After-burner long runs, deep fly route pass completions and nearly a half dozen quarterback sacks were featured as the Barnum Bombers football team flew way over the Braham Bombers by a score of 52-13 in Barnum on Friday, September 28. It was a beautiful, 60-degree, full-moon evening as Barnum improved to 3-2 and 3-0 to lead the Great Polar Red Conference with the win. Braham went to 3-2 on the season, suffering their first conference defeat of the year.
Barnum, with Daniel Warpula leading the way with only eight carries for 176 yards and three touchdowns, and Cody Shelgren with a combined 175 yards passing and receiving and two touchdowns, had well over 400 yards of total offense. Brandon Newman threw the perfect ball that hit Shelgren on a fly route on stride for a TD.
Beyond the five touchdowns combined by Warpula and Shelgren, Barnum got two touchdowns on runs of one and 27 yards from Zach Peterson. Warpula, Shelgren, Peterson, Newman and Colton Selix each ran in two-point conversions to cap off the Barnum scoring as one extra point kick was blocked and one was missed.
Braham was able to get two rather meaningless late-game scores. Braham scored a TD in the third quarter on a Casey Grell pass to Sam Stigen. With Zach Dahlman hitting the kick, the score was 52-7 heading into the final frame which would, by rule, be played in running time. Braham tacked one last score in that time as Randy Braund got free for a 46-yard run. With the pass for points missing, the final tally ended at a blowout of 52-13 for Barnum.
Braham’s kickoff was a short bouncer and was pounced on by Barnum's Tanner Fuglestad. Peterson went right for 8 yards. Mitchell Weller ran right behind a nice block by Peterson for a first down to the 35 at 11:14.
Peterson got very little in the middle, but on the next play found a big hole and a first to the 17 at 10:09. On second and 10, Warpula went right for 5 to the 16. It was Warpula around the right side for a 16-yard TD. Warpula was denied on the inside on a two-point try, but a flag for a face mask for half the distance and Warpula spun in for 8-0 at 9:01.
Winding up facing a four-and-13 thanks to big hits by Barnum captain Sam Anderson and a big hit by Peterson, Braham was forced to punt at 6:33, but they did get a good roll to the 35.
Barnum would go on another fast drive. Shelgren had a long left side run to Braham’s 25. Peterson went left and broke two or three tackles on a 25-yard rumble of a score. Newman ran in the extra points for 16-0 at 5:13.
The kick was short to the left and returned to the 32. Newman and two teammates were back to defend very well against a long pass. Area sack leader and Barnum captain John Zmyslony made it number five on the season for third-and-21 at 4:36. Zmyslony would have had number six on the very next play, but Braham’s quarterback made it a no-brainer to throw the flag for intentional grounding and Braham punted it away to 4:14.
Barnum's Zac Carlson got a few to the right to the 49 and Warpula made a couple too. Warpula raced 49 yards for an exciting score. With Shelgren taking a little pitch for the two-point the score grew to 24-0 at 3:26.
Braham possessed the ball for two ticks over two minutes, a short punt died on the 38.
Barnum would go on another scoring drive. Peterson hit the middle for five. A flag flew on the next play as Newman looked to pass left, but someone was an illegal man down field for Barnum’s first penalty of the evening. On second-and-nine Warpula made a long run down the left and was forced just before the goal line. Powerback Peterson got the call and took it over the last yard on the right side. Peterson also drew the two-point assignment and it was good on the right side as well with the score ballooning to 32-0 with 31.2 still remaining in the first quarter.
A hard liner hit a Braham player, but he covered to avert more disaster. A quick pass was well-covered by Sam Anderson to close the quarter.
A middle run was snuffed by Zmyslony. A long pass was expertly covered by Newman. A Braham Bomber finally got free for a few, but a flag for holding spoiled the decent gainer and Braham moved backwards and a low roller of a punt was left alone.
Barnum struck with a bomb. Newman dropped back and with great protection threw a perfect ball to hit the speedy Shelgren right on stride for a 74-yard stunner. Newman tossed a nice little ball to Selix for the two-point and it was 40-0. And that’s how the score would read at the break.
Barnum would go on to put more points on the board in the third quarter. Finding out the run was going nowhere, Braham resorted to parsing and Barnum’s good overage would pay off. Seth Vogt nearly had an interception and Selix did get one at the 40 at 6:04.
The Bombers would cover on the turnover and it would happen in a hurry. Selix fought off tackles for a first down. Warpula flew around the left side 27-yard sprint. The kick for point was quite low and batted back Braham's Dahlman, but at 9:32 of the third quarter it mattered little as Barnum had literally raced to a 46-0 lead.
Soon it would be Shelgren scoring again. Selix went for five in the middle in some tough going. Selix got free for a long run. Fuglestad took it to the two, but an illegal shift moved it back. Shelgren hit the left side and popped through for 50-0 at 3:12 of the third quarter.
Barnum's Richard Parzy made a good hit on a special team kick return defensive squad, some of the younger kids got in their licks and more were rotated.
Braham finally got a first down on pass, but it lasted only a short time. Vogt got the interception he had been trying for on a pass own the left side at 2:38.
Barnum had its first misfire of the night as with the second and third stringer getting time, the ball was dropped and recovered by Braham. Weller and Fuglestad were still in the game and they made their presence known with a quarterback sack. Stigan rolled right and completed a long pass to Dahlman. A pass on the fly route down the middle was Dahlman getting free for a 27-yard scoring play and Braham was not blanked as the score was 52-7 with 52.7 left to play before running time by rule would start in the fourth frame.
The Barnum Bombers did end having to punt and with little practice on the night Weller hit a very good one from his own 44 to the 15. Fumbles by each team would ensue. A Braham player was able to run for a first. Fuglestad sacked reserve Braham QB John Larson for a loss of 15. Stephen Swanson got the third Barnum pick of the night, an interception at 7:20.
Selix ran right for a first. Peterson made it second-and-five and Warpula made it third-and-three. Selix had a good gain on the right, but Barnum's second flag — this one for an illegal block — moved Barnum back to the 20 yard line. On fourth-and-eight, Newman had a nice roll left pass attempt to Selix, but Braham's Grell got in to bat it away on a good defensive effort.
Larson was able to get a first down on a keeper, but soon it was Weller cleaning up a Zmyslony attack for another sack after Larson had scrambled all over the place. Braham did put one more on the board in the fourth quarter on a 46 yard run by Braund. When the dust settled and the disheartened Braham team met to shake hands, it was evident that Coach Brian Robertson’s Barnum Bombers had played a very, very good game of football on both sides of the ball. They had the short run, the long run, the short pass, the long pass, the quarterback sacks and the pass interceptions.
The 3-2 Barnum Bombers hit the road to play the 1-5 Mesabi East Giants Friday, October 5 at 7 p.m. If the play like the Braham game it, could very well be another blowout. The homecoming game is Friday, October 12 at 7 p.m. It’s a rivalry that seems to intensify every year with the East Central Eagles. However, this year East Central is only 1-4, so the odds should favor the Bombers, but on Friday nights sometimes teams get brought back to reality; other times they continue a quest for glory.