senior running back Davon Stuckey carried the ball seven times for 31 yards. In his first start, quarterback Nate Staehling went 3-of-8 for 42 yards. Owen Davis caught two passes for 43 receiving yards.

“We are looking forward to playing the rest of our schedule,” Stolski said. “There were a lot of bright spots. (Ben) Staehling ran really well. Stuckey did and I thought we had some defensive players play pretty well, too. I just think it was a matter of discipline and inexperience with our entire offensive and defensive line playing in their first varsity game.”

Brainerd 0 0 0 0 -- 0

Elk River 14 14 22 7 -- 57

First quarter


ER-Joe Nordstrom 40 run (2pt no good) 6:56

ER- Beau Rudy 5 run (Nordstrom run) 0:00

Second quarter

ER-Zach Stroh 53 run (2pt no good) 7:30

ER-Carter Otto 3 run (Carter Otto run) 2:00

Third quarter

ER-Joe Nordstrom 75 run (Nordstrom run) 11:44

ER-Dylan Bell 83 run (Rylen Keoraj kick) 6:30

ER-Rahim Avery 65 run (Keoraj kick) 1:41

Fourth quarter

ER-Albis Alexander 3 run (Keoraj kick)

Team statistics

Rushes-yards: Brd 38-200, ER 55-563

Pass comp-att-int-yds: Brd 4-9-0-56, ER 0-0-0-0

Total offense: Brd 47-256, ER 55-563

Individual leaders

Rushing: Brd-Ben Staelhing 13-79, Nate Staelhin 8-46, Brandt Patton 3-32, Davon Stuckey 7-31, Caden Schoeppner 2-4 Isaiah Windorski 2-3; ER-Rahim Avery 10-147, Joe Nordstrom 8-144, Dylan Bell 2-83, Carter Otto 8-74, Beau Rudy 1-53, Zach Stroh 2-26, Albis Almanzer 4-14.

Passing: Brd-Nate Staehling 3-8-42, Isaiah Windorski 1-2-14 ER-0-0

Receiving: Brd- Owen Davis 2-43, Brandt Patton 1-14, Ben Staehling 1--1; ER-0-0


Elk River 57, Warriors 0

Key: Elk River rushed for 563 yards

Overall: Brd 0-1, ER 1-0

Next: Brainerd at Bemidji 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 6

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