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Willmar Cardinals football preview

Willmar Cardinals (3-3) at Rocori Spartans (3-3)

Today, 7 p.m.

ROCORI OVERVIEW: Like Willmar, the Spartans also are under a first-year coach -- Bob Rowe a former assistant at Minot College and St. Cloud State University. Also, similar to the Cardinals, Rocori operates out of a shotgun spread. Senior quarterback Derek Leiser threw for 279 yards and ran for 70 more in his first varsity start, a 35-14 win over St. Cloud Apollo in Week 1. He will use five or six different receivers. Spencer Schulte, a 6-2, 175-pound senior is the principle rusher. Oddly, Rocori is so far winless in Cold Spring but 3-0 in road games. The Spartans end the regular season at Bemidji.

WILLMAR OVERVIEW: Winning the last two games would cinch a home-field playoff game on Oct. 27. A two-game losing streak has left Willmar 2-3 in Central Lakes. With linebacker Adam Fagerstrom ill, there were just six seniors seeing significant game time last week. Coach Jon Konold believes the juniors have the experience now to take it to the next level. "We're getting better on offense. We're scoring three or four TDs every game. Despite three interceptions, I thought (quarterback) Mark Dunham had a good game (203 total yards) and (running back) Grant Schow had his best game." Schow rushed for 82 yards in 11 carries. Others singled out were receiver Ryan Lawler (8 catches, 92 yards) and defensive end Patrick Schueller (15 tackles, 1 sack) while linebacker Nathaniel Swoyer (10 tackles) had another solid game. Junior Jake Rambow, a back-up quarterback, started at outside linebacker for Fagerstrom and logged eight tackles.

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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