Looking at the scoreboard toward the end of Friday's night game between Brainerd and Bemidji, one may have thought the contest was fairly competitive.
In actuality the Warriors controlled the ball from the opening drive and never looked back.
Through halftime it was 18-0, through three quarters it was 31-0.
The once-large advantage was shrunk in the final twelve minutes after the Warriors turned to a conservative offense and a second-string defense, but the game had long been decided as Brainerd won 31-15.
Nate Schaefbauer passed for 286 yards and 2 TDs
Head coach Ron Stolski said he was impressed with what he saw from both his offense and defense Friday night.
"Bemidji is a good defensive team so I was pleased with how our offense responded," he said. "Our defense should also be commended for their performance. It was a good, all-around effort tonight."
Stolski's sentiments regarding his team are easily backed up by the Warriors' numbers.
Offensively they nearly cracked the 400-yard barrier for the second time this season and would have likely done so in a more competitive contest.
Bronson Shepherd had 72 receiving yards
In the first half alone, Brainerd rolled over Bemidji for 226 total yards.
Defensively the Warriors allowed 43 first-half yards and just 84 yards through three quarters.
The fourth quarter saw the Lumberjacks put up 15 points and 166 yards on the reserves.
The offensive standout for Brainerd was senior quarterback Nate Schaefbauer who torched the Bemidji defense for nearly 300 yards, finishing 16 for 23 for 286 yards and two touchdowns.
Schaefbauer said the passing game ran smoothly just as it has all season.
"Nothing new tonight. The receivers ran the right routes and I made the right reads," he said. "We read the defense and had some on-the-fly audibles that worked out well. It was nice to get a lot of guys involved."
On the night, Brainerd had eight different players with a reception.
Warriors 31, Lumberjacks 15
The key: Brainerd jumped out to a 18-0 halftime lead thanks to a 226 to 43 yardage advantage.
Conference: Brd 1-1
Overall: Brd 3-1, Bmj 2-2
Next: Brd at St. Cloud Apollo, 7 p.m. Friday
Senior wide receiver Bronson Shepherd led the way with 72 yards on four receptions, while junior Mike Gervenak and senior Turner Johnson chipped in with three receptions for 51 yards and a touchdown and three receptions for 42 yards respectively.
Junior Scott Ramey also hauled in a big 48-yard completion.
Stolski said it has become a trademark of this year's team to spread the ball around as Schaefbauer has done.
"He did a good job of it again tonight," he said. "They put a lot of people up front and Nate's an experienced quarterback that's going to find the open man.
"I don't know what Nate finished with but he was a good field general tonight and made all of his throws and I thought our receivers had their best night of the season."
On the defensive side of the ball, the complete shutdown of Bemidji's offense through three quarters was a collective effort, with a few of Brainerd's highlights coming in the form of a Zach Doud sack in the second quarter and a third-quarter interception by Jed Magstadt
Junior linebacker/running back Colby Ring said the defense had its best game of the season.
"We were watching film this week and seeing what formations they passed on and which formations they ran on and we just worked off that," he said. "We knew where they were going because of what we had watched."
With the effort from both his offense, defense, and most of special teams, Stolski said the only thing he could really be disappointed with was the team's point-after efficiency as they begin to look forward to next week's matchup with St. Cloud Apollo.
Brainerd 6 12 13 0 31
Bemidji 0 0 0 15 15
Brd-Colby Ring 19 run (kick fails) 8:34
Brd-Ring 3 run (pass fails) 7:26
Brd-Mike Gervenak 9 pass from Nate Schaefbauer (pass fails) 0:51
Brd-Schaefbauer 19 run (Brian Sexton kick) 6:44
Brd-Tyler Jensen 28 pass from Nate Schaefbauer (kick fails) 1:39
Bmj-John Yates 2 run (kick) 5:40
Bmj-Brandon Bahr 7 pass from Simon Anderson (pass good) 0:41
First downs: Brd 19, Bmj 13
Rushes-yards: Brd 33-119, Bmj 29-164
Pass comp-att-int-yards: Brd 16-23-0-268, Bmj 8-31-1-86
Total offense: Brd 387, Bmj 250
Punts-avg: Brd, 4-34, Bmj 7-34
Return yards: Brd 87, Bmj 93
Fumbles-lost: Brd 0-0, Bmj 0-0
Penalties-yds lost: Brd 8-85, Bmj 6-55
Rushing: Brd, Schaefbauer 6-38, Jensen 14-30, Ring 7-33, Brandon Julius 6-18, Nate Smolke 2-13, Bronson Shepherd 1-10, Jon Wiese 3-2, Turner Johnson 1-2; Bmj, Nate McGriff 16-95, Yates 12-71, Trace Jahner 1-(-2)
Passing: Brd, Schaefbauer 16-23-0-286; Bmj, Anderson 8-31-1-86
Receiving: Brd, Shepherd 4-72, Johnson 3-42, Gervenak 3-51, Jensen 2-38, Reggie Walter 2-15, Scott Ramey 1-48, Julius 1-2; Bmj, Ryan Sullivan 2-33, Bahr 2-17, Joe Kingerly 1-11, Ryan Telander 1-11, Yates 1-11, Matt Hietala 1-13
TY RUSHMEYER can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 855-5865.
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