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WEDNESDAY, ST. CLOUD TECH TIGERS (3-1, 5-2) AT WILLMAR CARDINALS (3-1, 5-2), 7 P.M.

TIGERS OVERVIEW: Techs’ toughness shows up in five wins, but also a 7-0 loss to unbeaten Brainerd, a team Tech might have defeated but for penalties. The offense hugs the ground by a 4-to-1 margin (30-78-430 yards, 6 TDs, 6 INTs vs. 1,633 rushing). On Friday, the Apollo Eagles held their in-town rival to a season-low 110 rushing yards. The three most prominent backs each average better than 5 yards per carry: Brennan Paulson (5.2 ypg), Josh Falk (6.2) and Austin Klavercamp (9.3). Two physical linebackers will zero in on the Willmar rush: Klavercamp (108 tackles) and Riley Bates (103), whose father Paul played on Willmar’s 1981 team that went 5-4.

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CARDINALS OVERVIEW: This conflict will decide the second-place South finisher in the conference behind Apollo. Moreover, Willmar needs this win to lock up the No. 3 seed in Section 6AAAAA. (Tech appears secure at No. 2 in 8AAAAA). This will be the first time Jon Konald, in his fifth season as head coach, has faced the Tigers. “This is a real good challenge for our players going against a physical team with a solid running game,” commented the Minneota native. The Cards rolled up 377 yards of offense at Cold Spring, a game delayed 2:20 by weather. The team spent the hold relaxing in Rocori’s old gym and then came out and scored 6 more TDs in the 3-quarters plus remaining.  QB Auggie Hahn ran for 2 scores and threw for 2 others and now has 2,038 yards of total offense on the season. Senior Nick Coquyt grabbed 5 passes for 44 yards and also saw time on defense. Senior defensive end Joey Lee made 2 sacks and his 6 tackles for loss are second on the team to Vaughn Johnson’s 7. Regardless of Wednesday’s outcome, Willmar will play a home game next Tuesday, facing either Buffalo or Elk River.

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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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