College Football: Ridgewater Week 8 Preview
Central Lakes Overview
QB Andrew Johnson (St. Agnes, St. Paul) has thrown for 1,068 yards with 8 TDs and 8 INTs. Running back Beau Bellmore (DePere, Wis.) has rushed for 703 yards and 7 TDs. Each leads the MCAC South Division. The Raiders are equal parts rush (1,148 yards) and pass (1,165 yards). They lost to Northland, 30-28, on opening weekend in the last seconds but knocked off Rochester, 31-23, in Week 4. The Raiders are strong defensively (168 yards per game). LB Matt Mogere (Monticello) was South Defensive Player of the Week with two pick-6s in last Saturday's 53-7 win over Vermilion. Ridgewater coach Rob Baumgarn comments that it's another good Central Lakes team with a good quarterback and a sound defense.
The Warriors posted first-half leads of 6-0, 12-6 and 15-12 at Rochester while rolling to over 200 yards of offense. But each lead unraveled due to penalties and/or an inability to top off drives. Down just 20-15 at half, the Warriors stalled repeatedly while the Yellowjackets buzzed for four touchdowns and a 47-15 final. Part of the problem is poor tackling for the second week in a row. "We're not wrapping up," said Baumgarn. "We're arm tackling high, like kids starting out in youth league." RB Martell Baker didn't play the second half at Rochester with an injured hand. A break was suspected by the Rochester trainers but an X-ray this week proved negative and he may be ready. Baker had run for nearly 90 yards when he left the game. Either way, the offense is looking to gain traction on the ground and some efficiency in the air game. Given the lack of recent scoring, Ridgewater may need an explosive punt return by either Kevin Parks (26.5 yards per return) or Clint Coffey (16.6). The defense has five players among the top 10 tacklers in the South: Tarrell McDuffie (50 solo/assists), Dominique Mitchell (45), Jordan Meine (43), Cory Smith (40) and Mickey McGuire (37). Shawn Paul had a pair of sacks last week. The team that wins today gets a home game in the MCAC quarterfinals starting next Saturday.
-- Rand Middleton