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Echo Press photo by Lori Mork Bemidji runningback Czar Woods (22) was hauled down by Cardinal defensemen Felix Coleman (1) and Joe Hurlbut (89) as teammates also jumped in to help. Coleman finished the day with 11 tackles and Hurlbut contributed four.

Homecoming: Cards win big

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The Alexandria football team capped off homecoming week with a big second half that led to a 28-17 win over Bemidji on Saturday afternoon.

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The fans who packed Citizens Field were a little nervous with the Cardinals down 17-14 at halftime. Alexandria erased any doubts in the final two quarters with two touchdowns and a defense that held the Lumberjacks scoreless.

Bemidji kicked a 30-yard field goal before the end of the first half to break the 14-14 tie. That is how things would go into the fourth as both teams failed to score in the third.

But in the fourth, the Cardinals' athletes took over. Colin Erickson gave his team the lead with a 29-yard touchdown run. He then connected with Mark Whiting later in the fourth for a nine-yard touchdown pass that put the finishing touches on the win.

Alexandria is a team capable of putting up points in a hurry. The Cardinals have used big plays all season to take the life out of teams. They did so again on Saturday, especially in the first half to stay close.

Michael Joerger was the first to connect on a long scoring play. He busted a 55-yard run in the first quarter. Whiting then followed that with a 58-yard reception from Whiting in the second quarter.

It was the play of the Cardinal defense that made those big plays add up to a win. The Lumberjacks gained 191 yards in the first half but were held to just 58 in the second. Ethan Favor-Jackson had a big day with four tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble. Felix Coleman led the team with 11 tackles, while Cody Erkkila added 10.

That allowed the offensive playmakers to step up in the second half. Joerger led a rushing attack that racked up 224 yards on the ground. He finished with 81 yards on 11 carries. Parker Giroux added 72 yards on 13 carries, and Erickson rushed five times for 54 yards. Erickson also threw for 93 yards and the two scores to Whiting.

The end result was the Cardinals' third win in a row. They moved to 3-1 as they head to Rocori this Friday night looking for their second Central Lakes Conference win of the season.

The only disappointment on Saturday came from the loss of senior captain Tyler Johnson. Johnson injured his wrist in the first half and is expected to miss a few games.

GAME STATISTICS

BEMIDJI 7 10 0 0 - 17

ALEXANDRIA 7 7 0 14 - 28

ALEXANDRIA LEADERS - OFFENSE - Rushing - Michael Joerger - 11 caries, 81 yards, TD; Parker Giroux - 13 carries, 72 yards; Colin Erickson - 5 carries, 54 yards, TD; Mark Whiting - 2 carries, 10 yards; Tyler Iverson - 1 carry, 7 yards; Receiving - Whiting - 3 catches, 67 yards, 2 TD; Ross Thompson - 2 catches, 26 yards; Passing - Erickson - 5-12, 93 yards, 2 TD

DEFENSE - Felix Coleman - 11 tackles; Ross Thompson - 5 tackles; Trevor Zolin - 7 tackles; Lucas Betterman - 3 tackles, fumble recovery; Bob Guetter - 5 tackles; Cody Erkkila - 10 tackles; Cody Koudela - 2 tackles; Ethan Favor-Jackson - 4 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble; Derek Bullock - 3 tackles, 1 sack; Ross Carlson - 6 tackles; Joe Hurlbut - 4 tackles; Andy Bouressa - blocked field goal

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