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Ridgewater football weekly preview

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SATURDAY — FERGUS FALLS (1-2) VS. RIDGEWATER (3-0) AT HODAPP FIELD IN WILLMAR, 6 P.M.

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SPARTANS OVERVIEW: Ridgewater, Central Lakes, Minnesota West and Rochester are each 3-0 while Minnesota State-Fergus Falls is 1-2. Yet, the Spartans would pull into a tie with the Warriors since this division game is worth 2 points vs. 1 point for wins against the North. The Spartans are looking for offense after averaging just 123 total yards the first three weeks while allowing opponents a little below 300 per game. 220-pound RB Hayden Zenner (Fergus Falls) averages 4.3 yards per carry while sophomore WR Austin Steege (Hancock) has 8 catches for 67 yards. QB Jarod Mold (North Branch) has thrown for 115 yards and his backup Jesse Vanilau (Anchorage, Alaska) has tossed for 72 yards.

WARRIORS OVERVIEW: The team has only one more regular season home game after this meeting on Homecoming. Martell Baker is averaging 5.7 yards per carry. Kevin Parks is the top receiver with 11 catches for a 23.4 yards-per-reception average, best in the MCAC. The Warriors average 349 yards per game while permitting 191, both figures third-best in the division. Against Northland last week, the Warriors got big special teams play from Parks, who returned the opening kickoff for a TD. Punter Jorge Cabrera was flawless in the rain. Beau Stough marked the move from tight end to fullback by catching 6 Wes Oswald flares for 55 yards, each one for a first down. Solid blocking by the line helped the Warriors gain 267 total yards on a slick field in the rain. Right tackle Craig Smith, a 6-foot-6, 340-pound freshman from West Palm Beach, Fla., played especially well, as did 6-2, 270-pound second-year starting tackle and co-captain Daniel Stuewe (Norwood Young America).

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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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