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Published October 21 2010

High school football: Moorhead ends regular season at 4-4

First-round playoff games might be a guarantee in Minnesota.

Winning games during the regular season isn’t. That mindset is a luxury most teams are not afforded, and that’s the point Moorhead football coach Kevin Feeney made to his team.

Poor effort among other things, Feeney said, are why Moorhead lost 20-14 to Alexandria on Wednesday in its regular-season finale at Jim Gotta Stadium.

“We are not nearly a good football team to think we can show up and win a football game against anybody,” said Feeney, who ends his first regular season at Moorhead at 4-4. “It’s that simple.”

Alexandria, which had lost three games in a row, finishes the regular season at 5-3.

What bothered Feeney most is that his team still ran the same schemes through the whole game.

The Spuds recovered from a poor first half where they rushed for 18 yards, threw for 23, had two fumbles, an interception and two three-and-outs.

Couple that with Alexandria taking a 14-0 lead, it wasn’t exactly the start Moorhead had hoped for.

“I don’t think we were mentally prepared in that first half,” said fullback Matt Duginski, who rushed for a team-high 92 yards on 19 attempts. “We gave up those two early touchdowns but picked it up in the third.”

Moorhead opened the third quarter by cutting the lead to 14-7 on a six-yard touchdown pass by Duginski.

In their first possession in the fourth, the Spuds tied the game at 14-14 on just two plays.

That drive was set up by Jesse Doschadis’s 72-yard pass to Chase Morlock and capped by Duginski’s touchdown.

Moorhead had a chance to win with 2:38 left but, a fumbled snap on a punt attempt put Alexandria at the Moorhead 35 with 1:01 left.

Two plays later, the Cardinals scored on a 1-yard touchdown run by Michael Joerger for a 20-14 lead.

“With us, we just came together,” said Joerger, who rushed for a game-high 102 yards and three touchdowns. “There have been times this season where it’s been the offense one game or the defense one game. Tonight both of us played well.”

Moorhead’s last chance at a rally appeared to be doomed from the start.

The drive started with an illegal formation penalty after a receiver was late getting onto the field.

Eventually, the drive ended with Doschadis getting sacked after not finding an open receiver downfield.

The loss ensured Moorhead would not be the No. 2 seed but would at least play the first round game at home at 7 p.m. on Tuesday.

Feeney said by the time that game rolls around, things need to change.

“We need someone to step up in those tough situations,” Feeney said. “We have good leadership capabilities and how we respond from this will tell a lot about this football team.”

Alexandria 0 14 0 6–20

Moorhead 0 0 7 7–14

A–Joerger 62 run (Knoblach kick)

A–Joerger 1 run (Knoblach kick)

M–Duginski 6 run (Raymond kick)

M–Duginski 1 run (Raymond kick)

A–Joerger 1 run (kick failed)

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING: A–Joerger 18-102, Giroux 16-67, Ellison 8-16. M–Duginski 19-92, Morlock 4-16, Uglem 3-(-6), Doschadis 8-(1).

PASSING: A–Ellison 6-9-0 98 yards. M–Doschadis 9-16-1 147 yards

RECEIVING: A–Giroux 3-53, Murphy 1-22, Anderson 1-14. M–Uglem 2-13, Morlock 2-80, Burns 2-27, Bye 1-15, Ness 2-12

Inforum searchword: Moorhead Spuds

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Ryan S. Clark at (701) 241-5548