College Football: Raiders drill Ridgewater
WILLMAR -- Look out Rochester, here they come, again!
The Ridgewater Warriors fell to Central Lakes College Saturday afternoon 27-6 while Rochester Community and Technical College leveled Minnesota West 52-0.
That means Ridgewater College (5-3), the No. 3 seed in the MCAC South, will travel to No. 2 Rochester (7-1) next Saturday in the quarterfinals of the state junior college playoffs. No. 1 Central Lakes (7-1) will host No. 4 Minnesota West (5-3).
The winners will crossover to play the North survivors in the semifinals.
Central Lakes not only assured a home game but took the Axe back, the symbol of this simmering rivalry.
"That was our motivation, plus a little revenge after they ended our season last year," said Central Lakes freshman quarterback Andrew Johnson, who threw for three touchdowns and 226 yards. "We had a great week of practice and really executed. It helps, too, when your defense pitches a shutout."
Not quite. With seconds remaining, Wesley Oswald tossed nine yards to wide receiver Justin Frank who leaped high above his defender to snare the ball and avoid a whitewash.
Oswald was the third quarterback to play. Starter Cody Jaeger was intercepted four times, Dean Caldwell once and Oswald even threw his first pass directly into the hands of a Raiders cornerback who juggled and dropped the gift.
The Raiders outgained the Willmar team 344 to 183 and had a 22 to 11 edge in first downs.
Central also had a 6 to 2 margin in turnovers; both defenses sacked the opposing quarterback six times.
It was the third straight loss for the Warriors following a 5-0 start playing the softer part of the schedule. This 5-3 record wouldn't have got them to the playoffs last year but the conference reduced the regular season by a game and expanded from four to eight teams in the postseason.
This was a gritty, hard-played game with a nice turnout of fans on both sides of the field on an overcast but mild afternoon.
The Raiders just had a lot more offense than the Warriors. Their quarterback made three runs of 20 yards or more and was 18 of 30 passing with one pick (by Mike Wilson) compared to Ridgewater's cumulative 11-of-31 for 154 yards with 5 picks.
Warriors' running back Martell Baker had a couple of powerful first-down runs and wide out Kevin Parks totaled 96 yards on 5 catches. But the offense was spotty with 13 possessions ending with either a punt or a turnover.
Raiders' sophomore defensive back Marion Lambright had a huge first half with two interceptions and a fumble recovery, the later setting up the first score. Running back Beau Bellmore rushed for 62 yards. A second-quarter touchdown run covered only six-yards but the 193-pound Wisconsinite appeared to carry a half ton of red-jersey Warriors draped over him the last four yards.
The Warriors now have the chance to avenge a 42-15 loss in Week 7 to the Yellowjackets.
Central Lakes 27, Ridgewater 7
Central Lakes (7-1) 6 6 8 7 -- 27
Ridgwater (5-3) 0 0 0 7 -- 7
CL - Matt Scott 49 pass from Andrew Johnson (kick blocked)
CL - Beau Bellmore 6 run (kick fail)
CL - Paul Lake 28 pass from Johnson (Matthew Scott pass from Johnson)
CL - Anthony Shelman 15 pass from Johnson (Andrew Leonhardt kick)
Rgw - Justin Frank 9 pass from Wesley Oswald (Matt Malek-Zadegan kick)
Central Lakes College
First downs: 22... Rushing: 41-118 ... Passing (com-att-yds-int.): 18-30-226-1 ... Fumbles lost: 1 ... Penalties: 9-107
Rushing: Beau Bellmore 18-62, Andrew Johnson 12-29, Sean Nokken 9-27 ... Passing: Johnson 18-30-226-1 ... Receiving: Matt Scott 1-49, Paul Lake 5-55, Blake Petrich 2-33, Carson Wessinger 4-45, Anthony Shelman 3-45 ... Punting: 6-31.0 ... Interceptions: Marion Lambright 2, Jared Hoemberg 2, Calving Belfrey 1 ... Fumble recoveries: Lambright ... Tackles (solo-assist): Brandon Tulenchik 1-9, Nate Rutz 2-7 ... QB sacks: Celestino White 2, Austin Manzey 1, Tulenchik 2, Brandon Zapzalka 1, Tanner Ristau 1
First downs: 11 ... Rushing: 33-39 ... Passing (com-att-yds-int.): 11-31-154-5 ... Fumbles lost: 1 ... Penalties: 6-40
Rushing: Martell Baker 18-62, Deandre Henry 3-9,Nathanial Swoyer 2-3, Cody Jaeger 8-(-3), Wesley Oswald 2-(-5), Dean Caldwell 8-(-11) ... Passing: Jaeger 5-17-74-4, Dean Caldwell 1-4-22-1, Oswald 5-10-58-0 ... Receiving: Clint Coffey 3-21, Justin Frank 1-9, Kevin Parks 5-96, Kyle Mullen 1-6, Martell Baker 1-22 ... Punting: Swoyer 7-38.0 ... Interceptions: Mike Wilson 1 ... Fumble recoveries: Victor Rivera ... Tackles (solo-assist): Tarrell McDuffie 4-4, Mike Wilson 2-4, Andrico Rolle 1-4, Hunter Smith 0-5, Corey Smith 3-4, Darius Campbell 2-2, Rivera 1-3, Dominique Mitchell 0-5, Emmanuell Williams 3-2, Cody Jaeger 2-0, Justin Russ 1-1, Mickey McGuire 2-7, Shawn Paul 1-6 ... QB sacks: Paul 2, McDuffie 1, McGuire 2, Russ 1, Mitchell 1, Tyler Tabatt 1