Since last year the seniors on the Brainerd Warriors football team have wanted another crack at the Buffalo Bison.
In the 2008 Section 8-5A semifinals at Buffalo, the Bison ended the Warriors' season with a 20-14 victory in overtime.
The rematch is set for 11 a.m. Saturday on the artificial surface at St. John's University in Collegeville. Buffalo beat St. Cloud Tech 14-9 in Saturday's semifinals.
Brainerd defenders Kris Garin (left), Aaron Pavek and Sam Pagel (right) stopped a Cambridge-Isanti running back Saturday in their Section 8-5A semifinal playoff game.
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Defensive lineman Aaron Pavek and wide receiver-defensive back-kick returner Kyle Crocker are anxious for a rematch with the Bison.
"Buffalo got us last year," Pavek said. "We've got them on our minds right now. We want some revenge. It's going to be fun, it's going to be a good time.
"We're going to try and get a little revenge from last year," Crocker said. "We're going to come out to play."
Pavek applies pressure
Pavek sacked Cambridge-Isanti quarterbacks twice and had one tackle for loss in Saturday's 38-3 win. He and teammates were in the Bluejackets' backfield all afternoon as C-I rushed for just 45 yards.
"They were a little bigger than us but we had the mentality that we were just going to hit them, that we were going to be more physical," Pavek said.
The first six C-I possessions went three and out.
"It started out with the first drive they had," Pavek said. "We had (six) consecutive knockouts. That just set the tone for the rest of the game. Then our offense started rolling, and it was over from there."
The Bluejackets punted six times in the first half. Brainerd's Barry Nelson partially blocked their first punt and Brainerd took over at the Bluejackets' 49.
"They just kind of left me unblocked," Nelson said. "I just ran in and got a piece of it."
The senior linebacker nearly got a piece of other punts.
"They weren't blocking me," Nelson said. "They were blocking down on (Nate Gervenak). Then, after a while, they kind of starting coming out to me, but it didn't really work."
Rushing to finals
After gaining 43 yards against Sartell, the Warriors' running game rebounded with 188 against C-I, averaging 4.5 yards per carry.
Jordan Hayes rushed for 97 yards and Carsten Nelson added 72 and scored three times.
"Any game gets down to the offensive and defensive lines," Warriors coach Ron Stolski said. "Today was our day, both ways. Our offensive line was very good, our defensive line was too."
Milestone for Mimmack
Brainerd quarterback Reid Mimmack completed 7 of 9 passes for 90 yards, pushing him past 1,000 for the season.
Mimmack, who has 1,063 yards passing, is Brainerd's third 1,000-yard passer in three years. Scott Ramey threw for 1,236 yards last year. Nate Schaefbauer passed for 1,952 yards in 2007.
Brainerd's Taylor Main averaged 44 yards on two punts. His second one went 61 yards.
MIKE BIALKA may be reached at mike. email@example.com or at 855-5861.
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