Prep Football: Willmar Week 7 Preview
The Sabres scored two late touchdowns to upend St. Cloud Tech at Husky Stadium 21-20 on Friday and run their record to 5-1. The Sabre loss came the week before to Fergus Falls, 35-28. The Sabres were without star running back Eric McAfee for that game due to injury. But he's back now and has averaged 7.2 yards per carry in 93 snaps with 11 TDs. The 5-foot-11, 190-pound senior will be working the Willmar flanks to find daylight. QB Park Hagen had thrown for 6 TDs and 6 INTs in 116 attempts. Pat Fisher has 23 catches. Darek Stachowski and Sam Neeser will also get carries. The Sartell defense gave up just two scores in its first four games.
The Cardinals are playing for the No. 4 seed in Section 6-5A, along with Elk River and Buffalo. The three are close in the QRF rankings which will determine the order. No. 4 will host No. 5 while No. 6 will play at No. 3 (Through Week 6, Monticello is No. 1, St. Michael-Albertville No. 2 and Rogers No. 3). Buffalo plays Duluth Denfield (0-6) and Big Lake (2-4). Elk River has Osseo (4-2) and Totino-Grace, Fridley (6-0). Willmar is at Sauk Rapids (1-5) next Wednesday. "We need to win at least one, or maybe both, to get a home game and it would probably be Buffalo," said Cardinals coach Jon Konold. Willmar is coming off a 21-7 loss to Monticello. The Cardinal defense had trouble with the Magic quickness and allowed some big-yardage runs. Still, it was a one-score game until the final minute when the visitors tacked on a short-field TD. "We need to be better tacklers and be aligned better so we're in the right position [to make the tackle]," Konold said. Offensively, the Cardinals will be looking to bust big plays, which they were unable to do against the Magic. Patrick Courtney has become a "48-minute man" hardly leaving the field. The senior cornerback had two pass breakups last week, plays wide receiver, does the kicking and punt run backs. "He's a great contributor and fun to coach," said Konold of the soccer player through tenth grade. Senior outside linebacker Jordan Guertz is second on the tackle chart with 22 solos and 24 assists with 3 tackles-for-loss. According to his coach: "He's been steady and a leader for us by doing everything well."
CLC notes: St. Cloud Apollo, which is not on Willmar's schedule this fall, ended a 22-game losing streak slipping by the Storm 9-6 at Sauk Rapids. With QB Zac Muller out (shoulder separation), the Rocori Spartans (4-2) lost their second straight, 12-0, at Big lake. Fergus Falls' work horse Walker Heinen plowed for 225 yards in 41 lugs and both TDs as the Otters dropped Grand Rapids 14-6. Alexandria led Bemidji 16-7 at the break but the Lumberjacks outscored the Cards 31-8 the second half for a 38-23 win.