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Willmar Football preview

A LOOK AT WILLMAR: This much is known about Willmar after two games: the Cardinals can move the ball in the air and on the ground with equal authority. Now all that's needed is to realize those capabilities in the same game. The Cardinals showed a well-oiled aerial game in the first half at Alexandria, but went scoreless the second half in a 22-21 loss. Last Friday, Willmar uncorked a flashy running game in the second half after Brainerd chewed the Cardinals up in the first half.

"It will be a great challenge up there," said head coach Jon Konold. "Their quarterback (Nathan Meyer) is a double threat and they've got good skill people.

"Their defense is aggressive and likes to blitz. We've seen a lot of positives in the first two games, but we've got to execute more consistently.

"On defense, we must stop giving up the big play. We had a big game running the ball from Grant Schow and Alex Grove (271 yards combined vs. Brainerd) and Nathanial Swoyer keeps the defense revved up."

The Cardinals' starting lineup will remain pretty much unchanged, said Konold. A year ago, also at Cold Spring, Willmar lost to the Spartans in overtime.

A LOOK AT ROCORI: The Spartans had a tough two days in Moorhead. Friday's game was postponed due to a field-flooding rain mixed with lightning, and then on Saturday, the Spuds swamped the Rocori offense and won 7-0. The delayed game's only score came on Moorhead's first possession.

Junior quarterback Nathan Meyer passed for 176 yards with two interceptions, but the running game managed only 39 yards in 26 attempts.

Both Rocori and Willmar had similar results against Brainerd. After a good start for Rocori (7-7 in the first quarter), Brainerd reeled off four consecutive touchdowns, just as it did at Willmar a week later. Both teams in a losing effort were able to move the ball; Rocori for 323 yards and Willmar 325.

After facing two Class AAAAA foes, Willmar will be the Spartans' first Class AAAA opponent.

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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