Wins are becoming imperative for the Brainerd Lumberjacks as the Midwest Premier Football League regular season winds down.
Brainerd plays the Minnesota Phoenix at Woodbury High School at 5 p.m. Saturday. The Lumberjacks are 3-3, winning their last three games. The Phoenix are 5-1 and in first place in the MPFL.
“A win could get us back within a game of first and with one game to go, anything can happen at that point,” Lumberjacks coach J.J. Kern said. “We’re a game behind the Minnesota Sting (4-2). They have a bye next week. We want to win this game so we can tighten up (the standings).”
Brainerd lost to the Phoenix 33-13 in the first game of the regular season May 7.
“We were ahead 13-7 with about four minutes to go,” Kern said. “The score we kind of feel is deceptive of the separation between the teams.
“Another thing was we played that game before Wade (Steiery) was our quarterback. Since we’ve had Wade starting at quarterback we’ve put up 30 points a game. That game was at the beginning of the year when we were struggling on offense.
“We feel we’re a different team than we were at that point of the year. We’re excited to see how far we’ve come.”
Before a bye July 2 the Lumberjacks beat the Sting 31-18 June 25 at Roseville.
“This is a statement game,” Kern said. “If we can beat teams that were 4-1 and 5-1 at the time it will probably make some teams nervous about the Lumberjacks again.”
Kern said all fans will be admitted free, with purchase of a pop, to the final home game July 16 against the Twin City Rhinos. The promotion will be sponsored by Sun Drop and Pizza Ranch.
“Hopefully, the last game will have a bearing on whether we have a home playoff game or not,” Kern said.
MIKE BIALKA may be reached at email@example.com or at 855-5861.