Bombers win Section 7A championshipThe Bombers are now going to their third state tournament in the past seven seasons, their first since 2010. Barnum (9-2), winners of nine straight, will face top-ranked Mahnomen in a state Class A quarterfinal Saturday at noon, again at PSS.
By: Tyler Korby, Pine Journal
DULUTH – Barnum senior Daniel Warpula rushed for 148 yards on nine carries, including touchdown runs of 58 and 60 yards, to lead the Bombers to a 30-18 victory over Cook County in the Section 7A championship game last Thursday evening at
Public Schools Stadium in Duluth.
“When I see green grass, I’m going,” Warpula said. “But it starts with our line; they open it up so much and make it really easy. I have three different choices of where I can go.”
The Bombers are now going to their third state tournament in the past seven seasons, their first since 2010. Barnum (9-2), winners of nine straight, will face top-ranked Mahnomen in a state Class A quarterfinal Saturday at noon, again at PSS.
“This has been our goal since the beginning of the football season; it’s an awesome feeling, I can’t even describe it,” said Barnum sophomore Brandon Newman, whose older brother, Justin, played on the 2010 team. “We just kept pushing; kept chopping.”
Warpula chopped the Vikings on the game’s first possession last week, as the 5-foot-11, 150-pound running back took a handoff on the right side of the Bombers’ double-wing offense and sprinted 58 yards down the left sideline. The highlight-reel score has become usual for Barnum this fall, using more big plays to stretch the field.
Zac Carlson hit Colton Selix for a 59-yard scoring heave, and Warpula later raced 60 yards for his 19th touchdown to surpass the 1,100-yard mark for the season. Newman added a 1-yard plunge midway through the second quarter of a game in which Barnum never trailed, adding to a 30-7 win over host Cook County Sept. 14.
The Bombers led 30-12 at halftime, following a pair of Colin Everson scores for Cook County. Kale Boomer added a third-quarter touchdown for the Vikings, who didn’t give up in their fight for the title.
“I told the guys 30 points wasn’t going to be enough; fortunately it was,” said first-year Barnum Coach Brian Robertson. “I don’t think since the last time we played up at Cook County that we’ve played a full four quarters with our varsity guys.”
In the fourth quarter, Boomer was stuffed just inches from the goal line on a quarterback keeper on fourth-and-8. The Vikings, which finished 8-2, watched Barnum run out the final 5:41.
“We made a few mistakes and they capitalized with some big plays – a lot of plays to keep me up tonight,” said Cook County Coach Mitch Dorr. “We didn’t play well enough in that first half. We got in a hole and you can’t get in holes against good teams.”
Robertson, who played for Stephen-Argyle’s state championship team in 1999, said week one and two losses to Moose Lake-Willow River and Cloquet are his team’s motivation.
“They still look back at those games; they remember that feeling of not being on top,” he said. “They’ve worked hard all offseason and season long. This is all very deserving for them.”