Football: Warriors can’t stop Hoskins in loss

Brainerd's Nathaniel Staehling runs past Alexandria defenders Friday, Oct. 23, at Don Adamson Field in Brainerd. Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch

Kristen Hoskins accumulated 264 all-purpose yards and five total touchdowns for the Alexandria Cardinals as they beat the Brainerd Warriors 49-14 in a North Central Red Subdistrict contest Friday, Oct. 23.

The first of Hoskins five touchdowns came on the Cardinals second play of the game when Carter Steffensmeier found him for a 45-yard touchdown.

After a Warriors’ punt, Hoskins again found the end zone on a 69-yard run to make it 14-0 in the first quarter.

“Kristen is a guy where you get him the ball in space and he’s going to make people miss,” Alexandria head coach Mike Empting said. “He’s going to make things happen and that’s what he did. He’s a dynamic player for sure.”

After a 1-yard touchdown by Will Heydt, the Cardinals led 21-0 late in the second quarter.


“We just didn’t make any mistakes early,” Empting said. “Our kids were just focused. I thought that in the first half we played solid. We had one breakdown right at the end of half. Otherwise, our kids just didn’t make mistakes.”

Warriors head coach Jason Freed didn’t like the way his team started.

“We need to learn how to start a football game,” he said. “That’s some inexperience and we just need some leaders to step up a little bit.”

Alex’s mistake came by a Heydt fumble in the red zone recovered by Brainerd.

The Warriors responded with a touchdown to end the half. Jacob Smith caught a 16-yard touchdown pass from Nathaniel Staehling with 59 seconds left in the first half to make it 21-7 headed into the locker room.

After Brainerd forced an Alex punt to start the second half, Brainerd scored on a 1-yard Staehling run to make it 21-14.


“We made some good adjustments at halftime,” Freed said. “I thought our kids came out in the second half and showed some real heart and passion for the game. We had the game to a one-score game.”

The big play on the Staehling touchdown drive was a wide receiver pass by Jed Klang to Brandt Patton for 38 yards that put the Warriors at the 1-yardline.

“We started slow on offense,” Freed said. “I was proud with how the offense came back in the second half. We are getting more consistent and playing a little more physical up front. Overall, pretty solid.”

Staehling led the team in rushing with 50 yards on 12 carries and a touchdown. He also completed 4-for-11 for 46 yards and a touchdown pass.

The Cardinals scored 28 unanswered points to end the game. Hoskins scored on a 60-yard completion from Steffensmeier 17 seconds after Brianerd made it a one-score game.

“The Hoskins kid is a premier player and he made some serious plays tonight,” Freed said. “But we need to execute better on offense, defense and special teams.”

Hoskins found the end zone a fourth time on a 57-yard run. Alex led 35-14 after the third quarter.

Hoskins’ last touchdown came on a 13-yard pass from Steffensmeier two minutes into the fourth quarter.


Steffensmeier finished the game 9-for-15 with 175 yards and three touchdown passes.

“I thought Carter played well,” Empting said. “He made some good decisions and hung in there and made some plays and some really tough throws.”

Alex running back James Schwartz tacked on the final score with a 2-yard run.

“We rebounded really well,” Empting said. “We had to make some adjustments at halftime because they had a nice drive on us at the end of the first half. The kids didn’t panic, got their focus back and played solid the rest of the way.”

Freed wants to eliminate the big plays heading into next week.

“Defensively, we got to get some things squared away,” Freed said. “You can’t play defense and give up big plays. That’s kind of been the story the last two weeks. We have been keeping things simple for the most part, so we will continue to work on the fundamentals. We will have to look at personal and look at how we are doing some things. We have to make an offense earn it.”


Alexandria 14 7 14 14 — 49
Brainerd 0 7 7 0 — 14

First quarter
Alex-Kristen Hoskins 45 pass from Carter Steffensmeier (Myles Sansted kick) 7-0 9:45
Alex-Hoskins 69 run (Sansted kick) 14-0 6:31
Second quarter
Alex-Will Heydt 1 run (Sansted kick) 21-0 7:32
Brd-Jacob Smith 16 pass from Nathaniel Staehling (Aiden Brown kick) 21-7 0:59
Third quarter
Brd-Staehling 1 run (Brown kick) 21-14 8:23
Alex-Hoskins 60 pass from Steffensmeier (Sansted kick) 28-14 8:06
Alex-Hoskins 57 run (Sansted kick) 35-14 5:22
Fourth quarter
Alex-Hoskins 13 pass from Steffensmeier (Sansted kick) 42-14 10:00
Alex-James Schwartz 2 run (Sansted kick) 49-14 5:20

Team statistics
Rushes-yards: Brd 33-128, Alex 41-274
Pass comp-att-int-yds: Brd 5-14-1-84, Alex 9-15-0-175
Total offense: Brd 47-212, Alex 56-449

Individual leaders
Rushing: Brd-Nathaniel Staehling 12-50, Caden Schoeppner 13-42, Isaiah Windorski 4-18, Brandt Patton 2-14, Gabe Wagner 2-4; Alex-Kristen Hoskins 3-128, Will Heydt 23-109, Bryr Bomelvig 2-32, James Schwartz 3-11, team 2-(-9)
Passing: Brd-Nathaniel Staehling 4-11-46, Jed Klang 1-1-38, Isaiah Windorski 0-2-0; Alex-Carter Steffensmeier 9-15-175
Receiving: Brd-Brandt Patton 1-38, Jacob Smith 2-29, Jed Klang 1-11, Matt Huesmann 1-6; Alex-Kristen Hoskins 5-136, Kelly Johnson 2-26, Aaron Stotesberry 2-13

Alexandria 49, Warriors 14


Key: Kristen Hoskins’ 264 all-purpose yards leads the Cardinals to a road victory over Brainerd.

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

Next: Brainerd hosts Bemidji 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 30.

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

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