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Willmar Cardinals football preview

Willmar Cardinals (3-2) at Sauk Rapids Storm (4-1)

Friday, 7 p.m.

WILLMAR OVERVIEW: The Cardinals are in the rebound-mode for the second time this season. They struck back from the Brainerd loss by overtaking Little Falls in last 10 minutes. The Flyers, by the way, got a rare win Friday over St. Cloud Tech, 9-8, their first win at Clark Field in 18 years. The Cardinals lost to the Storm last year, 35-14 at Hodapp, but got the "W" last time on the Storm field (45-20 in 2007). Sartell held Willmar to its lowest offensive output of the season -- 160 yards -- in dealing the Cardinals a 38-6 setback at homecoming. "This should be a fairly even matchup for us physically," said head coach Jon Konold. "We want to get quarterback Mark Dunham back on track this week. He didn't read his keys well (against the Sabres). We'll have the same starting five (tackle-to-tackle on the offensive line) for a second week in a row for the first time this season." Matt Cordes gets his second straight start at right guard, defensive back and return specialist Nate Esboldt will see time at running back, defensive back Jacob Damhof had a good game last week and will see more action and offensive center Jeff Duininck will also start at nose tackle.

SAUK RAPIDS OVERVIEW: The Storm lost most of their starters from a 9-2 season in which they fell to Fergus Falls in the section championship game, but former Willmar assistant coach Bill Magnuson (ninth season) welcomed back 27 seniors in a four-grade turnout of 131. The Storm prefers to run the ball with speedy slot back John Statz the main cog. Senior QB David Kroger is a double threat who saw a lot of back-up time as a junior. The only blight on the Storm record is a 24-14 loss to St. Cloud Tech in Week 4. Last Friday night, Kroger threw 48-yards to Cody Meyer in the second quarter and the Storm defense stopped the Spuds' two-point pass in the fourth quarter to preserve a 7-6 non-conference victory at Moorhead.

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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