The season of firsts continues for the Brainerd Lumberjacks, who will look to tally their first road win of the 2009 semi-pro football season.
The Lumberjacks travel to New Brighton to battle the Northern Terror at 3 p.m. Saturday and build on their two-game winning streak.
Last week Brainerd defeated the Rochester Giants 38-29 to improve to 2-1.
"They won the championship five years in a row so they're a top-of-the-line team," said Lumberjacks head coach J.J. Kern. "We played really well. I thought we played tough. I think at first there was a little bit of nerves because of some of the places their players had played, but after we hit them a couple of times we gained some confidence and knew we belonged on the field with them.
Lumberjacks vs. Northern Terror
Where: New Brighton
When: 3 p.m. Saturday
What: Semi-pro football
"We proved that we're a team to be reckoned with. I know the guys are banged up, though."
That's one reason Brainerd will look to throw the ball more against the Terror. Running back Shawn Nelson won't be available because of a work obligation and the other two running backs are injured.
Look for Karson Pike and the passing game to be the main offensive weapon.
"We're going to go more toward the spread offense," said Kern. "We really think we can become a better football team if we can become more balanced. We know we can play smash-mouth football. It will be good for us to work on our passing for the end of the season. If we can do both we'll be a better team."
One area of concern was the number of big passing plays Brainerd allowed. Kern said the secondary was in position, but didn't make the plays. He also pointed out that Rochester receivers all played for Division I football programs.
"We have to learn to play the ball better," said Kern. "Our guys were right there. We just didn't make the play and they did. But we have to get better everywhere."
Kern did like how the front seven got after the Rochester running backs and quarterback and expects much the same against Northern.
"They're a solid team and have been around for a long time," said Kern. "It will be a good first road game for us. We'll see how we respond to the different field and everything.
"But from the first game of the year to now, we're a totally different team."
JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at email@example.com or 855-5856.
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