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Ridgewater football preview

Fergus Falls (0-0, 1-3) at Ridgewater (0-0, 1-3)

6 p.m. today at Hodapp Field (Homecoming)

FERGUS FALLS OVERVIEW: The game opens MCAC Southern Division play for both teams. A win is now worth two points (an inter-division win is one point). Just like Ridgewater, the Spartans' losses have been frustratingly close. They've been in every game, including a one-point loss to Northland two weeks ago and a 35-24 loss in Week 4 to Vermilion. The Fergus win came against Fond du Lac. A big concern for the Warriors' defense will be running back Ray Gardner. The sophomore from Detroit is listed at just 5-foot-5 and 150 pounds, but his quickness has helped him pile up 300 yards in 88 carries, second most in the division. Trent Grave, a sophomore quarterback out of Long Prairie-Grey Eagle, has run for four touchdowns and thrown for another. North Division offenses averaged 346 yards per game against the Spartans.

RIDGEWATER COLLEGE OVERVIEW: It's not too late for the Warriors to turn the season around starting with a win today at homecoming. With Minnesota West and Fond du Lac up ahead, Ridgewater has a chance of being 4-4 when Rochester (currently 4-0) visits Hodapp Field on Oct. 17. Of course, without an offensive revival, the team could just as easily be 1-6 by that time. The young offensive line is yet to gel. QB Jackson Illies needs more time to throw, says head coach Rob Baumgarn. And RB Patrick Cincinatus hasn't had many holes to run through. The defense is giving up 291 yards a game, but have also been on the field a lot. The unit gets two key players back this week: DT Robert Johnson (thyroid surgery) and DE Joe Doubler (ankle sprain). DE Craig Gartner, a freshman from BOLD, blocked a punt and recovered it for a TD in last week's 18-9 loss to Northland. "Craig is so fast we have to find a way to keep him on the field," said Baumgarn. "He came here as a wide receiver, but he's become a defensive standout."

Rand Middleton
Tribune photographer/videographer. Began working in radio and at weekly newspaper in Munising, Michigan, in 1972. Started parttime at West Central Daily Tribune Sept. 1974. Fulltime news/sports beginning Feb. 1979. Married to Tribune news clerk Donna (Miller) Middleton, formerly of Kerkhoven. 2 grown children. 
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