SARTELL — Brainerd’s defense allowed just 123 yards to Sartell and forced three turnovers in the Warriors 35-6 North Central Red Subdistrict win Friday, Sept. 17, at Riverview Stadium in Sartell.
“Defensively, we just keep getting better,” Warriors head coach Jason Freed said. “We talked about letting the big plays just happen and come natural when you are in the right place at the right time and we saw that today.”
Brainerd went into the half with a 21-0 lead and scored twice in the third quarter to make it 35-0.
On a 3rd and 27, Jed Klang caught a screen pass from Marcello Getty for 44 yards for Brainerd’s first score of the third quarter.
On the ensuing kickoff, Sartell forgot to pick the ball up and Warriors recovered at the 13-yard line. It took Brainerd two plays to get its second touchdown in 13 seconds.
Nathaniel Staehling plunged in from the 1-yard line to make it 35-0.
Staehling led the Warriors in rushing with 32 yards on seven carries. Klang caught 5 passes for 77 yards and a touchdown.
“I was happy that we made the plays when we had to make the plays,” Freed said. “We got to clean up some stuff. Too many penalties tonight, but we tweaked some things tonight and I thought the kids came out in the second half and made a couple of adjustments.”
After Brainerd went 3-and-out on its first possession, Sartell got one first down until Warriors defensive back Ethan DeRosier intercepted a pass from Sabres quarterback Anthon Mahowald and returned for a 65-yard touchdown.
“I don’t know why he threw it to him. He wasn’t open,” DeRosier said of his pick. “It was good to have the lead blockers in front of me and the team did great. The defense locked up.”
The Warriors offense caught fire towards the end of the first half. With 6:29 left in the second quarter, Staehling scored on a 19-yard touchdown run.
Brainerd forced a fumble on the next Sartell possession to give them prime field position for another score.
Mitchell Degen caught a 10-yard touchdown pass from Marcello Getty to make it 21-0 at the half.
Getty finished with 144 passing yards on 13-of-18 completions and two touchdowns.
The Warriors outgained the Sabres 84-54 and forced three turnovers in the first half.
DeRosier had two first-half interceptions for Brainerd.
“To be a good defense you have to be opportunistic,” Freed said. “We are starting to find a little bit of our edge on the defensive side and that’s exciting.”
The Warriors will travel to Bemidji for the battle of Babe’s Bell next Friday, Sept. 24, at Chet Anderson Stadium on the campus of Bemidji State University.
“We just have to keep getting better,” Freed said. “It feels good to be here, we have had a tough road here in the first half of the season and it’s not going to get any easier in the second half.”
Brainerd 7 14 14 0 — 35
Sartell 0 0 0 6 — 6
Brd-Ethan DeRosier 65 interception return (Ryan Westerberg kick) 8:19
Brd-Nathaniel Staehling 19 run (Westerberg kick) 6:29
Brd-Mitchell Degen 10 pass from Marcello Getty (Westerberg kick) 1:46
Brd-Jed Klang 44 pass from Getty (Westerberg kick) 2:23
Brd-Nathaniel Staehling 1 run (Westerberg kick) 2:10
Sar-Dylan Simones 33 pass from Gavan Schulte (pass failed) 8:12
Rushes-yards: Brd 27-54, Sar 29-51
Pass comp-att-int-yds: Brd 13-18-0-144, Sar 5-15-2-72
Total offense: Brd 45-198, Sar 44-123
Rushing: Brd-Nathaniel Staehling 7-32, Damien Bentho 9-27, Eli Hoelz 3-19, Leif Cruse 2-11, Jesse Rodman 1-0, Marcello Getty 5-(-35); Sar-Dylan Simones 3-26, Parker Knunton 5-25, Donovan Lund 9-15,
Passing: Brd-Marcello Getty 13-18-144; Sar-Anthony Mahowald 3-8-22, Gavan Schulte 2-5-50
Receiving: Brd-Jed Klang 5-77, Matthew Huesmann 5-31, Ethan Windorski 1-14, Damien Bentho 1-12, Mitchell Degen 1-10; Sar-Dylan Simones 2-33, Eli Schlecht 1-21, Charlie Lindell 1-17, Gavin Schulte 1-1
Warriors 35, Sartell 6
Key: Brainerd’s defense plays tough to lead them to victory.
Subdistrict: Brd 1-1, Sar 0-1.
Overall: Brd 2-2, Sar 1-3.
Next: Brainerd at Bemidji 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 24.
CONRAD ENGSTROM may be reached at 218-855-5861 or email@example.com. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/the_rad34.