BOYS SOCCER: Bowman, Rogers issue season-ending blow to Bemidji – Bemidji Pioneer

Bemidji senior keeper John McNallan dives for a ball during a Section 8-3A Tournament game against Rogers on Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021, at Rogers. (Photo courtesy of Lainie Hiller Photography)

ROGERS — Alex Bowman buried the Bemidji High School boys soccer team again and again on Thursday night.
The Rogers striker netted four goals and two assists in the opening round of the Section 8-3A Tournament, powering the third-seeded Royals to a lopsided 7-1 win over the sixth-seeded Lumberjacks in Rogers.
“These guys were really good,” BHS head coach Rick Toward said. “(Bowman) was very fast and could finish at full speed, so he was special.”
Thursday’s loss made history in more ways than one. Not only was it the first-ever matchup between the two programs, it was also Bemidji’s first opening-round exit of the section tournament since 2008. The end of that streak doesn’t tell the full story on its own, of course, as the longtime Section 8A powerhouse had been uprooted and thrown into Section 8-3A this year.
“This is the kind of competition we would have seen toward the semis or the finals when we were playing in (Class A),” Toward said.

Bemidji senior Noah Johnson runs upfield with the ball during a Section 8-3A Tournament game against Rogers on Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021, at Rogers. (Photo courtesy of Lainie Hiller Photography)
Bemidji senior Noah Johnson runs upfield with the ball during a Section 8-3A Tournament game against Rogers on Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021, at Rogers. (Photo courtesy of Lainie Hiller Photography)

Rogers’ seven goals are also the most the Jacks have conceded in one game since allowing eight against Moorhead in 2009.
Bowman had the opening goal in the 18th minute, but Brodie Price drew BHS level with a strike of his own in the 28th minute. Price turned a Noah Johnson pass into a first-time strike, bouncing it into the side netting for a 1-1 match.
“We didn’t know what we were getting ourselves into with this,” Toward said. “We’ve never played this team. … To be able to come back from one down and tie it up on that goal by Brodie, yeah, we felt like we were right in it.”

The Lumberjacks celebrate Brodie Price's (17) goal in the first half of a Section 8-3A Tournament game against Rogers on Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021, at Rogers. (Photo courtesy of Lainie Hiller Photography)
The Lumberjacks celebrate Brodie Price's (17) goal in the first half of a Section 8-3A Tournament game against Rogers on Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021, at Rogers. (Photo courtesy of Lainie Hiller Photography)

The Royals (11-6) snuck out another score before the half, as Bowman assisted Isaiah Brown for a goal just five minutes after Price’s equalizer.
And Bowman lit it up after halftime, too. After assisting Kael Sandberg in the 46th minute, he netted goals in the 55th, 63rd and 64th minutes for a suddenly crooked 6-1 advantage. Alexander Paulson added the closing goal in the 75th minute to bring on the final margin.
“Obviously we couldn’t (contain Bowman),” Toward said. “We tried a couple different strategies. … It went off the rails pretty quickly in the second half. They got that third goal, and the doors just kind of opened until they took him off the field.”
Bemidji goalkeeper John McNallan finished with five saves in his final career start, while Rogers keeper Tyler Esterberg tallied three saves.

Bemidji senior keeper John McNallan dives for a ball during a Section 8-3A Tournament game against Rogers on Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021, at Rogers. (Photo courtesy of Lainie Hiller Photography)
Bemidji senior keeper John McNallan dives for a ball during a Section 8-3A Tournament game against Rogers on Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021, at Rogers. (Photo courtesy of Lainie Hiller Photography)

The Lumberjacks finish the year 4-10-2 and graduate seven seniors in Max Harris, Casey Hiller, Zane Hiller, Wil King, Reece Melville, Johnson and McNallan.
“They’ve always been a pretty unselfish group,” Toward said of the seniors. “If you look at our scoresheets throughout the season, we have a bunch of kids that scored goals this year, not just one or two kids that dominated.
“They like to share the ball with one another and share in one another’s successes. … That says a lot about them as young men: the idea that wins and losses don’t always reflect the type of person and player you have on the field.”



No. 3 Rogers 7, No. 6 Bemidji 1
BHS 1 0 — 1
ROG 2 5 — 7
First half — 1, ROG GOAL, Bowman (unassisted), 18’; 2, BHS GOAL, Price (N. Johnson), 28’; 3, ROG GOAL, Brown (Bowman), 33’.
Second half — 4, ROG GOAL, Sandberg (Bowman), 46’; 5, ROG GOAL, Bowman (Brown), 55’; 6, ROG GOAL, Bowman (Sandberg), 63’; 7, ROG GOAL, Bowman (unassisted), 64’; 8, ROG GOAL, Paulson (Nelson), 75’.
Saves — McNallan (BHS) 5; Esterberg (ROG) 3.

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