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Bombers bury Warriors, bring on Braham

Barnum senior Zac Carlson dodges Deer River's Colton Hines during the third quarter of a Section 7A semifinal playoff game on Saturday. Carlson scored one of the Bombers' touchdowns in their 44-2 victory. Jamie Lund/Pine Journal1 / 2
The Bombers (right) celebrate their win. Jamie Lund/Pine Journal2 / 2

Don't fault Brian Robertson's Barnum football team for their lack of excitement, that's just the way they compete.

The Bombers completely controlled Saturday's 44-2 trouncing of Deer River in a Section 7A prep football semifinal win at Barnum, and soon after, it was back to work.

"We're not the biggest rah-rah bunch," said Robertson.

The Bombers, ranked eighth in Class A, racked up 371 yards of offense, as junior quarterback Brandon Newman ran for three touchdowns and threw another to running back Zac Carlson during a 44-point scoring stretch.

The Warriors' only score came on a fourth-quarter safety.

"These guys are focused and know what they have to do," said Robertson, in his second season at the helm. "And they do it well."

Focus has led No. 8 Barnum (9-1) back to face No. 4 Braham (10-0) for the Section 7A championship today (Oct. 31) at 4:45 p.m. at Public Schools Stadium in Duluth. The pair of Bombers previously met Oct. 4, a must-see Class A game Braham won 28-6 on the road, handing Barnum their sole loss on the year.

"They're good," said Carlson of unbeaten Braham, a team that uses at shotgun-spread offense unlike any up north. "We've been working on our pass defense a lot this week.

"We weren't ready for their passing the first time we played them, but I think we are now," continued Carlson, a senior, who scored two times Saturday, including his game-long 37-yard catch via Newman in a 22-point third quarter.

"We're playing pretty good football right now," added Newman. "We're always stressing to play our A game."

A win Thursday will not only avenge an earlier season blemish, but also earn Barnum a repeat state tournament bid, something Robertson said even his rah-rah-less team wants.

"It's a chance to get back to State, but also a time to beat a team that beat you -- that only makes it a little bit sweeter, Robertson said. "They wish it was sooner. They're itching."

"I can't wait," Carlson added. "I have butterflies now."

Section 5 Nine-Man

Like Barnum, South Ridge now seeks their second straight state berth, as the Panthers passed by Wrenshall 26-6 in a Section 5 nine-man semifinal Saturday in Cherry.

South Ridge (9-1), led by Spencer Otis' three touchdown passes on Saturday, now enters Friday night's Section 5 title tilt with unbeaten Floodwood (10-0) at 7 p.m. in Esko.

"They are physical and athletic," Panthers Coach Tom Spaniol said, "but our guys are physical and athletic as well."

Wrenshall finished 5-5, their best season in many years.

"We can't in any way be unhappy about our year," Wrens Coach Jeremy Zywicki said. "We made quite the turnaround."