ALEXANDRIA -- Brainerd Warriors defensive coordinator Steve Nunnink must have been beaming.
Nunnink, who suffered an aneurysm on his brain shortly after last week's opener, missed Friday's 17-6 Central Lakes Conference victory over the Alexandria Cardinals but he would have been uplifted by the way his defensive unit played.
After surrendering a touchdown on the first possession, the Warriors shut Alexandria out the rest of the way. Brainerd confined the Cardinals to 153 total yards, 39 on the ground.
From the midway point of the second quarter to the last series of the game, Alexandria quarterback Dan Einerson was pressured into 11 consecutive incompletions.
"We had a great defensive plan," Warriors coach Ron Stolski said. "The kids really played hard. I'm sure Steve Nunnink is very proud, not only of the defense, but of the football team."
Nunnink would have been proud of players like linebacker Will Kassulker, who camped in the Alexandria backfield. The junior had two tackles for losses and a quarterback sack. Defensive end Clinton Strother had a quarterback sack. Linebacker Kory Horn had a tackle for a loss. Defensive back Sam Gervais intercepted a pass.
"It was just effort I guess," Kassulker said of penetrating the Cardinals' backfield. "You just play your best while you're out there."
The offense also played its best, racking up 325 total yards.
After passing 30 times in the opener, the Warriors sought more offensive balance Friday.
Brainerd nearly doubled its rushing output of last week and broke the 100-yard mark in the air for the second straight week.
Halfback Gregg Day notched the first 100-yard game of his varsity career, rushing for 111 yards. Quarterback Morgan Shepherd passed for 116 yards, 96 to wide receiver Blake Eller.
"We had to work hard this week, our line," Day said. "We stepped it up toward the end of the week. We decided to come off the ball harder and we did. Then we opened the holes. We're a running team so we shouldn't get under 300 yards."
Alexandria got off to a running start. Drew Salmi returned the opening kickoff 50 yards and the Warriors were penalized 15 yards for grabbing his face mask. Nine plays later, Einerson hit Cory Conley with a 5-yard touchdown pass.
Gervais' interception enabled Brainerd to get on the board on the last series of the half. He returned the ball to the Warriors' 40 and he eventually kicked a 30-yard field goal seconds before intermission. A 26-yard pass to Eller on third down kept the drive alive.
After fumbling away the ball on its first possession of the second half, Brainerd marched 70 yards with Eller catching two passes for 33 yards. The drive culminated with Cliff Edberg's first touchdown run.
Midway through the final quarter, Edberg gave the Warriors an insurance score with a 1-yard dive.
Alexandria 6 0 0 0 -- 6
Brainerd 0 3 7 7 -- 17
Alx--Cory Conley 5 pass from Dan Einerson (kick failed) 7:30
Brd--Sam Gervais 30 FG, 6.3
Brd--Cliff Edberg 4 run (Gervais kick) 6:08
Brd--Edberg 1 run (Gervais kick) 5:07
First downs -- B 14, A 11
Rushes-yards --B 46-209, A 27-39
Pass comp-att-int-yards --B 8-18-0-116, A 8-22-1-114
Total offense --B 325, A 153
Punts --B 3-32.7, A 5-36.8
Return yards -- B 69, A 103
Fumbles -- B 3-1, A 0-0
Penalties -- B 8-68, A 8-35
Rushing --Brd, Day 18-111, Edberg 8-30, Brady Prince 11-44, Geoff Roberts 3-5, Morgan Shepherd 5-16, Mark Matich 1-3. Alx, Conley 12-29
Passing --Brd, Shepherd 8-18-116. Alx, Einerson 8-22-114
Receiving --Brd, Justin Mueller 1-8, Blake Eller 5-96, Justin Huether 1-10, Roberts 1-2. Alx, Conley 3-34
Conference -- B 2-0, A 0-2. Overall -- B 2-0, A 0-2. Next game -- Brainerd at Moorhead 7 p.m. Friday.
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