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5.5 points have been the average margin of victory the last four times the Brainerd Warriors and Bemidji Lumberjacks have played football. Friday, Nov. 2, at Bemidji State University's Chet Anderson Stadium, could be that close again when the second-seeded Warriors meet the top-seeded and Class 5A's sixth-ranked Lumberjacks. A little more than a month ago, Brainerd led the Lumberjacks 7-6 late in the fourth quarter. Bemidji won it 12-7 on its last possession as James Williams ran 6 yards for a score with 46.1 seconds left. The Warriors ran six plays and reached the Lumberjacks' 30 as time expired.
In this season's preview story, Brainerd Warriors girls swimming and diving head coach Dan Anderson referenced Minnesota Twins teams in the mid- to late 2000s. Those Twins teams had several lead-off type hitters, players who weren't superstars, but did the little things necessary to win. Those teams were nicknamed "piranhas" by an opposing manager. Anderson projected this year's Warrior team would be like a group of piranhas. Junior Jacquilyn Rude has emerged as the Warriors' top piranha. Anderson said Rude put herself in the position.
Warriors 35, Alexandria 7 The key: Brainerd's defense forced four turnovers Overall: Brainerd 6-3, Alexandria finishes 3-6 Next: No. 2 Brainerd at No. 1 Bemidji winner for Section 8-5A championship 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 2. It was one of the grittier victories registered by the Brainerd Warriors in recent memory. It was one of the grittier victories registered by the Brainerd Warriors in recent memory. Missing several starters due to injury or eligibility issues, those in uniform stepped into the fray and helped the second-seeded Warriors post a 35-7 victory over the No. 3 Alexandria Cardinals in the Section 8-5A semifinals Saturday, Oct. 27 at Adamson Field. An opportunistic defense recovered three fumbles and intercepted a pass, converting two of those turnovers into 14 first-half points. Forrest Gibson, Isaac Chappuis and Jacob Drietz pounced on fumbles. Ben Staehling intercepted a pass as Brainerd won for the sixth time in the last seven games.
An opportunistic defense that forced four turnovers spurred the second-seeded Brainerd Warriors to a 35-7 victory over the No. 3 Alexandria Cardinals in the semifinals of the Section 8-5A playoffs at Adamson Field Saturday, Oct. 27. Forrest Gibson, Isaac Chappuis and Jacob Drietz recovered fumbles and Ben Staehling intercepted a pass as Brainerd restricted the Cardinals to 27 yards rushing and 242 total yards. The Warriors converted two of those turnovers into 14 first-half points.
An opportunistic defense that forced four turnovers spurred the second-seeded Brainerd Warriors to a 35-7 victory over the No. 3 Alexandria Cardinals in the semifinals of the Section 8-5A playoffs at Adamson Field Saturday, Oct. 27. Forrest Gibson, Isaac Chappuis and Jacob Drietz recovered fumbles and Ben Staehling intercepted a pass as Brainerd restricted the Cardinals to 31 yards rushing and 246 total yards. The Warriors converted two of those turnovers into 14 first-half points.
An improving third-seeded Alexandria Cardinals team will provide the opposition for the No. 2 Brainerd Warriors as the teams kick off the postseason at 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 27, with a Section 8-5A semifinal game at Adamson Field. Since getting drilled 36-7 by Brainerd in Week Three of the regular season, the Cardinals have beaten Rocori and Moorhead and are 3-5 overall. In losses to St. Cloud Tech and Sauk Rapids, the Cardinals lost by a combined eight points. The only lopsided loss during the last five games was 30-12 to top-seeded Bemidji.
For the second straight year, the Brainerd Warriors have won their first match in the Section 8-5A tournament. Now the challenge is to win the next one, a semifinal matchup at home against the third-seeded Moorhead Spuds Tuesday, Oct. 30, and advance to the section final for the first time since 1991. Second-seeded Brainerd reached the semifinals with a 3-0 win over the No. 7 Becker Bulldogs Friday, Oct. 26. The victory was Brainerd's 10th straight.
If Sam Miller joins Brainerd's 1,000-yard passing club, it will mean that he and the Warriors are flourishing in a postseason run. The senior quarterback enters Saturday's Class 5A playoff semifinal against Alexandria 102 passing yards shy of 1,000. He's also thrown for nine touchdowns and completed 58.4 percent of his passes (66 of 113).
After receiving one of the highest, if not the highest, postseason seed in program history, the Brainerd Warriors hope to justify that distinction in the playoffs. Willmar, which defeated the Warriors 3-0 and 3-2 during the regular season, earned the top seed in Section 8-3A. The Cardinals have the 15th-highest Quality Results Formula in Class 3A while Brainerd is 18th. The Warriors, who set a program record for wins this season with 22, received the No. 2 seed, which didn't surprise Warriors coach Rick Kuehlwein.
One was more of a risk-taker. The other's strength was consistency. Sometimes the one who wasn't a risk-taker became consistent and the one who was consistent became the risk-taker. Taya Person's and Heidi Jacobson's skills complemented each other. Toss in the fact both can serve, are solid on groundstrokes and are capable of playing at the net and you have the ingredients for a winning doubles combination.