HIGHLIGHTS: Jacks Roll Over Tech Behind Complete First-Half Display

35 first-half points that were initiated by a pick-six from linebacker Seth Newby on the first defensive drive of the game set up Bemidji football for a 41-8 hammering of St. Cloud Tech in a complete performance on Friday evening at Tiger Stadium.

Bemidji got off to a perfect start on the third play from scrimmage on defense. Barrick Nelson’s edge rush put Tech’s hybrid running back/quarterback Josh Russell under pressure from behind and forced a hurried throw into the waiting hands of Newby. He followed a patrol of blocks down the sideline for a quick 26-yard return to the end zone.

The Lumberjacks’ defense was pressed into more urgent work later in the quarter when the first offensive play from scrimmage turned into a mishandled exchange between quarterback Jack Larson and running back Gemini Ellis. The Tigers could not find the end zone off the short field thanks to an end-zone interception by Caden Bolte on a fourth down throw.

A much smoother second drive on offense turned into a 95-yard drive that was capped by a strong run from Barrick Nelson behind the Lumberjacks’ “Monster” blocking unit for a seven-yard score.

Tech turned the ball over for a third time in the first quarter on a fumble in its own territory, which led to a seven-yard dash by Ellis early in the second quarter that opened up a 21-0 advantage.

The senior running back needed only one play on the next drive to tally another touchdown when he galloped 77 yards for Bemidji’s longest play from scrimmage this season.

Bemidji missed a chance to add on to the lead when three plays from the Tigers’ one-yard line went without reaching the end zone. But after getting the ball back at midfield with less than a minute remaining in the first half, Peyton Neadeau was able to feather a 27-yard touchdown pass to Ethan Biehn to send the visitors to a 35-0 halftime lead.

The second half opened with another comprehensive drive by the Lumberjacks that reached the one-yard line. This time, Jacob Kelly capped the drive with a sweep run for a touchdown and a 41-0 advantage.

A host of players had opportunities to see the field in the final quarter and a half for the Lumberjacks, while Tech picked up a late touchdown on senior night thanks to a keeper by Russell after a Bemidji fumble.

Ellis rushed for 147 yards on just 12 carries, while Jack McCrady had only five carries but picked up 89 yards with an opportunity to play in the slot. Bemidji’s offense totaled a season-best 389 total yards, while the defense stifled Tech for just 119 yards while turning them over three times.

Bemidji reaches .500 for the first time this season at 3-3 overall heading into its final regular season game at home against Sartell on Wednesday evening at 7pm.