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College football: Ridgewater stung again by Jackets

Ridgewater’s Rodney Jones (51), Roy Johnson (66) and Deshon Johnson (28) stop Rochester Yellowjackets running back DeShawn Marshall after a 3-yard gain in the second quarter on Saturday at Hodapp Field in Willmar. Tribune photo by Rand Middleton

WILLMAR — Ridgewater College put up a fight but a scoreless second half doomed the Warriors to another loss at the hands of unbeaten Rochester Community and Technical College on Saturday.

No. 10-ranked Yellowjackets outscored their hosts 10-0 in the game’s last 30 minutes for a 26-14 victory and the outright championship of the MCAC South Division.

No. 15 Ridgewater fell to 2-2 in the South and 5-2 overall with a trip to Central Lakes, in Brainerd, next. A win would secure a home game to launch the playoffs.

Ridgewater has one victory — in 2005 in John Vraa’s last year as head coach — over Rochester this century.

The Warriors led 7-3 after one quarter on a sneak by quarterback Wes Oswald and 14-9 in the second quarter after an electrifying sideline pass from Tony Ayala, who split time with Oswald, to wide receiver Kevin Parks. Parks broke free at midfield for the touchdown.

But the Jackets’ freshman quarterback Tanner Menke threw a pair of touchdown passes to sophomore Josh Zitzmann in the second quarter and RCTC took a 16-14 lead.

Rochester scored the only points of the second half. Ruan Alburquerque kicked his second field goal of the game in the third quarter and Kenneth McChristion, whom Parks had beat earlier for the TD in 1-on-1 coverage, returned an interception 35 yards for a touchdown.

The college in Willmar had first-and-goal from the 4 in the fourth quarter but the Jacket defense pushed the Warriors back to the 14 where the drive ran out of downs.

Linebacker Joe Strike led the Yellowjackets’ defense with eight tackles. He’s the younger brother of Chad Strike, an All-America running back in 2004 at Ridgewater, after transferring from Rochester.

The Warriors’ defense was stout against an attack unit averaging just a few yards below 500 per game. The Jackets finished with 364 total yards, 201 rushing.

Rochester CTC 26, Ridgewater 14

Rochester (4-0, 7-0)          3 13 10  0 — 26

Ridgewater (2-2, 5-2)       7  7  0   0 — 14

Rgw – Wes Oswald run (Modesto Cruz kick)

Roc – Ruan Alburquerque field goal

Roc – Josh Zitzmann pass from Tanner Menke (kick blocked)

Rgw – Kevin Parks pass from Tony Ayala (Cruz kick)

Roc – Zitzmann pass from Menke (Alburquerque kick)

Roc – Alburquerque field goal

Roc – Ken McChristion interception return (Alburquerque kick)

Rochester CTC

First downs: 16 … Rushing: 201 yards… Passing (com-att-yds-int.): 10-27-163-1 … Fumbles lost: 1 … Penalties: 10-80

Rushing: Alexander Schliesmann 13-87, Charles Arnold 12-53, Jake Kirsch 10-43, Virgil Hammond 4-28, Tanner Menke 2-(-10)… Passing: Tanner Menke 27-10-1-163, Branson Sivertson 1-0-0-0 ... Receiving: Josh Zitzmann 4-115, Evan Bungum 3-26, Kirsh 2-15 … Punting: n/a … Interceptions: Kenneth McChristion 1, Joe Strike 1 … Fumble recoveries: none … QB sacks: n/a


First downs: 11 … Rushing: 34-83 … Passing (com-att-yds-int.): 10-33-250-2 … Fumbles lost: none … Penalties: 9-75

Rushing: Baker 13-50, Austin 5-26, Jones 1-3, Oswald 6-11, Stough 2-5, Ayala 7-(-18) … Passing: Oswald 3-13-56-2, Ayala 7-20-194-0... Receiving: Parks 6-151, Cabera 2-50, Baker 1-32, Walstrom 1-16 … Punting: n/a … Interceptions: 1 … Fumble recoveries: 1 … Tackles (solo-assist): n/a … QB sacks: n/a

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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