The Bemidji State football team will go into the 2011 season this fall with some new faces at key positions.
One of those positions is at quarterback where the Beavers must fill the void left by graduated three-year starter Derek Edholm.
BSU sophomore Lance Rongstad out of Eleva, Wis. has proved to be a capable backup behind Edholm the last two seasons and he flashed his abilities in Bemidji State’s spring game won by the offense 35-24 Thursday night at Chet Anderson Stadium.
In the simulated second quarter, Rongstad showed his arm strength by throwing a 42-yard pass to Cameron Abram. He followed by converting what appeared to be a broken play on third down into a touchdown.
Rongstad scrambled to one sideline, then turned directions and threw a two-yard touchdown pass to Dustin Kroeplin before running out of bounds on the opposite sideline.
Rongstad was 10-for-16 with 113 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the spring game. His other touchdown went to tight end Brian Leonhardt.
Rongstad, who also plays basketball for the Beavers, is expected to start under center for the Beavers in the home and season opener against Minot State Aug. 25 at Chet Anderson Stadium. He is being challenged by redshirt freshmen Alex Haas of Milaca and Sam King of Grand Forks.
“The quarterback and defensive line are the two major things we’re working on and we’re making progress in both areas,” Bemidji State head coach Jeff Tesch said. “We’re not as sharp at the quarterback position as we need to be – we need to make reads faster – but that all comes through reps, reps, reps and we’re on track for that.”
The defense will not have reliable all-conference ends in Rob Wills and Jordan Lardinois due to graduation next season, so BSU will need to fill those holes up front.
“They are an eager and ambitious group and right now there’s a lot of rotations,” Tesch said. “We probably won’t know who we’re going to start there until at the end of two-a-days next fall.”
Tesch was happy with the spring practice sessions and felt the team accomplished much without losing anyone to a serious injury.
The Beavers wrapped up the spring practices with the intrasquad scrimmage Thursday under a cloudy sky, cool temperatures and a brisk breeze off Lake Bemidji.
It was a spirited and physical game. Luke Knutson’s aggressive tackle of Haas on the sideline also brought down a few players serving on the chain gang when Hass went sliding into the benches against the bleacher wall.
Serving as public address announcer from the press box, Tesch reminded the defensive players the quarterbacks are protected in the spring game and are not to be tackled.
Kuntson was one of the defensive leaders in the game with five tackles and one sack. Jake Schmidt and Charlie Hrdlicka each had five tackles.
Kroeplin finished with 76 rushing yards on 13 attempts with a receiving and rushing touchdown.
The scoring system for the game was divided into four 15-play quarters with play allowed to continue beyond 15 plays if the offense is driving.
The offense was awarded one point for a first down, six points for a touchdown, one point for an extra point, three points for a field goal and two points for a penalty against the defense.
The defense scored two points for preventing the offense from gaining a first down or a missed field goal, six points for a turnover and two points for a penalty against the offense.
Box score (unofficial)
Passing (c-a-yds-int-td): Rongstad 10-16-113-0-2, Haas 4-7-48-0-0, King 0-6-0-0-0.
Rushing (att-yds-td): Kroeplin 13-76-1, Flaata 9-20-0, Haas 5-20-0, Rongstad 2-8-0, Jones 3-7-0, J. Lee 1-5-0, Metz 3-4-0, Kondziolka 2-2-0, Dale 1-1-0, King 2-(-2).
Receiving (rec-yds-td): Abram 3-61-0, Leonhardt 2-17-1, Wakefield 1-17-0, Dale 1-15-0, Kondziolka 2-14-0, Metz 1-13-0, Gandrud 1-4-0, Flaata 1-2-0, Kroeplin 1-2-1.
Tackles: Bromm 5, Hrdlicka 5, Knutson 5, Schmidt 5, Olson 4, Gerding 3, Kiebler 3, Scheff 3, Young 3, Bueckers 2, Christensen 2, Crosby 2, Jordan 2, Miller 2, Reinke 2, Shaver 2, Wright 2, Sczepanski 1 Syrstad 1.
Sacks: Kiebler 1, Knutson 1, Shaver 1, Wright 1, Young 1, Bromm .5, Christensen .5.