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Prep football: Willmar Week 3 preview

Sartell-St. Stephen at Willmar

7 p.m. Friday at Hodapp Field

Last year: Willmar 28 at Sartell-St. Stephen 21

Last week: Brainerd 21, Willmar 7; Sartell-St. Stephen 27, Alexandria 19

SABRES OVERVIEW: The last three meetings of these two teams have been decided by a total of 10 points (Sartell won 39-37 in 2010 and 21-20 in 2011). For the third week in a row, the Cards face a run-first attack, this time led by TB Darek Stachowski, a 5-foot-11, 185-pound junior. Against Alexandria, he piled up 231 yards in 32 carries (7.2 yards per snap) and two TDS. Four other Sabre running backs combined for 22 yards in seven carries. Junior QB Brandon Snoberger (6-5, 195 pounds) passed 13 times for 40 yards. Sartell started the second half with a 93-yard KO return for six. LB Dan Neeser was CLC Defensive Performer of the Week  for his 10 tackles (9 solo) and a pick. 

CARDINALS OVERVIEW: Coach Jon Konold, reviewing the home opener: “We’ve got to elevate our level of execution when playing the stronger teams in the CLC. There are things we’ve got to do better on offense, defense and special teams. Overall, though, we held up well against one of the best teams in the conference and the state. We’ll improve. Our quarterback, Augustine Hahn, had too many turnovers but he is adjusting to the speed of the game against a top-notch team. But what I liked, he continued to compete the entire game.” Receiving accolades from the coach, while still noting it’s not a finish product, is the offensive line which held its own against the Warriors front. That would be tackles Matt Hennes and Joel Engel, guards Leon Richards and Alex Khalil and center Carter Shuldes. Standing out on defense were LB Buzzy Tollefson, Colten Carlson and DT Richards.    

AROUND THE CLC: St. Cloud Apollo’s last winning season in the CLC was 1995, when the Eagles finished first with a 6-1 record. Evidence is strong that the program has turned the corner. After going 3-4 last fall, the Eagles are 2-0 with wins over Rocori and last week at non-conference Moorhead (27-20). QB Ben Alvord threw for 3 TDS and ran for the other. Fergus Falls, a week after losing by 58 points to Brainerd, knocked off the Spartans at Cold Spring 32-12. Bemidji handled Sauk Rapids 45-22, despite QB Ryan Bjork’s 243 passing yards. St. Cloud Tech, paced by 151 yards from RB Brennan Paulson, clobbered Grand Rapids 35-7. The Cards host Grand Rapids Sept. 20 and the Tigers on Oct. 16.     

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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