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Brainerd Warriors running back Carsten Nelson is wrapped up after a short gain by Willmar Cardinal defenders, from left, Grant Schow (7), Derrick Loiselle, Adam Fagerstrom (84) and Cole Christopher (65) at Hodapp Field in Willmar on Friday. Tribune photo by Rand Middleton

Brainerd drills Willmar

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WILLMAR -- Leave it to Brainerd to bring Willmar back to earth.

Despite a promising 2-0 start, the Cardinals were overmatched against the Warriors once again, absorbing a 35-13 whacking in a Central Lakes Conference tilt before about 1,900 fans on a mild Friday night at Hodapp.

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"We laid an egg," said Taylor Filipek, the senior two-way starter. "They were prepared to play and we weren't."

The Warriors dominated the first half to lead 21-0. The second half was closer, but the Warriors continued to pile up yards -- finishing with 368 on the ground and 435 overall.

Nathaniel Swoyer, a junior running back and inside linebacker, conceded that the Warriors commanded the line of scrimmage. "We weren't filling and holding our gaps. We were getting pushed around."

The Warriors were bigger, stronger and had a roster only slightly shorter than the Johnnies at Collegeville.

The Warriors, who had scored a total of 23 points coming into Willmar, punched for big chunks of yardage between the tackles.

Senior fullback Carsten Nelson picked up 135 yards in 18 carries while Kyle Crocker and Jordan Hayes went outside for combined 161 yards.

Willmar struck in the third quarter when quarterback Mark Dunham faked a screen and threw to Blake Graves down the sidelines for a 65-yard touchdown play.

Swoyer went in from 20 yards on a well-executed screen in the fourth quarter.

Dunham had a solid game while running for the bulk of Willmar's net yards and completing 19 of 28 passes for 269 yards with no interceptions.

"I'm feeling a lot better and more confident each game," said the senior quarterback who operates exclusively from the shotgun. "They were a lot more aggressive than us, but our linemen kept fighting and we kept working. It's still fun. It's football."

Willmar takes on Little Falls in a road game next week.

Brainerd 35, Willmar 13

Brainerd......................14 7 7 7 -- 35

Willmar.........................0 0 7 6 -- 13

Brd - Kyle Crocker 34 run (Cody Wangen kick)

Brd - Carsten Nelson 9 run (Wangen kick)

Brd - Taylor Main 2 run (Wangen kick)

Brd - Kyle Crocker 32 yard pass Reid Mimmeck (Wangen kick)

Wil - Blake Graves 65 pass from Mark Dunham (Mitch Fader kick)

Brd - Main 2 run (Wangen kick)

Wil - Nathaniel Swoyer 20 pass from Dunham (pass fail)

Brainerd

Team statistics

First downs: 18 ... Rushing: 52-368 ... Passing (com-att-yds-int.): 4-6-67-0 ... Fumbles lost:1 ... Penalties: n/a

Individual statistics

Rushing: Taylor Main 9-41, Jordan Hayes 11-75, Kyle Crocker 6-86, Dan Lauer 6-22, Carsten Nelson 18-135 ... Passing: Mimmack 4-5-67-0, Crocker 0-1-0-0 ... Receiving: Crocker 3-62, Dan Wheeler 1-5 ... Punting: Main 3-34.0 ... Interceptions: none ... Fumble recoveries: Crocker, Nate Gervenak, Jamie Barry

Willmar

Team statistics

First downs: 12 ... Rushing: 19-26 ... Passing (com-att-yds-int.): 19-28-269-0 ... Fumbles lost: 3 ... Penalties: n/a

Individual statistics

Rushing: Nathaniel Swoyer 7-3, Grant Schow 7-5, Mark Dunham 4-18, Ryan Horning 1-0 ... Passing: Dunham 19-28-269-0 ... Receiving: Ryan Lawler 4-57, Jeremy Schendel 1-7, Taylor Filipek 6-67, Blake Graves 5-99, Swoyer 1-20, Gabe Amon 1-10, Schow 1-9, ... Punting: Swoyer 2-39.0 ... Interceptions: none ... Fumble recoveries: Swoyer ... Tackles: Schendel 5, Jacob Damhof 3, Schow 2, Gabe Amon 2, Nate Esboldt 2, Filipek 3, Derrick Loiselle 12, Swoyer 12, Eugene Stepan 8, Coty Milhausen 10, Travis Peterson 2, Andrew Chermak 3 John Schlegel 6, Cole Christopher 7, Patrick Schueller 12, Adam Fagerstrom 2 ... QB sacks: none

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Rand Middleton

Covers Willmar and area high schools and Ridgewater College, plus amateur baseball, stock car racing and fitness events in summer. Writes weekly column since 1980. Began working in radio and at weekly newspaper in Munising, Michigan, in 1972. Started parttime at West Central Daily Tribune Sept. 1974. Fulltime beginning Feb. 1979. Married to Tribune news clerk Donna (Miller) Middleton, formerly of Kerkhoven. 2 grown children. 

(320) 214-4334
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