Usually when the Alexandria Cardinals and Brainerd Warriors play it's for first place in the Central Lakes Conference football standings.
When the teams collide 7 p.m. Friday in the Warriors' homecoming game at Adamson Field they will be playing for the runner-up spot behind unbeaten Willmar.
ALEXANDRIA CARDINALS (3-1)
FB-Jared Wildman; SB-Andy Seykora; QB-Matt Carlson; SE-Mike Hoelscher; HB-Jeff Anderson; LG-RJ Lewis; RG-Andrew Torfin; C-Jared Miller; RT-John Bronson; LT-Cory Watts; TE-Brett Einerson
LB-Seykora, Evan Amundson, Amos Hartsell; S-Hoelscher, Brandon Strouth; CB-Tom Steidl, Eric Svobodny; T-Peter Boyle, Justin Ruether; E-Matt Odland, Neal Donahue
BRAINERD WARRIORS (3-1)
WR-Tim Siekas, Jason Goerges; LT-Trevor McCulloch; LG-Matt Means, Jeff Hanson; C-Brian Burke; RG-Joel Jacobson; RT-Jamie Strowbridge; TE-Derrick LaPointe, John Weston; QB-Mike Zauhar, Billy Tadych; FB-Adam Hardy, Jeff Goodman; HB-Mike Weiss, Dan Kirkpatrick, Tyler John, Jeff Hight; PK-Goerges; P-Weiss
E-Chris Foy, Bob Brown, Henrik Impola; T-Means, Josh Wilson, Seth Owens; LB-Lukas Marks, Weiss, Brian Reese, Impola, J.P. Platisha; CB-Zauhar, Aron Hanson, Joe Morgan; SS-Ben Winterfeld, Goerges; FS-Dan Karlgaard, Siekas.
The teams have played 41 times in a series that originated in 1936. Brainerd leads the series with 23 wins. Alexandria has won seven of the last eight meetings, including 33-16 in the regular season last year and 19-15 for the Section 8, Class 5A championship at the Fargodome.
Section 8, Class 5A
Alexandria Cardinals 3-1
Brainerd Warriors 3-1
Bemidji Lumberjacks 3-1
Duluth East Greyhounds 3-1
Moorhead Spuds 2-2
St. Cloud Tech Tigers 2-2
St. Cloud Apollo Eagles 0-4
Grand Rapids T'hawks 1-3
Central Lakes Conference
Willmar 3-0 4-0
Alexandria 2-1 3-1
Brainerd 2-1 3-1
Rocori 2-1 3-1
St. Cloud Tech 1-2 2-2
Little Falls 1-2 2-2
Sartell 1-2 1-3
St. Cloud Apollo 0-3 0-4
RUSHING Att Yds Avg TD
Adam Hardy 46 314 6.8 8
Mike Weiss 54 273 5.1 1
Jeff Goodman 32 143 4.5 0
Mike Zauhar 16 142 8.9 1
Billy Tadych 20 54 2.7 0
Dan Kirkpatrick 5 17 3.4 0
Tyler John 2 3 1.5 0
Tim Siekas 1 0 0.0 0
PASSING Com Att Yds TD
Billy Tadych 7 21 121 2
Mike Zauhar 3 6 31 1
RECEIVING No Yds Avg TD
Tim Siekas 6 125 20.8 2
Derrick LaPointe 2 21 10.5 1
Jason Goerges 1 4 4.0 0
Matt Means 1 2 2.0 0
SCORING TD 2PT EPK TP
Adam Hardy 8 0 0 48
Tim Siekas 2 1 0 14
Mike Zauhar 1 2 0 10
Mike Weiss 1 0 0 6
Jason Goerges 0 0 6 6
Derrick LaPointe 1 0 0 6
(7 p.m. games)
1-COON RAPIDS, W 20-12
8-WILLMAR, L 14-6
15-at St. Cloud Tech, W 29-19
22-at St. Cloud Apollo, W 35-21
16-17 State semifinals
24-Prep Bowl at Metrodome
Friday's area games
Little Falls at Rocori 7 p.m.
Aitkin at East Central 7:30 p.m.
Crosby-Ironton vs. Greenway at Coleraine 7 p.m.
Pequot Lakes at Northome-Kelliher 7 p.m.
Pierz at Kimball 7 p.m.
Ottertail Central at Pillager 7:30 p.m.
Walker-Hackensack-Akeley at Pine River-Backus 7 p.m.
Staples-Motley at East Grand Forks 6:30 p.m.
Verndale at Ashby 7 p.m.
Wadena-Deer Creek at Melrose 7 p.m.
Willmar deflected the spotlight from the Alexandria-Brainerd matchup by stunning Alexandria 14-7 last week. Alexandria led 7-6 late in the fourth quarter when it shanked a punt. Willmar then marched 50 yards in five plays, culminating with Ben Villnow's 6-yard run and his 2-point conversion run with 3:15 remaining.
"I thought they dominated the game both ways," Alexandria coach Dennis Kalpin said of Willmar. "Our offense didn't do a thing all night."
Alexandria (3-1) managed just eight first downs and 139 total yards. Its only score was a 20-yard run by Jared Wildman with 3:28 left in the third quarter.
"Willmar deserved to win," Kalpin said. "They played a nice ballgame. Our defense played very well, holding down that offense. It's all seniors and a few juniors. Their defense is all seniors. They have been starting since they were sophomores. Willmar has hung their hat on that class."
The loss didn't surprise to Kalpin.
"We had a tough time with them last year when we had a pretty good club," Kalpin said. "We beat them 27-7 but it was not an easy game. We've seen some real talent over there."
Instead of playing for the conference title Alexandria and Brainerd may be playing for the No. 1 seed in the Section 8, Class 5A playoffs, which begin Oct. 24. The Cardinals have won seven of the last eight games against Brainerd, including 33-16 in the regular season last year and 19-15 for the section championship at the Fargodome.
Alexandria, which has played in four of the last six state tournaments, opened this season with a 27-6 win over Fergus Falls, followed by a 31-17 win over Little Falls and a 34-0 romp over Rocori. It had not lost to Willmar since 1995.
Kalpin said the Cardinals are enduring a shortage of seniors with only 14 on the roster. Five of those seniors came out for football for the first time this year. Two members of that group quit Monday.
"You go through cycles," Kalpin said. "Looking at Brainerd's lineup they have a lot of youngsters in there too. We are very young. We have hardly any seniors that make a contribution. It's one of those classes that comes through. We have good kids in there but not a lot of them.
"We had 27 seniors two years ago. Last year we had 24. To be down in single digits is unusual for us."
Brainerd (3-1) is coming off a 35-21 win at St. Cloud Apollo where its running game got untracked for 389 yards. The Warriors rattled off 35 consecutive points after falling behind 7-0.
Fullback Adam Hardy has run wild the last two weeks against St. Cloud Tech and Apollo. The 6-foot-4 senior has scored six touchdowns and rushed for 237 yards in the last two games.
The Warriors have had four 100-yard rushing games the last two weeks. Halfback Mike Weiss rushed for 116 against Tech and quarterback Mike Zauhar added 102 against Apollo.
The Warriors' defense yielded 292 yards against Apollo but the bulk of that came late in the game when the contest was all but over.
Tackle leaders against Apollo were Lukas Marks with 25 and Weiss, Dan Karlgaard, Seth Owens and Brian Reese all had 15.
Season tackle leaders are Marks with 73, Karlgaard 70 and Weiss 58.
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