It’s tough to score without the football.

Bethlehem Academy was pleased with how it stood up to host Mayer Lutheran in the opening minutes of Friday’s season opener. Soon, turnovers plagued the BA Cardinals as the Crusaders rushed out to a 39-0 halftime lead and a 46-14 victory.

Mayer Lutheran outgained BA 402-242, but it was five BA turnovers to two for ML that made the difference.

Once ML scored first at the midway point of the first quarter, it didn’t stop.

“The first five minutes, we’re feeling pretty good and going toe to toe with them,” said BA coach Jim Beckmann. “Then we had some bad luck with turnovers and things kind of snowballed.”

One fumble gave ML the ball at the BA 1-yard line and led to a touchdown. An interception was also returned for a 35-yard score.

The Crusaders led 20-0 after one quarter.

University of South Dakota running back commit Zander Flucas had a game-high 116 yards and three touchdowns on 14 carries for ML. Josh Oathoudt ran 25 times for 108 carries to lead BA.

“He had good breakaway speed and the line blocked well for him,” Beckmann said of Flucas.

The Cards’ scoring plays came with 2:36 left in the third on a 54-yard touchdown run by quarterback Jack Jandro. Elliot Smith made the extra point.

With two seconds left, Brady Strodtman ran for a 27-yard score with the Smith kick good.

BA debuts at home 7 p.m. Friday against Rushford-Peterson. The Trojans lost 46-0 at Blooming Prairie on Friday.

“We learned a lot tonight. I told them at the end of the game, ‘What’s our takeaway? How are going to improve ourselves?’ Things aren’t always going to go your way in life, but it’s how you respond and try to improve.”

Mayer Lutheran 46, Bethlehem Academy 14

B — 0 0 7 7

M — 20 19 7 0

BA offensive statistics — Passing: Jack Jandro 3-13, 46 yards; 0 TD, 1 INT … Rushing: Josh Oathoudt 25-108; Brady Strodtman 12-56, 1 TD; Jandro 4-37, 1 TD; Team 1-(-1); Lucas Linnemann 1-(-4) … Receiving: Strodtman 1-27; Linnemann 2-19

BA defensive statistics — Tackles: Strodtman, Riley Kangas 7.5; Oathoudt, Spencer Ell 4; Jandro, Jack Ernste 2; Ben Cohen, Charlie King, Linnemann, Hunter Tutak, Elliot Smith, Aiden Tobin, Matt Nelson 1; Andrew Donahue, Bo Dienst .5 … Sacks: Kangas 1; Ernste, Cohen .5

BA special teams — Kicking: Smith 0-0 FG, 2-2 XP … Punting: Ell 3-102 … Kick return: Strodtman 2-69; Oathoudt 4-64; Ell 1-7

ML offensive statistics — Passing: Ty Hoese 6-10, 149 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT; Zach Froman 1-2, 14 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT … Rushing: Zander Flucas 14-116, 3 TD; Sam Dennis 7-94, 1 TD; Hoese 4-14; Cole Studeman 4-11, 1 TD; Jacksen Heil 5-7; Froman 1-(-3) … Receiving: Teigan Martin 2-71, 1 TD; Austin Crown 2-48; Flucas 1-17; Kyle Winter 1-14; Eli Johnson 1-13

Reach Sports Editor Mike Randleman at 507-333-3119 or on Twitter @fdnmike.

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