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Semi-pro football: Snowmen melt in 32-6 playoff loss

Lakes Area Snowmen head coach JJ Kern watches from a knee on the sideline during a game against Minot at Alexandria Area High School on July 16. (Eric Morken / Echo Press)

The Lakes Area Snowmen found themselves on the wrong end of an upset Saturday.

The Snowmen brought the No. 1 seed and home field advantage into the Midwest Premier Football League playoffs, but the fourth-seeded Tri City Northstars threw it all out the window with a 32-6 win at Alexandria Area High School on Saturday, Aug. 4.

“We came in knowing that, if we played our best game, we could win the game. If we didn’t, we would lose,” Snowmen head coach JJ Kern said. “We definitely didn't play our best football. I think it’s that simple right there.”

Kern knew not to take the Northstars lightly. They are the only team that beat Lakes Area all season after beating the Snowmen 24-12 on May 19 and 28-22 on June 30. Lakes Area went 8-0 against all other opponents.

Tri City found the scoreboard in each of the first two quarters on Saturday, which made for a 14-0 game at halftime. They added another six points in the third quarter to bring on a 20-0 lead.

“Once they got ahead of us, we tried getting a little out of our game plan, per se. We were wanting to run the ball a lot more than trying to (pass),” said Kern. “When you’re down 20-0 in the second half, you have to try to throw the ball to catch up. It wasn’t really our strength at that point in the season.”

Lakes Area finally scored in the fourth quarter, but the Northstars saw their six points and raised them six more. In all, it added up to the 32-6 drubbing.

“We had a couple plays where we let a couple opportunities get away from us. Dropped a couple balls that could’ve been touchdowns,” Kern said. “I really feel, if we would’ve capitalized on a couple of those, that we would’ve jumped up on top of them. It would’ve been a completely different feel. However, it is what it is. We got behind, and it wasn’t our day.”

And although the Snowmen didn’t have the game they wanted, Kern was also quick to praise Tri City’s efforts.

“A lot of bounces didn’t go our way, but respect to them. They came prepared and ready to go,” he said. “Plain and simple, it wasn’t our best day. We lost the game to a good team.”

Despite elimination from the playoffs, Lakes Area has one more chance to suit up this season.

The Snowmen will play the Northern Elite Football League’s River City Rough Riders, of La Crosse, Wis., at 11 a.m. Oct. 7 as part of the 2018 Winter Pigskin Classic at U.S. Bank Stadium. The Minnesota Storm, a fellow MPFL member, will also participate in the 24-team event.

Micah Friez

Micah Friez covers Bemidji State basketball and BSU for the Bemidji Pioneer. A native of East Grand Forks, Minn., he is a 2018 graduate of Bemidji State with a degree in Creative and Professional Writing. Follow him on Twitter at @micahfriez for Beaver basketball updates.

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