Football: Gritty effort leads to 20-7 Warrior victory

ALEXANDRIA - Two critical defensive stands in the fourth quarter and a pair of 100-yard individual rushing efforts enabled the Brainerd Warriors to get back on the winning track Friday night.

ALEXANDRIA - Two critical defensive stands in the fourth quarter and a pair of 100-yard individual rushing efforts enabled the Brainerd Warriors to get back on the winning track Friday night.

The Warriors stymied Alexandria on consecutive possessions in the final 8.5 minutes to preserve a 20-7 Central Lakes Conference North Division victory over the spunky Cardinals. Paul Augustinack rushed for 111 yards and Mitch Rahn ran for 103 and Brainerd scored the game's last 13 points to pull away from a 7-7 stalemate.

"They were great defensive stands but there were too many stands," Warriors coach Ron Stolski said, "but hats off to the kids. They played very hard. Alexandria has a nice team. There's not a thing wrong with their football team but we played very hard.


Warriors 20, Alexandria 7


  • The key: Brainerd scored the last 13 points to snap a 7-7 tie
  • Conference: Brd 2-0, A 0-2
  • Overall: Brd 2-1, A 0-3
  • Next: Brainerd at St. Cloud Apollo 7 p.m. Friday.


"Hats off to the staff and the kids, coming back from a tough loss (39-20 to Willmar), and losing some players (to injury). It was a gutty, gutty performance."

Trailing 7-0 in the third quarter, Alexandria traveled 49 yards in six plays to tie it. Justin Cumberbatch ran two yards for the score and Jake Nienaber's kick knotted it 7-7.

The Warriors responded on their next series, going 55 yards in eight plays, for a 13-7 edge. Augustinack ripped off a 26-yard gain during the possession, which was capped by a 9-yard touchdown pass on fourth and five from quarterback Hanson Devine to Augustinack with 3:36 left in the third.

Alexandria put together a 16-play drive at the end of the third that carried over into the fourth and earned first and goal at the Warrior 4. But Brainerd stuffed the Cardinals, stopping running back Jacob Vukelich at the 1 with 8:24 remaining.

After Brainerd had to punt, the Cardinals made two first downs and advanced to the Warrior 19. But two incomplete passes and two running plays netted no yards and Brainerd got the ball back with 3:38 left.

"Honestly I don't even know how to explain it but we got in there and we finally got physical and made some big plays," Warriors defensive lineman Josh Howieson said of the stands, "and it came in a time of need."

Brainerd tucked the game away with a 9-play, 81-yard march. Augustinack bolted for 27 yards on the first play. Rahn gained 20 on another and scored from 17 yards out with 24 seconds remaining for the final tally.


Following a scoreless opening quarter, during which the Warriors had an Evan Brecht TD run nullified by penalty, Alexandria drove to the Brainerd 22. But Howieson recovered a fumble with 1:53 left in the half, setting up the game's first score.

"I have no idea who forced it but the ball just came to me," Howieson said. "It wasn't anything about me."

The recovery led to Rahn's 15-yard scoring run with 13 seconds left in the half. A 10-yard scamper by Rahn and consecutive clutch passes from Devine to Cole Spieker (8 yards) and Quinn McElfresh (36 yards) sustained the drive.

"Our offensive line is getting a little better," Stolski said. "We still had a few too many penalties (7 for 61 yards), but we have to be satisfied with this kind of game on the road."

Brainerd 0 7 6 7 - 20

Alexandria 0 0 7 0 - 7

Second quarter

Brd-Mitch Rahn 15 run (David Saxum kick) :13


Third quarter

Alx-Justin Cumberbatch 2 run (Jake Nienaber kick (6:10)

Brd-Paul Augustinack 9 pass from Hanson Devine (kick fails) 3:36

Fourth quarter

Brd-Rahn 17 run (Saxum kick) :24

Team statistics

Rushes-yards: Brd 45-225, Alx 47-151

Pass comp-att-int-yds: Brd 3-8-0-67, Alx 7-17-76


Total offense: Brd 292, Alx 227

Individual leaders

Rushing: Brd-Mitch Rahn 24-103, Evan Brecht 2-3, Paul Augustinack 16-111, Allen Jevning 2-9, Hanson Devine (1-1); Alx-Kris Setterstrom 1-1, Jaran Roste 18-68, Jake Vukelich 9-30, Blake Olhausen 16-51, Cumberbatch 3-1

Passing: Brd-Evan Brecht 0-3-0, Hanson Devine 3-5-67; A-Jaran Roste 7-16-76, Setterstrom 0-1-0

Receiving: Brd-Quinn McElfresh 1-36, Cole Spieker 1-22, Augustinack 1-9, ; A-Brayden Amundson 1-8, Travis Kruger 2-15, Setterstrom 2-22, Joe Gorghuber 1-19, Cumberbatch 1-12

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