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Willmar gets another shot at Tigers

A year ago in the final round, the Willmar Cardinals got pounded at Hutchinson in the section semifinals.

It was a bit like the junior varsity against the varsity. The final was 48-14.

The teams will meet again, this time in the quarterfinals and this time at Hodapp Field.

Hutchinson was senior-heavy last year, just as the Cardinals are this year.

Hutch-inson's loss to Glencoe-Silver Lake on Wednesday dropped it to No. 6, opposite No. 3 Willmar.

This will be the fourth time in five years the teams have met in post-season. The Tigers also mauled Willmar 33-8 in 2008 and 31-3 in '06; the latter at Willmar after the Cardinals were seeded higher.

This time Willmar is favored. The Tigers will be thinking upset.

The winner likely will travel to Marshall, which has the No. 2 seed and should oust No. 7 New Ulm.

The king of this mountain is No. 1 seed Mankato West (8-0), which has won two straight section titles and is the school where Jon Konold was offensive coordinator before coming to Willmar two years ago.

Boys soccer now a CLC contender

Willmar boys soccer has become a perennial contender in the nine-team Central Lakes, though the Cardinals are is still looking for that first championship.

In the program's first five years, starting in 2000, Willmar totaled 14 wins in CLC matches. The past six seasons, the Cardinals have won 44 CLC meetings, better than seven per season.

This fall, the Cardinals finished runner-up to Sartell and posted an 8-3-2 mark in CLC matches. The Cardinals were also runners-up in 2007 with a 9-3-2 mark.

Willmar finished third in both '05 and '07, each time with an 8-4-1 record.

KRA champs

Shane Sabraski of Rice finished first in KRA Speedway track points in the Modified Class and second, by just six points, to champion Brandon Davis of Medford in the Midwest Modified Division for the 2010 racing season.

Other champions were: Hobby Stock, Ben Godbee, Pennock; Hornets, Dave Deters, Sauk Centre; Mod-4, Rob Vanmil, Moorhead; Street Stock, Ryan Buer, Atwater; Super Stock, Don Eischens, Richmond.

High honors

The MCAC named Ridgewater College freshman wide receiver Keanta Johnson the South Division Special Teams Player of the Week after he returned a kickoff 76 yards for a touchdown and averaged 40 yards in four returns at Rochester Saturday.

Willmar High School Top Performers in the Central Lakes Conference, announced Tuesday, are in Football, offense: senior wide receiver Ryan Lawler with six catches for 137 yards and one touchdown in win over St. Cloud Apollo ... Football, defense: Senior cornerback Nate Esboldt with three solo and two assisted tackles and five pass break-ups against Apollo ... Boys Cross-Country: junior Mowlid Mohamed placed second at St. Cloud Tech Invitational leading Willmar to a second-place finish ... Volleyball, defense: Senior libero Shae Bruess had 46 digs in two matches.

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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