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Revar Qaqos' early goal sends Spuds to section finals for third straight year

Top-seeded Moorhead will host third-seeded St. Michael-Albertville in the Section 8AAA championship game on Thursday.

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Moorhead's Revar Qaqos heads a corner kick for the only goal against Bemidji during the Minnesota Section 8AAA semifinal boys soccer match Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2022, at Moorhead.
Michael Vosburg/The Forum
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MOORHEAD — Sometimes, all it takes is one.

That was the case for the Moorhead boys soccer team in the Section 8AAA semifinals at Jim Gotta Stadium on Tuesday night. Thanks to an early goal from senior forward Revar Qaqos, the top-seeded Spuds defeated fifth-seeded Bemidji 1-0 to advance to their third consecutive section championship game.

Moorhead (13-4-1) will host third-seeded St. Michael-Albertville (8-9-1) in the 8AAA final at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 20, at Gotta Stadium.

The lone goal of Tuesday's contest came just 2 minutes, 25 seconds into the match on Moorhead's first corner kick of the night. Senior forward Mohammed Namuq took the corner, crossed it into the box and found Qaqos, who headed it past Bemidji sophomore goalkeeper Connor Helm for his 20th tally of the season and a 1-0 Spuds lead.

"We had a play," Qaqos said. "We've practiced it for a bit and then they called it. Nobody went (to the spot), so we were like, 'Might as well crash it,' and then it worked out. 1-0. The game-winning goal."

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Moorhead's Revar Qaqos, left, competes for the ball with Bemidji's Thomas DeGeus during the Minnesota Section 8AAA semifinal boys soccer match Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2022, at Moorhead.
Michael Vosburg/The Forum

Thanks to his goal, an already busy week now gets even busier for Qaqos. Before he takes the pitch and goes for a second consecutive section crown with the soccer team on Thursday, he'll be fulfilling his placekicking duties for the Spuds football team in their home game against Rogers on Wednesday.

Despite the sometimes chaotic schedules between the two sports, Qaqos said he lives for every opportunity he gets.

"You've got to," he said. "It's not always there, so you've got to make the most of it."

Moorhead head coach Ben Patrie said he's pleased to be playing for another section title and the right to go to the state tournament.

"It always feels good," Patrie said "I don't think it gets old. This one was really tense, so we're relieved in the end to get out with the victory. Probably in the end, we deserved it but maybe only just."

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Moorhead's Mohamed Abdi works to control the ball against Bemidji during the Minnesota Section 8AAA semifinal boys soccer match Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2022, at Moorhead.
Michael Vosburg/The Forum

Not only was it a relief to get the victory, but also to score early and lock it down for the remaining 77-1/2 minutes, Patrie added.

"We wanted an early goal," he said. "I think we set the tempo. That was our aim to get a goal early to help calm the nerves. And I thought we controlled for awhile after that. We talked at halftime about how we let that slip a little bit. Then I think our second half, we had control and a little bit of dominance and created some chances again. Then, of course, sometimes the balance tips again and at the end (Bemidji) was pushing the last 10 minutes or so to really get that goal. But we sat back, defended and defended well."

The Lumberjacks didn't go without their chances. With 8:45 remaining in the first half, sophomore forward Isaac Stone took a free kick from roughly 27 yards out that made it to the goal but was saved by Spuds junior goalkeeper Dalton Songstad.

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Stone had another free kick with 8:15 remaining in the game from about the same yardage but his shot sailed wide left to keep Bemidji off the board.

Perhaps the Lumberjacks' best chance came less than two minutes later when Stone found senior forward Jacob Stanoch hustling up the left side. Stanoch proceeded to cut in toward the goal and took a shot which barely missed the far post and went wide again.

Bemidji applied pressure in the remaining six minutes but was unable to find the late equalizer. The Lumberjacks finished their season 9-8-1.

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Bemidji's Connor Helm reaches to block a shot by Moorhead's Mohammed Namuq during the Minnesota Section 8AAA semifinal boys soccer match Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2022, at Moorhead.
Michael Vosburg/The Forum

Shot attempts were unofficially 16-7 in favor of Moorhead. Helm made eight saves for Bemidji while Songstad recorded one save for the Spuds.

Moorhead had three corner kicks while the Lumberjacks had two.

St. Michael-Albertville defeated second-seeded Brainerd 4-3 in the other semifinal match — scoring with 49 seconds remaining in the second half to climb all the way back from a 3-1 deficit. Senior captain Jarod Timlin scored all four goals for the Knights.

Moorhead and STMA will now square off in a rematch of last year's section championship game, which the Spuds won 2-1. Moorhead also defeated the Knights 3-2 in the regular season on Oct. 1.

"There's really no preparation," Patrie said. "We've had a chance to play them. It's about recovering our legs and being ready to go again. We know they have all kinds of weapons and we know we're going to have to put in a really, really impressive shift to beat them again. We'll be hungry, of course."

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"It feels great (having the chance) to go back-to-back-to-back again," Qaqos added. "Not many people get the chance to go and win it, and so we've got to go and make the most of that once again."

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Moorhead's Mohamed Abdi, left, and Ahmed Adan leap to head the ball against Bemidji's Jonathan Devescovi during the Minnesota Section 8AAA semifinal boys soccer match Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2022, at Moorhead.
Michael Vosburg/The Forum
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Moorhead's Ahmed Adan advances against Bemidji during the Minnesota Section 8AAA semifinal boys soccer match Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2022, at Moorhead.
Michael Vosburg/The Forum
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Moorhead's Abdijabar Hashim advances against Bemidji during the Minnesota Section 8AAA semifinal boys soccer match Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2022, at Moorhead.
Michael Vosburg/The Forum
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Moorhead's Mohammed Namuq advances against Bemidji during the Minnesota Section 8AAA semifinal boys soccer match Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2022, at Moorhead.
Michael Vosburg/The Forum
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Moorhead's Brandon Obowa advances against Bemidji during the Minnesota Section 8AAA semifinal boys soccer match Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2022, at Moorhead.
Michael Vosburg/The Forum
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Moorhead's Luqman Somane advances against Bemidji during the Minnesota Section 8AAA semifinal boys soccer match Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2022, at Moorhead.
Michael Vosburg/The Forum
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Moorhead's Revar Qaqos is congratulated for his goal against Bemidji during the Minnesota Section 8AAA semifinal boys soccer match Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2022, at Moorhead.
Michael Vosburg/The Forum
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Moorhead celebrates their defeat of Bemidji in the Minnesota Section 8AAA semifinal boys soccer match Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2022, at Moorhead.
Michael Vosburg/The Forum

Ryan Spitza joined The Forum in December 2021 as a sports reporter. He grew up in Marquette, Mich., a city of 20,000 on the southern shore of Lake Superior. He majored in multimedia journalism and minored in public relations at Northern Michigan University, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in May 2019. While attending college, Spitza gained real-world experience covering high school and college athletics for both The Mining Journal and The North Wind.

Spitza can be reached at 701-451-5613 or rspitza@forumcomm.com. Follow him on Twitter @ryspitza.
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