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College Football: Run game, defense help Warriors drub Fergus Falls, improve to 4-0

Ridgewater running back Martell Baker bursts 15 yards up the middle to the Fergus Falls’ 7-yard line and would score the first of his three touchdowns on the next play, leading the Warriors to a 37-7 win Saturday at Hodapp Field in Willmar. Tribune photo by Rand Middleton

WILLMAR — On a perfect Saturday evening at homecoming, Ridgewater College had all things going its way.

At the front end, the Fergus Falls’ long-snapper gift wrapped nine points for the hosts in the game’s first five minutes and the Warriors were on the way to a commanding 37-7 victory at Hodapp Field.

“This was a great overall win,” said Warriors head coach Rob Baumgarn, whose team improved to 4-0. “We had control start to finish. The offensive line did a great job and the defense rallied to the ball and didn’t let anything get behind them. I’m pleased with the effort but penalties are going to hurt us if this keeps up with the road ahead more difficult.”

The Willmar college outgained the Spartans 349-210 in yards. The Warriors were penalized 13 times for 80 yards.

Rochester and Ridgewater are now the only two undefeated teams in the MIAC South with Northland College beating Minnesota West 33-13 and the Yellowjackets topping Central Lakes 48-21 Saturday.

The Warriors are at Worthington to play the Bluejays (3-1) at 1:30 p.m. next Saturday.

Against Fergus (1-3), Ridgewater’s Martell Baker scored three touchdowns and ran for 135 yards in 15 carries. Fullback Beau Stough on a 12-yard rush and wideout Greg McPherson on a 9-yard connection with Wes Oswald also scored.

In all, 12 different Warriors players had carries, nine caught passes and four quarterbacks saw action.

The Warriors got a safety at 10:18 of the first period on a center snap over the Fergus punter’s head and out of the end zone.

On the next Spartan possession, another high snap was recovered at the Fergus Falls 22. From there, Baker went up the middle to the 7-yard line, and on the next play he tumbled into the end zone for a 9-0 lead after the conversion kick by Modesto Cruz.

Fergus then drove 80 yards for what turned out to be its only score — an 11-yard crossing pattern from Jesse Vanilau to Logan Connelly, the Benson graduate, who had a team-high 4 catches for 42 yards.

Ridgewater led 30-7 by halftime with Trevor Nystrom and Oswald sharing time behind center.

Inside linebacker Mickey McGuire paced the Ridgewater defense with 12 tackles, 2 sacks and 2 tackles for lost yards.

Ridgewater 37, Fergus Falls 7

Fergus Falls (1-3)              7  0  0 0 —   7

Ridgewater (4-0)              9 21 7 0 — 37

R – Safety, ball snapped out of end zone

R – Martell Baker 7 run (Modesto Cruz kick)

F – Logan Connelly 11 pass from Jesse Vanilau (Cody Cuervara kick)

R – Beau Stough 12 run (Cruz kick)

R – Greg McPherson 9 pass from Wesley Oswald (Cruz kick)

R – Baker 10 pass from Wes Oswald (Cruz kick)

R – Baker 37 run (Cruz kick)

Fergus Falls

First downs: 13 … Rushing: 37-80 … Passing: 12-24-130-1 … Penalties: 6-75

Rushing leaders: Hayden Zenner 7-20, Jordan Whittaker 4-26, Jesse Vanilau 14-12, Willie Williams 6-17 … Passing leader: Vanilau 11-22-122-1 … Receiving leaders: Logan Connelly 4-42, Paris Woods 4-38, Austin Steege 3-13


First downs: 15 … Rushing: 39-213 … Passing: 13-24-136-2 … Penalties:  13-80

Rushing: Martell Baker 15-135, Dan Maras 6-32, DaMarko Thomas 2-0, Beau Stough 3-23, Wes Oswald 4-8, Trevor Nystrom 1-3, Jeremiah Grimsley 1-(-1), Gabe Kromah 2-(-2), Michells Alagrate 1-1, Tony Alaya 1-1, Jeremiah Oyetunji 2-4, Jacob Sharp 1-9 …. Passing: Trevor Nystrom 3-6-22-0, Oswald 7-11-79-2, Ayala 2-6-15-0, Grimsley 1-1-10-0 … Receiving: Kevin Parks 4-39, Greg McPherson 2-32, Jorge Carbera 1-18, Eric Hudson 1-4, Stough 1-8, Baker 1-10, Johnnie Pope 1-5, Jamar Stokes 1-10, Ryan Grunke 1-10 … Punting: Cabera 6-23.8 … Fumble recovery: Brandon Boateng 1 … Tackles (solos-assists): Hunter Smith 2-1, Kelly Ferguson 4-0, Emmanuell Bellamy 2-3, Jacobi Scruggs 2-0, Deshon Johnson 3-1, Luke Blanch 5-1, Adihia Bell 4-2, Mickey McGuire 7-5, Rodney Jones 2-2, Josh Kelly 2-0, Roy Johnson 3-2, Jeremy Boykins 3-0, Chris Hanson 3-1, Josh Hall 4-0, Tranard Styles 2-0, Cody Swenson 2-1, Montreal Roberts 2-0, Eli Hollins 1-0, Quieron King 1-0, Shae Hanvelt 1-0, Aaron Aman 1-0, Keller Anderson 1-0, Pat Smith 1-0, Larry Alexander 0-1, Creston Tolbert 1-0, Steveson Joachim 0-1 … Tackles for loss: Smith, McQuire 2, R. Johnson 1, Hanson 1, D. Johnson 1 … Sacks: McGuire 2, Boykins, Hanson 2, Aman 1

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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