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High School Football: Spuds run past Warriors

The Brainerd Warriors hosted the Moorhead Spuds

091221.S.BD.WarriorsFootball1.jpg
Jacob Borgstrom, center left, runs alongside and blocks for Nathaniel Staehling, center right, as Staehling runs the ball into the end zone against Moorhead Friday, Sept. 10, 2021, at Adamson Field in Brainerd. Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch
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Brainerd’s offense could only manage 194 yards against Moorhead’s stout defense Friday, Sept. 10, at Adamson Field.

A late surge wasn’t enough for the Warriors as the Spuds defeated Brainerd for the third year in a row 28-18.

“We knew it was going to be a physical game,” Spuds head coach Kevin Feeney said. “We knew that they were going to throw the football and they had some weapons, but it always comes down to stopping the run and I thought both teams showed a lot of character tonight.”

Leading 21-12 at half, the Spuds took the second-half kickoff and put together a 12-play, 79-yard touchdown drive capped off by a Ben Hrdlicka 14-yard touchdown pass from Gavin Quade.

Brainerd Football vs Moorhead Gallery

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The Warriors responded as Nathaniel Staehling scored his third touchdown of the game with a 17-yard run to make it 28-18.

Staehling finished with 23 yards on six carries while Damien Bentho led the Warriors with 34 yards rushing.

“I thought the defense played really, really hard,” Warriors head coach Jason Freed said. “We made some plays when we had to, we just got to go back and fix things.”

Brainerd received the opening kickoff and on its third play from scrimmage, Marcello Getty threw an interception giving Moorhead a short field.

It took the Spuds four plays to capitalize. On fourth down, Gavin Quade found Michael Haugo for a 15-yard touchdown.

Quade and Hauge connected again in the first quarter and again it was on fourth down. The second Hauge touchdown catch was for 23 yards. He then caught the 2-point conversion to create a 14-0 Spuds lead.

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Hauge hauled in four catches for 65 yards and two touchdowns while Quade threw for 115 yards and three touchdowns.

Brainerd was forced to punt on its third drive, but the Spuds muffed it and the Warriors recovered putting them inside the Spuds 30 yard line.

Staehling found the end zone on a screen pass from Getty for an 18-yard score to inch Brainerd within a score.

“We had some adversity at the start of the game, but I thought our sideline stayed in it and our seniors especially stepped up,” Freed said.

Getty went 8-20 for 90 yards, a touchdown and three interceptions in his third start. Matthew Husemann led the Warriors in receiving with four catches for 51 yards.

On the ensuing Spuds drive, Staehling intercepted Quade and returned it for a touchdown and Brainerd trailed 14-12.

“I’m super proud of the kids,” Freed said. “How the game started was very similar to last week in a sense, and the kids were able to hang in there. We stared adversity in the eye and punched it in the face.”

Moorhead responded after the turnover with a six-play, 72-yard touchdown drive capped off by a Ben Hrdlicka 1-yard touchdown run. Hrdlicka replaced Karson Wendt at running back, after Wendt suffered an injury on the drive.

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“We understand how hard it is to win in Brainerd as coaches,” Feeney said. “I don’t know if our players understand it, but it’s been a long time since the Spuds have won back-to-back games in Brainerd.”

Hrdlicka finished with 126 yards rushing on 27 carries after replacing Wendt.

“Ben hasn’t taken a snap for us basically in the last two weeks,” Feeney said. “In fact, we moved him earlier in the week to a different position, but when we got slapped with adversity I was so proud of Ben. He’s a physical player and his focus and competitiveness — he dominated in the second half.”

Both teams had three turnovers apiece in the first half with the Spuds outgaining the Warriors 148-71.

Brainerd will travel on the road next week to play Sartell.

“I’m kind of looking forward to getting on the road,” Freed said. “A lot less distractions on the road and we get to go up against a tough Sartell team who is little like us I think in how they play.”

Moorhead 14 7 7 0 — 28
Brainerd 0 12 6 0 — 18

First quarter
M-Michael Haugo 15-yard pass from Gavin Quade (kick blocked) 9:12
M-Haugo 23-yard pass from Quade (Haugo pass from Quade) 2:35
Second quarter
Brd-Nathaniel Staehling 18-yard pass from Marcello Getty (kick blocked) 10:52
Brd-Staehling 35-yard interception return (pass no good) 9:56
M-Ben Hrdlicka 1-yard run (Ben Coldberg kick) 7:42
Third quarter
M-Hrdlicka 14-yard pass from Quade (Coldberg kick) 7:19
Brd-Staehling 17-yard run (pass no good) 4:44

Team statistics
Rushes-yards: Brd 23-104, M 41-172
Pass comp-att-int-yds: Brd 8-23-90, M 9-22-112
Total offense: Brd 46-194, M 62-284

Individual leaders
Rushing: Brd-Damien Bentho 10-34, Eli Hoelz 2-25, Nathaniel Staehling 6-23, Marello Getty 4-16, Jed Klang 1-6; M-Ben Hrdlicka 27-126, Karson Wendt 9-36, Gavin Quade 5-10
Passing: Brd-Marcello Getty 8-20-90; M-Gavin Quade 10-21-115
Receiving: Brd-Matthew Huesmann 4-51, Nathaniel Staehling 2-27, Damien Bentho 1-9, Mitchell Degen 1-3; M-Micahel Haugo 4-65, John Jenkins 2-28, Ben Hrdlicka 1-14

Moorhead 28, Warriors 18

Key: Spuds take an early lead and hold on to get the win

Subdistrict: Brd 0-1, M 1-0.

Overall: Brd 1-2, M 2-0.

Next: Brainerd at Sartell 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 17.

CONRAD ENGSTROM may be reached at 218-855-5861 or conrad.engstrom@brainerddispatch.com. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/the_rad34.

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