High School Football: Brainerd heads on the road to face Andover

The Brainerd Warriors travel to Andover for their second football game of the season.

Brainerd Warrior running back Damen Bentho carries the ball Friday, Aug. 27, 2021, against Coon Rapids at Adamson Field. Brainerd Dispatch / Kelly Humphrey

Coming off a Week Zero win, Brainerd will look to make it two in a row Thursday, Sept. 2, on the road against Andover in Week One.

After watching the film of the 21-6 win over Coon Rapids, Warriors head coach Jason Freed thinks the mistakes can be easily fixed.

“A lot of the mistakes we made were a fundamental thing or a mental mistake,” Freed said. “Sometimes the film is better than you thought the game went and sometimes it shows other things. Overall, I think the film is pretty true to how we played on Friday. We saw opportunities on offense that we didn’t take advantage of and on defense a lot of the things we saw were true.”

A challenge for Freed and his staff is keeping his team fresh on a short week and playing against a team that is opening its season.

“We’ve talked a lot about that early in the week here,” Freed said. “It’s really important in a short week like this to be smart and diligent about what we practice. We talk a lot about the mental part of things and watching film and getting them prepared in that sense. It’s a little bit rushed. Usually, you don’t have a short week like this at the beginning of the year and it poses its own challenges, but we will make sure our kids are physically ready to go.”


GAME ONE: High School Football: Warriors get the win in home opener
The Andover Huskies are coming off a 2020 season that saw them finish 7-0 and with a Section 7-5A title in the COVID-19 shortened season.

“You want to build off the success you did have last year, but you also need kids to understand that last year was last year and this year is this year,” Huskies head coach Tom Develice said. “I think that our kids like it when we do have success and it can drive some of our offseason dedication, but there’s always that fine line that it is a new year.”

Develice watched Brainerd’s Week Zero win over Coon Rapids and is excited to play them.

"He definitely showed some nerves in the first quarter, but he started to settle down and I think what we saw on film is he has the potential to make plays."

— Jason Freed

“Just trying to get kids’ nerves down,” he said. “We had the opportunity to watch the game last week, so we feel one of the big advantages Brainerd has is those first game jitters Brainerd has gotten out of their system. We just want to get settled in as quickly as we can and see where things are at.”

Andover has many returning pieces from last year’s team, including quarterback Connor Develice who started six games for the Huskies and threw for 1,330 yards and 16 touchdowns in 2020.

“They are a very dynamic team,” Freed said. “They bring back a quarterback who is very efficient. They are going to attack the whole field, so it will force us to have to be disciplined on the inside. We are going to have to play assignment football. Formation wise they run some stuff similar to Coon Rapids, so that’s one of the benefits of it being a short week.”

COON RAPIDS: High School Football: Brainerd opens season at home against Coon Rapids
Receiver Sam Musungu is another returner who led Andover in receiving touchdowns last year with five. He caught 17 passes for 239 yards.


Andover’s leading rusher Caden Wheeler also returns. He rushed for 289 yards on 68 carries and four touchdowns in 2020.

“The way our offense is built I think we are really good at taking what the defense gives us,” Tom Develice said. “Last year, what the defense gave us was the opportunity to throw the ball more. We would love to run the ball more efficiently and effectively, but if that’s not there we will turn to air. We feel we have to run the ball in order to have the success we want this year.”

Freed liked what he saw of his first-year quarterback Marcello Getty in his first start against Coon Rapids. Getty threw for 98 yards and two touchdowns with only one interception in the home opener.

Marcello Getty

“He definitely showed some nerves in the first quarter, but he started to settle down and I think what we saw on film is he has the potential to make plays,” Freed said. “He looks downfield when he scrambles and for a young quarterback that can be tough. He has a knack for eluding pressure which is a good skill to have.”

As with any Brainerd offense, they will continue to look to establish the run. Nathaniel Staehling and Damen Bentho combined for 160 yards last week

“They’ve been known to be a pressure, very quick defense,” Freed said. “They move and bring a lot of pressure and they don’t stay on blocks for very long. We are going to have to take advantage of block sustaining and slow down their pressure if we can. For as good as their offense looks, hopefully, our offense can have sustained drives and control time of possession.”


A strong running game could be the key as Andover isn’t used to playing teams with strong ground games.

“I think we have to honor that,” Tom Develice said. “We have to be willing to say that we are going to stop the run, but be disciplined with our safeties and defensive backs when it is a pass.”

Turnovers played a role in the Warriors’ win last week as they forced four Coon Rapids turnovers. That’s a trend Freed hopes continues against Andover.

“Turnovers come from being at the right place and the right time,” Freed said. “And we talk a lot about having the opportunity to force those things. It’s something we constantly preach that if we can get ourselves in those right places we can force some fumbles and get some interceptions.”

WARRIORS: Football: Warriors ready for move to Class 6A football
It’s the first meeting between the two programs, but Tom Develice was on Blaine’s coaching staff when Blaine played Brainerd in the 6A playoffs in 2012.

“It’s nice that we get to play other opponents that you otherwise would not,” Tom Develice said. “Luckily, I've seen Brainerd before when I was at Blaine. So I’ve been able to preach to them that Brainerd has great tradition, great history and has kids that work really hard. It’s a team that is out of the metro area and sometimes those teams are built differently.”

Brainerd Warriors (1-0)
QB: 7-Marcello Getty, 15-Eli Hoelz
RB: 22-Nathaniel Staehling, 20-Damen Bentho, 28-Jesse Rodman
WR: 2-Jed Klang, 8-Matt Huesmann, 11-Ethan Windorski, 14-Reece Isle, 16-Sam Spieker, 15-Eli Hoelz
TE: 84-Mitchell Degen, 86-Caleb Lange, 80-Henry Hopkins
OL: 60-Dominik Waytashek, 57-Carter Springer, 66-Caden Jager, 67-Jacob Borgstrom, 73-Dalton Barrett, 76-Elijah Hanson, 51-Josh Albright, 68-Mason Callstrom, 71-Kolbie Bernu
DL: 53-Grant Gardiepy, 54-Riley DeRosier, 95-Max Barber, 89-Jack Schafer, 5-Eli Wiskow, 56-Mitchell Wind, 50-Rhyen Buckmaster
LB: 17-Jacob Holm, 25-Cam Langerman, 52-Brady Toensing, 60-Dylan Wgeishofski, 42-Dylan Gross, 21-Conner Erickson
DB: 31-Ethan Derosier, 22-Nathaniel Staehling, 23-Dillon MacLaughlin, 82-Ethan Olson, 30-Kouper Seidel, 27-Dawon Piepho, 35-Brandon Stark, 26-Gaven Schwen, 43-Izayah Schultz, 38-Aiden Sills, 36-Daric Caughey, 31-Nathan Herkenhoff
Special Teams
K: 18-Ryan Westerberg, 88-Andrew Albright
P: 22-Nathaniel Staehling, 2-Jed Klang
Long Snapper: 84-Mitchell Degen, 8-Matt Huesmann
Holder: 22-Nathaniel Staehling

Warriors Schedule
Regular Season
Aug. 27, hosts Coon Rapids — won 21-6
Sept. 2, at Andover 7 p.m.
Sept. 10, hosts Moorhead 7 p.m.
Sept. 17, at Sartell 7 p.m.
Sept. 24, at Bemidji 7 p.m.
Oct. 1, hosts Alexandria 7 p.m.
Oct. 8, hosts Rogers 7 p.m.
Oct. 20, at Buffalo 7 p.m.
Class 6A Playoffs
Oct. 29: Round One of Class 6A Playoffs
Nov. 5: Round Two of Class 6A Playoffs
Nov. 11-13: Class 6A Quarterfinals
Nov. 18-20: Class 6A Semifinals
Nov. 26-27: Class 6A Finals

North Central Red Subdistrict
Subdistrict Records
Sartell 1-0 (1-0), Brainerd 1-0 (0-0), Alexandria 0-0 (0-0), Bemidji 0-0 (0-0), Moorhead 0-0 (0-0), Sauk Rapids 0-0 (0-0), St. Cloud Tech 0-1 (0-1)
Week One games
Brainerd at Andover
St. Cloud Tech at Moorhead
Rogers at Bemidji
Alexandria at Hutchinson
Sauk Rapids at Sartell
Week Zero results
Brainerd 21, Coon Rapids 6
Sartell 20, St. Cloud Tech 6

Team Stats
Rushing: 41-178
Passing: 4-13-98
Total Offense: 54-276
Rushing: 32-81
Passing: 14-27-178
Total Offense: 59-259

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

Brainerd at Andover

When: 7 p.m.

Where: at Andover

Last result: Never played.

The series: 0-0.

Twitter: @the_rad34

Radio: KLIZ-AM (1380)

Web Stream:

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