Pat Miller / Forum News Service, Published October 16 2013
VIDEO: Late touchdown helps Spuds rally past Bemidji
Moorhead quarterback Tyler Eidsness hit 6-foot-4 wide receiver Brett Lawrence with a 43-yard touchdown pass in the final seconds to give the Spuds a 28-21 victory over the Lumberjacks in the final regular-season game for both teams.
Bemidji (6-2) had victory in hand when Ben Christopher stepped in front of a Moorhead receiver at the Jacks’ 35-yard line and returned the interception all the way to the Moorhead 16.
The Lumberjacks owned a 21-20 lead when Christopher made the play with two minutes to go in the game.
On the next play, Wakinyan Moore scampered into the end zone for what would have been the clinching touchdown, but the score was called back because of a holding penalty.
The Jacks eventually came away empty-handed as a third-down pass from James Hendricks to Ryan Hirt was intercepted in the end zone, and Moorhead gained new life with the ball at its 20-yard line.
Needing to go 80 yards without a timeout, Eidsness and his offense went to work. With the help of a facemask penalty called against Bemidji and an effective short passing game, the Spuds advanced to Bemidji’s 43 and faced a fourth down with 9 seconds to play.
On the final play, the senior raced along the left sidelines, used his tall frame to snatch the ball over the defense at the 5-yard line and waltzed into the end zone for the winning score.
“We have to quit stopping ourselves on offense, we have to win the turnover battle for a change and we have to defend the pass better,” Bemidji coach Troy Hendricks said. “But all of those mistakes are correctible.”
Both teams scored on their initial drives. Bemidji took a 7-0 lead three minutes into the game when Tanner Boes found the end zone on a 3-yard run, which capped a 77-yard march.
The Spuds responded with a 75-yard march that culminated with Jade Lawrence’s 11-yard TD run.
The 7-7 deadlock carried into the second quarter, but late in the period Bemidji committed its first turnover when a Hendricks pass was picked by Nate Stitch deep in Moorhead territory.
Stitch returned the interception to the Lumberjacks’ 46, and eight plays later Jacob Wiedrich booted a 33-yard field goal to give the Spuds a 10-7 lead.
Bemidji handed Moorhead its next touchdown as a Hendricks fumble was recovered by Brady Andersen at the Spuds’ 26, and Anderson returned it for a touchdown.
Defenses controlled play the rest of the half but with 1:16 to go in the second quarter Hendricks and his offense worked a 51-yard drive that was capped with Ryan Hirt’s diving catch of a 7-yard pass in the far left corner of the end zone.
Bemidji trailed 17-14 at the break.
Moorhead (5-3) opened the second half with a sustained drive that ended with Wiedrich’s 28-yard field goal, and the visitors maintained the 20-14 edge into the final 12 minutes.
Midway through the fourth quarter, however, Bemidji regained the lead when Boes scored on a 2-yard run. Will Annette’s extra point provided a 21-20 Bemidji lead and set the table for the dramatic ending.
M 7 10 3 8–28
B 7 7 0 7–21
B–Boes 3 run (Annette kick)
M–J. Lawrence 11 run (Wiedrich kick)
M–Wiedrich 33 FG
M–Andersen 74 fumble recovery (Wiedrich kick)
B–Hirt 7 pass from Hendricks (Annette kick)
M–Wiedrich 28 FG
B–Boes 2 run (Annette kick)
M–B. Lawrence 43 pass from Eidsness (B. Lawrence pass from Eidsness)
Miller writes for the Bemidji Pioneer