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Barnum football coach Brian Robertson gives a play call to junior tight end Paul Vogt during the second quarter last Friday night in Barnum. The Bombers, ranked second in Class A, fell to ninth-rated Braham 28-6, marking their first defeat of the season. Tyler Korby /Pine Journal

Battle of the Bombers: Braham bests Barnum

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Battle of the Bombers: Braham bests Barnum
Cloquet Minnesota 122 Avenue C 55720

BARNUM -- In a battle of state-ranked Bombers, Braham showed Barnum they were the better of each identical small-school mascots in more ways than one.

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Not only did Class A's No. 9 Braham beat No. 2 Barnum 28-6 in a marquee prep football meeting last Friday in Barnum, but the visiting Bombers buried the host Bombers with their wide-open offensive attack, accounting for 448 total yards.

Unlike most northern schools, unbeaten Braham brings a shotgun formation to nearly every snap of offense. Even last Friday -- with gusty winds, steady mist and temperatures hovering in the upper 40s -- Braham operated effectively behind quarterback John Larson's 167 yards in the air and 81 more on the ground, accounting for three of their four scores.

"They were good," said Barnum senior fullback and linebacker Zach Peterson. "The best team we've played."

Barnum (5-1) played defense most of the first half, while their best offensive chance was stuffed when Braham's Johnny Clemmer sacked Barnum quarterback Brandon Newman on fourth-and-3 on the 19 with 47 seconds left.

A scoreless third quarter preceded a pair of Braham touchdowns in the fourth. Newman later found Peterson on a 30-yard touchdown pass for Barnum, but it was far too late in their first defeat of the season.

"They have some good athletes and we never see passing like that up here," Newman said of Braham, now 6-0. "We haven't been challenged like that yet this season. It was a wake-up call for us, but I think we'll use it as motivation."

Second-year Barnum Coach Brian Robertson said his team is motivated and ready for Friday's Great Polar Red matchup at one-win Ogilvie. Robertson, who watched his Bombers go all the way to the Class A state tournament a year ago, noted last week's loss won't define their season.

It's a season that could soon see each favored Section 7A school playing again, for a championship on Halloween.

"Could we play Barnum again? Sure -- they have a very quality football team," eighth-year Braham Coach Shawn Kuhnke said. "And we know we'll have to play well again."

By then, it'll be more than just mascot rights.

"They got on us quick and we got behind the eight-ball," Robertson said of last week's 22-point loss. "But if we get another shot, we'll be ready. The kids will be itching for it."

"We're a good team -- I think we'll bounce back," added Peterson. "Hopefully we'll be seeing them again."

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