LITTLE FALLS -- It had to rank among the most dominant defensive performances in Minnesota State High School League football history.
In a 42-0 Central Lakes Conference romp past Little Falls at Flyer Memorial Field Friday, the Brainerd Warriors confined the Flyers to 37 total yards and three first downs. The Flyers' only first down in the second half came via penalty.
Little Falls crossed midfield once in the first three quarters against Warrior starters. On the Flyers' first nine possessions, seven ended with punts, two with interceptions. Mike Weiss had a quarterback sack and Kevin Mertens an interception.
"It's a great booster for the defense," Brainerd linebacker Chad Weiss said of the shutout. "Everyone, even our third- and fourth string guys, was flying to the ball. We just played a great defensive game."
Brainerd senior running back Mike Weiss (40) evaded Mark Kasella (42) and Bo Corrow (13) of the Little Falls Flyers as he ran around end for several yards Friday night. Weiss rushed for 84 yards.
Weiss, who had a team-high 20 tackles and returned an interception for a score in last week's opening victory against St. Cloud Apollo, turned in another sturdy defensive effort. He stopped the Flyers' initial possession by intercepting a pass.
With two starting linebacker spots open entering this season, Weiss stepped forward in preseason camp to seize one position.
"I kind of had an idea that maybe I would start, depending on if some of our guys from last year came back or not," Weiss said. "They didn't, and I had a pretty good feeling that I had a good chance."
Linebackers coach Scott Parsons said Weiss is one of many skilled athletes the Warriors have playing linebacker.
Brainerd senior tight end Brent Potvin (86) had Matt Wenz of the Little Falls Flyers beat as he hauled in a pass near the sidelines.
"What we have are good athletes that listen well and do what they're trained to do," Parsons said. "They put themselves in position to make plays. That's when their athleticism takes over. They're focused and they learn quickly."
It was quickly obvious Friday's game would be no contest. The Warriors, who have beaten Little Falls 18 consecutive times, scored six of the first seven times they had the ball. Brainerd never punted and was penalized once -- in the game's final minutes.
Brainerd piled up 399 total yards with a diverse offensive attack. Halfbacks Mike Weiss and Zach Toms rushed for a combined 167 yards. Quarterback Mike Zauhar tallied three times, Toms scored on runs of 33 and 11 yards and fullback Luke Furda barreled into the end zone from a yard out.
"Our offense is not predicated on one player," Warriors offensive coordinator Jeff Ramey said. "That's the whole idea behind the option. You take what the defense gives you. Last week, the defense gave us Mike Zauhar for a lot of yards. Tonight, Little Falls focused on Mike and he didn't get nearly as many yards, but he still had some good carries. He made some good decisions to get the ball to the other backs."
Little Falls had new seating ready Friday night for the game with Brainerd. But, alas, the pep band had the unhappy task of trying to cheer the Flyers; faithful in a 42-0 loss to the Warriors. (Dispatch Photos by Clint Wood)
Zauhar scored on runs of 1 and 10 yards in the opening quarter and on a 3-yard run in the second that put Brainerd ahead 28-0 at halftime.
"Mike just has a knack of making plays, whether they're long plays or short plays," Ramey said. "He sees the seams very well. He reads defenses very well. His year as a starting quarterback last year is paying dividends right now. He sees everything. It's a lot of fun having a quarterback like that running the offense we're trying to run right now."
Brainerd 14 14 7 7 -- 42
Little Falls 0 0 0 0 -- 0
Brd-Mike Zauhar 1 run (Jorgen Hartje kick) 9:36
Brd-Zauhar 10 run (Hartje kick) 6:50
Brd-Zach Toms 33 run (Hartje kick) 8:10
Brd-Zauhar 3 run (Hartje kick) 2:00
Brd-Luke Furda 1 run (Hartje kick) 6:45
Brd-Toms 11 run (Hartje kick) 11:51
First downs -- B 23, LF 3
Rushes-yards -- B 57-322, LF 21-11
Pass comp-att-int--yds -- B 5-6-0-77, LF 3-17-2-26
Total offense -- B 399, LF 37
Punts-avg -- B 0-0, LF 6-30.2
Return yards -- B 40, LF 92
Fumbles-lost -- B 4-3, LF 3-0
Penalties-yds lost -- B 1-5, LF 2-10
Rushing -- Brd-Zauhar 7-44, Furda 8-32, Tim Severson 2-7, Jeff Hight 3-6, Mike Weiss 12-84, Toms 14-83, Chris Clabo 8-51, Drew Herman 3-7. LF-Ryan Olson 10-18
Passing -- Brd-Zauhar 4-4-0-67, Clabo 1-2-0-10. LF-Noah Czech 2-9-1-24, Christian Larson 1-8-1-2
Receiving -- Brd-Brent Potvin 1-23, Devin O'Reilly 1-38, Furda 2-6, Severson 1-10. LF-Jeremy Doroff 1-10, Mark Kasella 1-14.
Conference -- B 2-0, LF 0-2. Overall -- B 2-0, LF 0-2. Next game -- Detroit Lakes at Brainerd 7 p.m. Friday.
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