WILLMAR - In their first two games the Brainerd Warriors had passed for more than twice the yardage than which they had run.
The Warriors turned back the clock to a power running attack of yesteryear and the result was a 35-13 Central Lakes Conference thrashing of Class 4A's ninth-ranked and unbeaten Willmar Cardinals Friday night.
Warriors 35, Willmar 13
The key: Brainerd had 432 total yards and forced three turnovers.
Conference: Brd 2-0, Wil 1-1
Overall: Brd 2-1, Wil 2-1
Next: Moorhead at Brainerd 7 p.m. Friday.
Like Bemidji had done against the Warriors a week earlier, Brainerd dominated the line of scrimmage and controlled the ball, rushing 54 times for 365 yards and finishing with 432 total yards.
"It was old-school Warrior football," Warriors coach Ron Stolski said. "Sometimes you've got to go back to old-school Warrior football.
"You've got to credit the offensive line, then we had some really good blocking on the edge from Dylan Wheeler, some really good blocking inside from our front, then from all of our blocking backs, Chad Ohman, Bruce London, Taylor Main ...
"So that was our plan, and sometimes your plan works, but our plan was to get after them with a lot of running backs and just see if we couldn't play some Warrior football."
Brainerd also played defense, limiting the Cardinals' spread, no-huddle attack to 289 total yards and 12 fewer plays than Brainerd. Willmar had just 79 yards in the first half, 187 through three quarters, as it fell behind 28-0.
The Warriors recovered three fumbles and restricted Willmar to 29 yards rushing. Kyle Crocker, Nate Gervenak and Jamie Barry recovered fumbles.
"We played very well defensively," Stolski said. "Our linebackers played exceptionally well. We just shut their running game down.
"It was a good, all-around football game for us. We're happy with it. We said it last week, it's always a long season, we're not going to panic after a game."
Crocker scored twice, once on a 37-yard run, the game's first touchdown, and on a 36-yard pass from quarterback Reid Mimmack in the third quarter.
Carsten Nelson, who rushed 18 times for 135 yards, scored in the first quarter on a 9-yard run.
Taylor Main scored on a pair of short runs, in the second and third quarters, to wrap up the Warriors' scoring.
The Cardinals didn't score until 4:57 left in the third as quarterback Mark Dunham hit Blake Graves for a 56-yard touchdown.
Dunham, who threw for 260 yards, found Nathaniel Swoyer for a 19-yard score with 3:55 remaining.
Brainerd 14 7 14 0 - 35
Willmar 0 0 7 6 - 13
B-Kyle Crocker 37 run (Zach Cadwell kick) 5:34
B-Carsten Nelson 9 run (Cadwell kick) 1:40
B-Taylor Main 2 run (Cadwell kick) 5:45
B-Crocker 36 pass from Reid Mimmack (Cadwell kick) 6:28
W-Blake Graves 56 pass from Mark Dunham (Mitch Fader kick) 4:57
B-Main 1 run (Cadwell kick) :20.1
W-Nate Swoyer 19 pass from Dunham (pass failed) 3:55
First downs: Brd 20 , Wil 14
Rushes-yards: Brd 54-365 , Wil 21-29
Pass comp-att-int-yds: Brd 4-6-0-67, Wil 19-27-0-260
Total offense: Brd 432, Wil 289
Punts-avg: Brd 3-33.7 , Wil 2-35.0
Return yards: Brd 82, Wil 181
Fumbles-lost: Brd 1-1, Wil 3-3
Penalties-yds lost: Brd 8-70, Wil 4-27
Rushing: Brd, Nelson 18-135, Jaron Hanson 1-2, Jordan Hayes 11-75, Taylor Main 9 -41, Reid Mimmack 1-(-3), Dan Lauer 6-22, Crocker 6-86, Kevin Peterson 1-7, Mason Fussy 1-0; Wil, Dunham 4-20
Passing: Brd, Mimmack 4-5-0-67, Crocker 0-1-0-0 ; Wil, Dunham 19-27-0-260
Receiving: Brd, Crocker 3-62, Dylan Wheeler 1-5; Wil, Ryan Lawler 4-62, Jeremy Schendel 1-8, Blake Graves 5-89, Taylor Filipek 6-65, Swoyer 1-19
MIKE BIALKA may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 855-5861.
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