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Tribune photo by Rand Middleton Ridgewater sophomore Kevin Parks, shown here gaining yards after a pass reception vs. Rochester on Oct. 12 in Willmar, is the top receiver in the MCAC South with 593 total yards and second in yards-per-catch at 21.2.

Ridgewater football MCAC South playoffs preview

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SATURDAY: RIDGEWATER (5-3) AT ROCHESTER (7-1), 1:30 P.M.

YELLOWJACKETS OVERVIEW: The Warriors lost to Rochester 26-14 on Oct. 12 after trailing 16-14 at halftime. A late Pick 6 expanded a 19-14 Jacket lead. That game was at Hodapp Field in Willmar while this game will be on turf on the Rochester Community and Technical College campus. The Warriors must tackle well in the open field and contain, somewhat, Alex Schliesmann, who averages a whopping 9.3 yards per chance. The Jackets’ attack has 3 additional backs each averaging better than 4.9 ypc. QB Tanner Menke threw a pair TD passes at Willmar to Jacob Zitzmann, who had 8 TD snags this fall. 

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WARRIORS OVERVIEW: The Warriors gave up a late TD to Central Lakes in a nailbiter at Brainerd and also lost two starters. Top running back Martell Baker will sit out with concussion symptoms and center Jaleen Carey sustained a broken bone in his heal. Tyler Fountain will get the start. Roosevelt Austin (Sauk Centre) and Dan Maras (Jeffers/Red Rock Central) will fill the void in Baker’s absence. Austin rushed 11 times for 87 yards in the loss to the Raiders. QB Wes Oswald returns after setting out last week after suffering a concussion vs. Rochester. “Our team is ready to go,” said head coach Rob Baumgarn. “They believe they can win.” 

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Rand Middleton

Covers Willmar and area high schools and Ridgewater College, plus amateur baseball, stock car racing and fitness events in summer. Writes weekly column since 1980. Began working in radio and at weekly newspaper in Munising, Michigan, in 1972. Started parttime at West Central Daily Tribune Sept. 1974. Fulltime beginning Feb. 1979. Married to Tribune news clerk Donna (Miller) Middleton, formerly of Kerkhoven. 2 grown children. 

(320) 214-4334
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