High School Football: Brainerd returns home to play Moorhead

A preview for when Brainerd hosts Moorhead in football Friday, Sept. 10

Brainerd takes the field against Coon Rapids Friday, Aug. 27, 2021, at Brainerd. Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch

Brainerd head coach Jason Freed holds the turnover margin in high regard when it comes to his football team.

That’s why when his team coughed it up six times in its 49-14 loss to Andover last week, ball security became an even bigger priority as the Warriors prepared to host Moorhead in Week Two Friday, Sept. 10, at Adamson Field.

“I think the big thing for us was just talking about how to deal with adversity,” Freed said. “We were definitely given a large dose of that in the first half and we just didn’t respond very well. Coaching goes beyond the Xs and Os sometimes and it’s about building up mentally instead of physically sometimes. We work ball security a lot in practice and we have been all summer and through August which is why it’s been kind of a frustrating thing for us. In the game of football or in any sport you cannot turn the ball over. There have been studies in football where if you are negative in the turnover margin your chances of winning are very, very slim and we need to be a plus turnover team not a minus turnover team.”

When the Warriors were not turning the ball over, the offense fared well gaining 330 yards with 253 of that being through the air last week.

Moorhead head coach Kevin Feeney is used to Brainerd being run-heavy. He may have to account for the pass more with how effective the Warriors have looked in the passing game through two weeks.


“I’ve been here now 12 years and every time we play Brainerd we know we are going to be in for a physical football game,” Feeney said. “When they’ve had guys who can throw the football and have wide receivers who can make plays with the ball the goal is always to try and shut down the run and make them very predictable in situations, but we’ve definitely noticed this year that their quarterback is a weapon and they are definitely going to try to utilize him.”

RELATED: High School Football: Warriors lose 49-14 to Andover Brainerd at Andover in Week One
Brainerd could use the passing game to its advantage. Feeney said the Spuds have the least amount of experience in the secondary.

The Spuds won their first game of the season with a 49-13 dismantling of St. Cloud Tech.

“I thought we played a clean football game,” Feeney said. “We didn’t have many penalties or communication errors and that definitely makes things go a lot smoother. We definitely left some plays on the field though.”

Last year, the Spuds’ high-powered offense wore the Warriors out for a 48-0 win. Moorhead graduated nine starters from that offense, including quarterback Trey Feeney and receivers Blake and Brady Walthall.

“We knew last year’s team was extremely talented and very, very heavy in experience as far as Friday nights go,” Feeney said. “As far as this team goes we feel like we have a fair amount of experience on the defensive side, so we plan on leaning on them. Last year, we were kind of a non-traditional high school football team with how many times we threw. This year I think we are still trying to find our identity on offense and figure out what strengths these kids have.”

RELATED: High School Football: Warriors lose 49-14 to Andover Brainerd at Andover in Week One
Freed noticed Moorhead’s defense when he watched the Spuds on film.

“Their front seven is about as impressive as a front seven as I’ve seen in a long time,” Freed said. “Their defensive ends and linebackers shed blocks and get to the ball carrier very, very quickly and they shut things down in a hurry. It’s going to be important for us to sustain some drives and sustain some blocks and try to really mix things up. They stop the run really well and we are going to have to be very balanced against them offensively.”


Defensively, Freed wants Brainerd to be disciplined against the Spuds.

“Their new quarterback was very impressive in his first start and seemed very composed,” he said. “Coach Feeney does a great job with their offense and it always has some diverse things in it. They are going to utilize their running game and they have a really well-balanced passing attack with multiple guys catching the ball. It’ll be a big test.”

It’ll be the Spuds’ first road game as well as the first North Central Red Subdistrict game for both teams.

“It’s a big challenge,” Feeney said. “Obviously, it’s our first road trip of the year for us and we had a lot of success on the first Friday night, but a lot of things that we can improve upon. I know this is Week Three for Brainerd, so we kind of look at that as they are a step ahead of us right now as far as preparation goes.”

Brainerd Warriors (1-1)
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: 16-Nathaniel Staehling, 2-Jed Klang
Long Snapper: 84-Mitchell Degen, 8-Matt Huesmann
Holder: 16-Nathaniel Staehling

Moorhead Spuds (1-0)
QB: Gavin Quade
RB: Jamal Dixon
WR/TE: Michael Haugo, Mehki Elmore, Alonn Salman, Jack Teiken
OL: Austin Schultz, Jake Erdmann, Micah Cozad, Jackson Young, Zion Dyer
DL: Jack Teiken, Ashton Larry, Victory Urbazzo, Ellanius Davis
LB: Guilio Angotti, Max Delbrune, Ben Hrdlicka
DB: Jamal Dixon, Jayden Griffin, Alonn Salman, Karson Wendt


Warriors Schedule
Regular Season
Aug. 27, hosts Coon Rapids — won 21-6
Sept. 2, at Andover 7 p.m. — lost 49-14
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
Moorhead 1-0 (0-0), Sartell 1-1 (0-0), Brainerd 1-1 (0-0), Alexandria 0-1 (0-0), Bemidji 0-1 (0-0),
Week Two games
Moorhead at Brainerd
Bemidji at Alexandria
Rocori at Sartell
Week One results
Andover 49, Brainerd 14
Moorhead 49, St. Cloud Tech 13
Rogers 24, Bemidji 0
Hutchinson 36, Alexandria 20
Sauk Rapids 27, Sartell 0

Team Stats
Rushing: 76-265
Passing: 20-39-351
Total Offense: 115-616
Rushing: 64-199
Passing: 25-49-335
Total Offense: 113-534

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

Moorhead at Brainerd

When: 7 p.m.

Where: at Brainerd High School

Last result: Moorhead won 48-0.

The series: Moorhead leads 17-16.

Twitter: @the_rad34

Radio: KLIZ-AM (1380)

Web Stream:

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