Willmar football Week 6 preview
Twenty years ago Monticello dipped its feet in the Central Lakes Conference briefly where it had a rough time competing in a numbers sport, like football, though not in other. With the meteoric growth of the I-94 corridor, the Magic now outranks Willmar in enrollment (1,087 to 994) and no longer is getting pushed around (10-5 the last two fall) on the gridiron. This is the Cardinals' second match-up with a section foe and a further measure of where it sits for post-season. The cold-blooded QRF, rather than a vote by coaches, will determine seeding order for post season. Minnesota-Scores.net is the QRF master. Of the 48 teams classified 5A, the Magic rank 19th and Willmar 29th. The Magic average 445 yards per game with a power rushing game sparked by Jake Olson (52-493, 6 tds), Birk Olson (47-361, 4 tds) and Will Bauman (33-194, 2 tds). QB Matt Bonk has thrown for 532 yards; wide out Hayden Laimer has averaged 18 yards per catch. The Magic deploy in a full-house or split-back set, double tight ends, with Bonk under center. The line is not huge but does fire off the ball. It will be another test for the Cardinal defense (19 points allowed per game) against a team averaging 4 tds per game. Both beat common opponent Buffalo early: Willmar 40-19 Week 1 and Magic 38-23 Week 2.
With its one-point loss to an excellent Rocori team and last week's 13-point win over Alexandria, the coaching staff is optimistic that this team is tapping its full potential with 3 games left leading to playoffs. QB Alex Grove had his best game at homecoming, though he took some hard hits when he elected to run. The team scored 4 first-half tds and had two long drives the second half, though unable to finish. As for the defense, head coach Jon Konold commented: "They've held some good offenses down. By now they've played a lot of football and coach [Dustin] Carlson [the defensive coordinator] has got them playing very well. They're not questioning what they should do; they're playing fast and hitting hard." Grove used five receivers last game with Austin Rambow gathering 6 throws for 133 yards. "This was a big game for him. Austin is getting his routes perfected," said Konold. Center Josh Warne is the leader on the offensive line and keeps it together with his vocal calls. "If his snaps to Alex [in shotgun] are even the slightest bit off, he gets ribbed. But he's been just about perfect. It's very difficult but he does a tremendous job."
It seems certain that Mac Mueller's clutch TD throw that defeated Willmar 22-21 in the final seconds at Cold Spring Sept. 21 was the last of his prep career. Unfortunately, Mueller suffered a dislocated shoulder, with ligament damage, in the first quarter at Sauk Rapids on Friday night. The only possible chance to return, according to an article in the St. Cloud Times, would be if the 2011 Class AAAA champs again went deep into the playoffs. In four games and a splinter of another, the versatile senior has accumulated 1,205 yards and accounted for 17 TDs by run or pass. Junior Brad Fabel took over passing for 2 TDs and two picks as the Storm (1-4) ended Rocori's 16-game win streak 20-12. Fergus Falls (4-0) took over first alone beating Sartell 35-28 behind 252 rushing yards from Walker Heinen. Brainerd (3-1) stayed close spilling Apollo 28-14 as Conor Gessell, Luke Boran and Logan Davis ran for over 100 yards each..