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Barnaud has big day in scrimmage

DWU wide receiver Anthony Muilenberg stiff arms defensive back Andrew DeVaney to score a touchdown Saturday at Dakota Wesleyan University. (Aaron Saunders/Republic)1 / 2
DWU starting running back Francois Barnaud evades tacklers during the end of fall camp scrimmage Saturday at Dakota Wesleyan University. (Aaron Saunders/Republic)2 / 2

If Saturday's scrimmage is any indication, the Tigers' offense should be in great hands this season.

The Dakota Wesleyan University first-team offense scored four times during the scrimmage, which lasted just over an hour at the DWU practice field behind the Christen Family Recreation Wellness Center on campus.

The first-team offense had no problem moving the ball behind the arm of quarterback Jon Bane and the legs of first-year starting running back Francois Barnaud.

Bane threw two touchdown passes with one to freshman Kodi Larson, a Bon Homme High School graduate, and the other to senior Anthony Muilenberg. But a breakout performance was had by Barnaud, who slipped, evaded and shed oncoming tackles from the first-team defense, scoring two touchdowns in the process.

"Our line did a great job (Saturday) firing off the ball for us, and Francois did a great job carrying the ball and our receivers did a great job of running routes," said Bane, who earned all-GPAC honorable mention honors last season. "When that is going on, we are going to be really hard to stop. It was just a really good day for us. ... Francois is one of those all-around backs. What you saw Saturday is what he is capable of doing each and every down."

Barnaud, a junior, played in one game last season against Dakota State University where he ran the ball twice before suffering a season-ending injury. Saturday, Barnaud seemed to put his injuries behind him as he bolted through and around defenders with speed, elusiveness and quickness. The Tigers will need Barnaud's production on the practice field to translate to games as he takes over for the school's all-time leading rusher Josh Endres. Endres, an Ethan native, rushed for 3,397 career yards, including 1,371 last season.

Saturday, Barnaud said he is focused on what Endres accomplished. Instead, he is just going to do the best he can and work hard.

"I don't feel any pressure," Barnaud said. "Last year, I got hurt and didn't get to play with him much, but I was always pretty close to him. It was a good learning experience watching him the last couple of seasons and learning from a guy as good as he is. Hopefully, we can keep the tradition of good running backs going."

DWU head coach Ross Cimpl, who is set to begin his second season, was impressed with Barnaud and the rest of the offensive performance at the scrimmage.

"Offensively, we did some good things and had some big plays," Cimpl said. "As a defensive coordinator that is not always a good thing, but I think it has more to do with the guys who are making the plays. Sometimes we have guys in position and you see guys like Francois running through a block or a guy like Kodi making a catch in the open and running for a touchdown. That is a credit to all the guys."

Cimpl said he and his staff will continue to evaluate his players and prepare for their opening game against University of Wisconsin-Stout on Sept. 7. Kickoff is slated for 1 p.m. in Menominee, Wis.