Spuds roll past Alex football in playoff opener
After an overtime loss to Brainerd less than two weeks ago in which Moorhead wide receiver Brett Lawrence did not catch a pass with very few thrown his way, Spuds coach Kevin Feeney sent him a text saying he was still a target.
As a 6-foot-5 state-qualifying sprinter, Lawrence doesn’t have a choice whether he’s a target or not, no matter how much he likes blocking.
“I do really like blocking, but I like catching the ball,” Lawrence said. “I want the ball in my hands.”
Lawrence got all he could ask for Tuesday in the Minnesota Class 5A, Section 8 quarterfinals at Jim Gotta Stadium, hauling in 10 passes for 113 yards and two touchdowns to lead Moorhead over Alexandria 42-7.
The victory came six days after Lawrence hauled in a 43-yard touchdown pass with 9 seconds left in a 28-21 win for the Spuds over Bemidji to close out the regular season.
Feeney had a hard time trying to remember how they lost Lawrence in the first place.
“How many times are you going to get a 6-5 wideout who has the ability to catch the ball like Brett,” Feeney said. “We need to take advantage of that. We made a point of it after the Brainerd game that he needs to get the ball and he needs to get a chance.”
Moorhead quarterback Tyler Eidsness was more than happy with the Lawrence game plan. Eidsness had 19 passes in the win over Alexandria, 11 of which went to Lawrence, who accounted for all but 22 of Eidsness’ 135 yards and two of his three passing touchdowns.
“I just try to give him a chance,” Eidsness said. “He’s a big target, he goes up and gets the ball and he makes me look good. For some reason, we just forgot about the big weapon that we have. We definitely have gotten it back.”
After forcing an Alexandria (2-7) punt on the first drive of the game, Moorhead went 49 yards in 11 plays, capping the drive with a 3-yard touchdown pass from Eidsness to Lawrence on fourth-and-goal from the 3.
The Spuds (6-3) recovered a fumble on a bad snap on the ensuing Cardinals possession and scored six plays later on a Jade Lawrence 10-yard run. Seven plays after an interception for Tyler Stich, Mike Duginski went 23 yards for a touchdown with 2 minutes, 12 seconds left in the half. Two minutes later left, Eidsness found Brett Lawrence for a 17-yard touchdown pass to take a 28-0 lead into the half.
“We came out and executed right out of the gate,” Feeney said. “We wanted to come out fast and our kids did that. We really wanted to start fast and come out of the half fast.”
Moorhead didn’t exactly come out of the half fast, but the Spuds were effective. They marched 81 yards in six minutes and 13 plays, capping the drive with Eidsness’ third touchdown pass of the day, finding Jeff Richards to make it 35-0.
“Earlier today I wasn’t feeling very good,” Eidsness said. “I was sick to my stomach because (Alexandria) is a tough team and they played really well the past couple of weeks, but we prepared very well and came out firing on all cylinders.”
Moorhead will play at top-seeded St. Cloud Apollo on Saturday at a time to be determined. The Spuds lost to St. Cloud Apollo 27-20 in Week 2.
“They handed it to us the last time we went out there,” Feeney said. “They earned the right to be the No. 1 seed. They kicked the snot out of us, and we have to be ready to compete.”
By Chris Murphy/Fargo Forum
A 0 0 0 7– 7
M 14 14 14 0–42
M-B. Lawrence 3 pass from Eidsness (Wiedrich kick)
M-J. Lawrence 10 run (Wiedrich kick)
M-Duginski 23 run (Wiedrich kick)
M-B. Lawrence 17 pass from Eidsness (Wiedrich kick)
M-Richards 11 pass from Eidsness (Wiedrich kick)
M-Delbrune 26 run (Wiedrich kick)
A-Peck 1 run (Kuhn kick)
RUSHING: A, Peck 12-50, Vogeler 10-29. M, Eidsness 7-35, J. Lawrence 6-23, Duginski 4-25, Rage 3-22. Gotta 12-48, Bye 1-1, Delbrune 2-26, Klindt 4-25, Taylor 1-8, Nelson 1-0.
PASSING: A, Vogeler 7-13-1 67 yards. M, Eidsness 14-19-0 135 yards.
RECEIVING: M, B. Lawrence 10-113, J. Lawrence 1-0, Duginski 1-11, Richards 1-11. A, Krivanek 4-33, Hvezda 2-22, Peck 1-12.