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College football: Warriors whip West for first

Tribune photo by Rand Middleton Minnesota West quarterback Greg Gainey loses the ball under pressure from Ridgewater defensive end Shawn Paul (91) as defensive linemen Justin Russ (33) and Micheal Boleware (90), who will recover the fumble, close in during the second quarter.

WILLMAR -- The Ridgewater Warriors are in first place -- by themselves.

After handing Minnesota West of Worthington its first lost, 28-9, on Saturday evening, the Warriors are also the lone undefeated in the MCAC.

That's 5-0 with the Fond du Lac Thunder of Cloquet next up at Hodapp Field Saturday evening.

A homecoming crowd estimated at upwards of 500 watched their Warriors control the game from the opening drive.

Deploying a double-tight formation and unbalanced line, the Warriors marched 77 yards in 10 plays capped by Martell Baker twisting off right tackle from four yards.

Quarterback Cody Jaeger had the key play in the scoring drive running around his left end for 17 yards on 4th-and-16 to the Bluejays' four.

"We wanted to see how they would adjust to an unbalanced line with their three-man front," said Warriors' head coach Rob Baumgarn. "We executed and that set the tone."

Tyler Smith's 35-yard field goal 12 seconds into the second quarter is all the Warriors' defense would allow the first half.

Ridgewater went up 14-3 before intermission when Jaeger rolled right from the five-yard line and hit fullback Nathanial Swoyer for the score. Baker's 42-yard burst up the middle got the ball down close. Jaeger also teamed up with Kevin Parks for a 13-yard gain in the 10-play, 78-yard drive.

The Bluejays closed in again when quarterback Greg Gainey threw to James Stutz for a 13-yard score making it 14-9 in the third.

But the Ridge defense would have no more of that. They blanked the Jays, who scored 41 points the week before, the rest of the way. The defense even capped the scoring when outside lienbacker Tarrell McDuffie dropped back in coverage the intercepted a Gainey pass at the Warriors' 9. He broke up the visitors' sideline and streamed 91 yards for the score.

Hunter Smith added a second fourth-quarter pick on the next West possession.

Baker's second TD, this one from 13 yards topping a 74-yard drive, had made it 21-9 after three quarters.

Baker, a 215-pound tailback from Indianapolis, finished with 118 yards in 13 attempts. Tyrell Martin added 42 yards in 11 snaps and DeAndre Henry 45 in 9.

"We wanted to establish the run from the start," said Baumgarn. "The defense came out with a lot of energy and played really well again, and the offensive line did a great job."

The Warriors have allowed 40 points through five games.

"We still have a lot to work on and we must get a better hold on our emotions and penalties or it could cost us a game later on," said Baumgarn.

Placekicker Matt Malek-Zadegan was 4-of-4 on conversion boots.

Ridgewater 28, Minnesota West 9

Minnesota West (4-1) 0 3 6 0 -- 9

Ridgewater (5-0) 7 7 7 7 -- 28

R - Martell Baker 4 run (Matt Malek-Zadegan kick)

M - Tyler Smith 35 field goal

R - Nathanial Swoyer 5 pass from Cody Jaeger (Malek-Zadegan kick)

M - James Stutz 13 pass from Greg Gainey (conversion fail)

R - Baker 13 run (Malek-Zadegan kick)

R - Tarell McDuffie 91 interception return (Malek-Zadegan kick)

Minnesota West, Worthington

Team statistics

First downs: 11 ... Rushing: 30-41 ... Passing (com-att-yds-int.): 13-24-147-2 ... Fumbles lost: 1 ... Penalties: 8-65

Individual statistics

Rushing: Kevin Harris 11-18, Greg Gainey 13-7, Julian Robinson 4-18, D'Lorian Jordan 1-2, Enoch Smith 1-(-4) ... Passing: Gainey 3-14-43-2 ... Receiving: James Stutz 2-23, Anson Mareus 2-23, Rex Johnson 4-46, Zelius Morrow 1-9, D'Loraian Jordan 4-46

Ridgewater College

Team statistics

First downs: 14 ... Rushing: 48-273 ... Passing (com-att-yds-int.): 7-14-52-0 ... Fumbles lost: 1 ... Penalties: 11-85

Individual statistics

Rushing: Nathanial Swoyer 4-26, Cody Jaeger 6-30, Martell Baker 13-118, Sebastian Lee 2-3, Tyrell Martin 11-42, DeAndre Henry 9-45, Bryant Admundson 2-87, Wes Oswald 1- 2 ... Passing: Jaeger 7-13-52-0, Oswald 0-1 0-0 ... Receiving: Swoyer 1-5, Clint Coffey 5-34, Kevin Parks 1-13 ... Punting: Swoyer 6-30.0 ... Interceptions: Hunter Smith 1, Tarrell McDuffie 1 ... Fumble recoveries: Micheal Boleware 1 ... Tackles (solo-assist): Dominique Mitchell 6-2, Corey Smith 4-2, McDuffie 4-2, Darius Campbell 6-1, Mickey McGuire 4-2, Justin Russ 3-3 ... QB sacks: Russ 2, Mitchell 2, Shawn Paul 2, Tyler Tabatt 1