BA bench

Bethlehem Academy (2-4) faces a Lester Prairie/Holy Trinity team (3-3) coming off a tough loss to Kenyon-Wanamingo last week. (Jacob Swanson/Faribault Daily News)

3-and-out with the Bulldogs

Like Bethlehem Academy, Lester Prairie/Holy Trinity has had something of an up-and-down season.

The Bulldogs sit at 3-3 after a 26-22 loss to Kenyon-Wanamingo last week. They’ve played United South Central, Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton, Medford and K-W, all common opponents with BA. Against those four teams, BA is 1-3 with a win against J-W-P, while LP/HT is 2-2 with wins against JWP and Medford.

BA won last year’s matchup 27-26 in a season where it went 7-4 and LP/HT finished 5-4. There will be some changes from last year’s matchup, including a recent move at head coach for BA.

Jim Beckmann is taking over as interim head coach for Dennis Glenzinski, who resigned Thursday after less than three full seasons as head coach and 10 as a defensive coordinator for the school.

When LP/HT has the ball

The Bulldogs want to throw the ball a lot, as evidenced by a 25-pass showing from quarterback Michael Ziemann, who completed 16 for 184 yards.

The Bulldogs are averaging 27 points per game this season, including 46 against Medford on Sept. 28, a team that beat held BA to 20 points.

On the season, BA has allowed a 53.3 percent completion rate. The last time BA faced a team that wanted to throw as often as LP/HT came against Hayfield two weeks ago. The Cardinals held Hayfield quarterback Brady Nelson to 17 of 31 passing for 199 yards. The Cardinals recorded three interceptions and allowed two touchdowns through the air.

When BA has the ball

Since being shut out in week one against a ranked United South Central team, the Bethlehem Academy offense has been better.

The Cardinals have averaged 26.6 points per game since the opening loss behind a strong rushing attack that welcomed senior Jack Clark back to the fold last week against Mayer Lutheran.

In his first week back from injury, he ran 13 times for 154 yards and two long touchdown runs. Luke Wobschall, who excelled in Clark’s absence, ran for 107 yards on 12 tries as well, including an 80-yard touchdown.

The only piece missing from the three-headed monster that is the Cardinals’ offense is Josh Oathoudt.

Key to the game

Limiting the Bulldogs on first down: If the Cardinals can hold LP/HT to short plays or incompletions in the first couple plays of each drive, that would be big

If the Bulldogs are able to keep the Cardinals on their toes with short down and distances to mix up the run and pass, it makes the pass all the more effective. If BA can lock in on the pass, its defense will be much more effective. Keeping LP/HT in third-and-seven or longer will be a big key to doing that.

Coach says

“I think our defense is improved with every game and our pass defense has gotten a lot stronger than it was at game one. We’re where we want to be at this point.” – Interim coach Jim Beckmann

Reach Sports Reporter Jacob Swanson at 507-333-3129 or on Twitter @FDNjacob.

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