College football: Warriors beat Northland, improve to 3-0
WILLMAR — The Ridgewater football team faced its first stern challenge of the young season on Saturday afternoon and came up big.
The Warriors defense held the Northland Pioneers’ 11 to a passing touchdown and a kickoff return for another score.
The offense did just enough in the game-long rain to catapult the Warriors to 3-0 with a 19-14 win.
“The players stuck with the game plan and dealt with the weather conditions,” said coach Rob Baumgarn. “The defense did a great job.”
Linebacker Mickey McGuire’s 11 tackles included 5 for losses and a sack on the slick footing. Baumgarn pointed to “smart, aggressive play” by the secondary of Jacobi Scruggs, Deshon Johnson, Hunter Smith, Adihia Bell (12 tackles) and Mickell Maloyd.
Kevin Parks returned the opening kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown and a 7-0 Warriors lead in the game’s first 14 seconds.
After Ridgewater went up 13-6 on a 4-yard run by Martell Baker, Northland answered with a kick return for six on an 85-yard sprint by Dorian Nelson, the Pioneers’ top running back, and a 14-13 halftime lead with the two-point conversion.
But the Ridgewater defense held Northland, which averaged 45.5 points in its first two games, scoreless the second half and 211 total yards for the game. Quarterback Wes Oswald burrowed one yard for the go-ahead touchdown in the third quarter.
Baumgarn also applauded the offensive line for playing well against the Pioneers’ excellent defensive line.
Backup punter Jorge Cabrera twice pinned Northland inside the 20 and got off a strong punt at the end of the game putting Northland 55 yards away from pay dirt with no time outs left and the rain still falling.
“There are a lot of things that don’t show up on the box score that got us the win,” added the head coach. “Josh Kelly played great on specials teams. He had a key block to spring Park’s on the opening kickoff. He also hustled downfield to hit their punt returner, forcing a fumble that he recovered.”
Saturday is homecoming vs. Fergus Falls.
Ridgewater 19, Northland 14
Northland (1-2) 6 8 0 0 — 14
Ridgewater (3-0) 7 6 6 0 — 19
R – Kevin Parks 90 kickoff return (Modesto Cruz kick)
N – Aaron Doriot 6 pass from Justan Taliaferro (kick fail)
R – Martell Baker 1 run (kick fail)
N – Dorian Nelson 85 kick return (run good)
R – Wes Oswald 1 run (kick fail)
First downs: 9 … Rushing: 39-113 … Passing (com-att-yds-int.): 12-25-98-0 … Fumbles lost: 1… Penalties: 11-60
Rushing: Michael Washington 7-81, Darian Nelson 21-60, Trevor Harris 2-17, Justan Taliaferro 9-(-45) … Passing: Taliaferro 12-25-98-0 ... Receiving: Aaron Doroit 5-33, Nelson 4-44, Washington 1-9, Josh Halvorson 1-12
First downs: 17… Rushing: 35-108… Passing (com-att-yds-int.): 12-25-159-2 … Penalties: 7-55
Rushing: Martell Baker 25-81, Roosevelt Austin 1-3, DaMarko Thomas 1-(-2), Beau Stough 2-3, We Oswald 7-23 … Passing: Oswald 12-25-159-2 ... Receiving: Kevin Parks 1-43, Greg McPherson 1-25, Jorge Carbera 1-14, Beau Stough 6-55, Baker 1-6 … Punting: Carbera 4-30.0 … Interceptions: none … Fumble recoveries: Josh Kelly … Tackles (solo-assist): Hunter Smith 3-6, Emmanuell Bellamy 2-3, Jacobi Scruggs 3-2, Mickell Maloyd 4-1, Deshon Johnson 7-0, Luke Blanch 7-2, Adihia Bell 7-5, Mickey McGuire 9-2, Rodney Jones 2-0, Roy Johnson 2-0, Jeremy Boykins 2-0, Calvin Tinnin 1-1, Ron Johnson 3-1, Chris Hanson 2-2 … QB sacks: McGuire, Boykins, Johnson, Hanson 2 … Tackles for loss: Larry Alexander, Blanch, Bell, McGuire 5