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Ridgewater football falls to Minnesota West

<b>Rand Middleton</b> Ridgewater's Alex McLaughlin busts through the Minnesota West line on a first-down run in the first quarter at Hodapp Field on Saturday.

WILLMAR -- One joyful Minneota West lineman shouted in the aftermath of the Bluejays' last-second victory over Ridgewater College -- "That was the Thrilla in Manila."

This was no ordinary game. It was more like a heavyweight boxing match with each slugger delivering staggering blows.

The final outcome Saturday night was written when West quarterback Lon Garfield scrambled 19 yards down the far sideline to score with 13 seconds left. That gave the college in Worthington a 37-33 MCAC win before upwards of 300 disbelieving fans at Hodapp Field.

The Bluejays' dramatic victory rubbed some of the luster off another magnificent rushing performance by Warriors' sophomore Alex McLaughlin that included an 89-yard touchdown burst.

This time the sophomore running back ran for 352 yards in 44 totes. He now has 1,442 yards in six games.

The lead exchanged hands six times.

Down 30-19 in the fourth quarter, Ridgewater fought back to regain the lead on a sneak by Walter Rochet -- capping a 51-yard drive in which McLaughlin carried five times and picked up all but the last yard -- and then a 25-yard run at 5:16 by sophomore fullback Jeff Wahl. That followed his first career TD in the second quarter.

Ridgewater looked in good shape when a Brett Dumke punt pinned the Bluejays' at their own 14 with 2:59 left.

But Garfield, who played the most spectacular game of his two-year college career, survived two hard sacks -- one negated by a facemask penalty -- to complete five pin-point passes while also scrambling for critical yards.

Garfield would throw for 307 yards without an interception and net 60 yards rushing despite a handful of sacks by a riled up Warriors defense.

The intensity lasted on the field and both benches for 2:45 minutes. So hard fought, neither team deserved to lose but the Warriors are now 4-2.

"We've got to win out," said captain Jeff Kalow, who had 10 tackles and caused a fumble. "I think that's the best we've played for four quarters. We played hard, but they're good, too."

Minnesota West improved to 5-1.

Minnesota West 37, Ridgewater 33

Minnesota West 7 9 7 14 -- 37

Ridgewater 7 6 6 14 -- 33

Rgw -Jake Wahl 10 run (Luke Euerle kick)

MW - Logan Korkow 55 yard pass from Lon Garfield (Shukri Jara kick)

Rgw - Alex McLaughlin 4 run (kick fail)

MW - Korkow 24 pass from Garfield (Jara kick)

MW - Safety, blocked punt out of end zone

Rgw - McLaughlin 89 run (kick fail)

MW - Antonio Williams 18 pass from Garfield (Jara kick)

MW -- James Seba 4 run (Jara kick)

Rgw - Rochet 1 run (Jordan Hanson pass from Rochet)

Rgw - Jake Wahl 30 run (kick fail)

MW - Garfield 19 run (Jara Kick)

Minnesota West

Team statistics

First downs: 16 ... Rushing: 19-74 ... Passing (com-att-yds-int.): 20-42-307-0 ... Fumbles lost: 2 ... Penalties: 6-55

Individual statistics

Rushing: Lon Garfield 7-60, TGravaris Pickens 7-38, James Seba 5-7 ... Passing: Garfield 10-42-307-0 ... Receiving: Antonio Williams 4-51, Pickens 3-16, Korkow 6-106, Ryan Rasche 2-25, Dwayne Jackson 5-109 ... Punting: Curtis Griswold 6-24.3 ... Interceptions: Bill Blumberg ... Fumble recoveries: none


Team statistics

First downs: 17 ... Rushing: 430 ... Passing (com-att-yds-int.): 6-19-40-1 ... Fumbles lost: 1 ... Penalties: 7-65

Individual statistics

Rushing: Alex McLaughlin 44-352, Nik Neubarth 3-6, Jake Wahl 6-54, Walter Rochet 5-18 ... Passing: Rochet 5-17-32-1, Jordan Shoulder 1-2-8-0 ... Receiving: McLaughlin 1-8, Ricky Warren 2-17, L.W. Frost 1-8, Zach Thissen 1-5 ... Punting: Brett Dumke 6-25.-0 ... Interceptions: none ... Fumble recoveries: Trent Molacek, Leon Sargent ... Forced Fumbles: Molacek, Jeff Kalow, Justin Melhado ... Tackles (solo-assist): Kalow 8-2, Dumke 1-0, Travis Colgrove 2-0, Leon Sargent 3-2, Justin Melhado 5-3, Mickell Brown 1-2, Joe Doubler 2-3, Molacek 8-1, Matt Wold 7-3, Justin Kassner 3-2, Torean Tubman 3-4 ... QB sacks: Kalow 1, Doubler 2, Molacek 3