ST. CLOUD -- Now that the Brainerd Warriors have ruined one homecoming they can prepare to win their own next Friday.
Incited by a smothering defense that limited St. Cloud Tech to 108 total yards, the Warriors snapped a two-game losing streak and spoiled the Tigers' homecoming with a convincing 29-10 win Friday at Clark Field.
The Tigers started three possessions inside the Brainerd 30 but came away with only a touchdown and field goal. Bad snaps in punt formation by Brainerd gave the Tigers prime field position but the Warriors' defense was overwhelming.
The Warriors also had to stonewall Tech after the Tigers recovered an onside kick late in the third quarter at the Brainerd 43. But the Warriors stuffed a run for no gain on fourth down at the Brainerd 34.
"We knew our defense had to step up and be a lot better," Warriors defensive lineman Brandon Freihammer said. "We had to come back to what we were the first two games of the season, and we did that tonight."
Brainerd defenders made three tackles for losses. The pressure exerted by the defensive line enabled linebacker Korey Horn to make a diving interception and defensive back Joe Holden to intercept another pass and return it 40 yards to the Tech 10, leading to Brainerd's final score.
"We gave Tech the ball in great field position but our defense just kept coming up," Warriors coach Ron Stolski said. "The defense just played marvelously. You can't say enough about the defense. They made one stand after another."
The defense then handed the ball to the offense which controlled the line of scrimmage. Brainerd ran 74 plays from scrimmage to the Tigers' 42.
"Our offensive line played a lot better than it has," Stolski said. "It was good to see us play that way. It's a good example of how we like to play Warrior football. They were clearly bigger, but we just kept firing off the ball."
Brainerd was fired up early. It took the opening kickoff and marched 69 yards in a drive that consumed more than five minutes. Brady Prince, who rushed 29 times for 84 yards and two scores, capped the march with a 4-yard touchdown run.
"They were blowing out big holes for me," Prince said of his offensive line. "It was nice. The offensive line worked real hard."
On Tech's first play of the second quarter, it tied the score on a 29-yard burst around end by halfback Trey Dill. A snap over the head of Warrior punter Sam Gervais, who retrieved the ball and returned it to the Brainerd 29, led to the Tech score.
Later in the quarter, quarterback Morgan Shepherd put Brainerd ahead 13-7 with a 5-yard touchdown pass to fullback Cliff Edberg.
With 17.1 seconds left in the first half, Brainerd virtually finished off the Tigers. This time Prince rammed into the end zone from 5 yards out and Shepherd ran for the 2-point conversion and a 21-7 edge.
Holden's interception return led to Shepherd's 10-yard run for the final score with more than nine minutes remaining.
Brainerd 7 14 0 8 -- 29
St. Cloud Tech 0 7 3 0 -- 10
B-Brady Prince 4 run (Sam Gervais kick) 4:48
SCT-Trey Dill 29 run (Bobby Smith kick) 11:43
B-Cliff Edberg 5 pass from Morgan Shepherd (pass fails) 4:03
B-Prince 5 run (Shepherd run) 17.1
SCT-Smith 23 FG, 1:41
B-Shepherd 10 run (Justin Huether pass from Shepherd) 9:15
First downs -- B 16, SCT 5
Rushes-yards -- B 52-116, SCT 27-74
Pass comp-att-int--yds -- B 11-22-0-114, SCT 4-15-2-34
Total offense -- B 230, SCT 108
Punts-avg -- B 2-33.5, SCT 4-33.8
Return yards -- B 70, SCT 59
Fumbles-lost -- B 1-0, SCT 0-0
Penalties-yds lost -- B 2-10, SCT 6-42
Rushing -- B-Edberg 9-21, Prince 29-84, Geoff Roberts 4-12, Gervais 1-2, Shepherd 7-25, Matt Siegel 2-(-28); SCT-Dill 13-46
Passing -- B-Shepherd 11-22-114; SCT-Hanks 4-15-34
Receiving -- B-Blake Eller 2-17, Huether 3-38, Edberg 4-49, Prince 2-10; SCT-Mitch Rousselange 2-17
Conference -- B 3-1, SCT 0-3. Overall -- B 3-2, SCT 2-3. Next game -- Sauk Rapids at Brainerd 7 p.m. Friday.
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