Football: Win gives Warriors share of conference title
GRAND RAPIDS - Credit the Moorhead Spuds with an assist. On Wednesday night, the Spuds handed previously unbeaten Bemidji its only loss in the final game of the regular season, 52-25 at Moorhead. Moorhead's victory, coupled with Bemidj's loss and...
GRAND RAPIDS - Credit the Moorhead Spuds with an assist.
On Wednesday night, the Spuds handed previously unbeaten Bemidji its only loss in the final game of the regular season, 52-25 at Moorhead. Moorhead's victory, coupled with Bemidj's loss and Brainerd's 52-7 trouncing of the Grand Rapids Thunderhawks on Wednesday night, gives the Warriors a share of their fifth straight Central Lakes Conference championship. Brainerd, Bemidji and Moorhead all finished 4-1 in conference play.
"You know what our deal is always, be better at the end. Maybe once in the last 10 years we haven't," Warriors coach Ron Stolski said. "We had a chance to play a lot of kids tonight. The kids played well, they played hard. It's a great way to be going into the playoffs."
Brainerd finishes the regular season 6-2 and has a chance to earn the No. 2 seed in the Section 7-5A playoffs depending upon the outcome of the St. Francis/Chisago Lakes game. If Chisago Lakes loses, the Warriors should lock up the No. 2 seed.
Warriors 52, Grand Rapids 7
- The key: Brainerd scored 52 unanswered points
- Conference: Brd 6-2, GR 0-8
- Overall: Brd 6-2, GR 0-8
- Next: Brainerd in Section 7-5A playoffs Tuesday or Oct. 25 TBA.
"It's definitely been a fun season," Warriors defensive back and captain Hayden Bukowski said. "We're not used to losing. It kind of happened but I think that's how we learn. We learn from losing. I think that's how we finish the season strong."
If the Warriors receive the No. 2 seed, they will earn a first-round bye and open the playoffs Oct. 25 at Adamson Field.
"It's always nice to finish on a win," Bukowski said. "We're going into the playoffs on a win. I think we have a lot of momentum going into the playoffs which is good. I think we're ready to go."
For the second game in a row, the Warriors were ready from the opening kickoff. They scored 21 first-quarter points, 45 in the opening half and the game's first 52. Brainerd scored on all six of its first-half possessions. Reserves began to play toward the end of the first quarter.
"I think we used the starters for one series the second half. That was it," Stolski said "We played a ton of kids."
The Warriors recovered three Thunderhawks fumbles, converting the turnovers into two touchdowns and a David Saxum field goal. Taylor Streiff, Chris Pederson and Ted Nelson recovered fumbles and Luke Wiskow intercepted a pass to end the game.
Brainerd outgained the Thunderhawks 351 to 185 in total yards.
Paul Augustinack opened the scoring with a 4-yard run, Streiff then recovered a fumble and quarterback Hanson Devine hit wide receiver Quinn McElfresh for a 24-yard TD. Pederson recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff and Devine then found Steve Severson for a 21-yard score. Devine finished the half completing 7 of 9 passes for 137 yards.
On its next possession, Brainerd scored on a 14-yard pass from quarterback Evan Brecht to wide receiver Cole Spieker.
Nelson's fumble recovery led to a 23-yard Saxum field goal.
The Warriors made it 45-0 at the half on Zach Winger's 3-yard TD run and Pederson's 45-yard interception return for a score.
Cooper Tollefson's 8-yard run in the third was Brainerd's final score.
Levi How scored the Thunderhawks' only TD on a 28-yard run early in the fourth.
Brainerd 21 24 7 0 - 52
Grand Rapids 0 0 0 7 - 7
Brd-Paul Augustinack 4 run (kick fails) 6:28
Brd-Quinn McElfresh 24 pass from Hanson Devine (Allen Jevning run) 5:19
Brd-Steve Severson 21 pass from Devine (David Saxum kick) 5:00
Brd-Cole Spieker 14 pass from Evan Brecht (Saxum kick) 11:39
Brd-Saxum 23 FG, 8:30
Brd-Zach Winger 3 run (Saxum kick) 3:11
Brd-Chris Pederson 45 interception return (Saxum kick) 1:53
Brd-Cooper Tollefson 8 run (Saxum kick) 10:22
GR-Levi How 28 run (Joe Palik kick) 11:08
Rushing yards: Brd 198, GR 103
Passing yards: Brd 117, GR 77
Total offense: Brd 315, GR 180
Rushing: Brd-Paul Augustinack 10-56, Allen Jevning 3-8, Evan Brecht 8-26, Zach Winger 7-15, Chris Pederson 1-3, Chris Veith 1-1, Tim O'Reilly 3-9, Cooper Tollefson 9-74, Will Peabody 2-6; GR-Levi How 4-41
Passing: Brd-Hanson Devine 6-8-103, Evan Brecht 1-3-14; GR-Jake Skelly 5-10-77
Receiving: Brd-Cole Spieker 3-54, Quinn McElfresh 3-67, Steve Severson 1-21, Cooper Tollefson 1-9; GR-Brock Schrom 3-70