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College football: Ridgewater Week 8 preview

Last week

Rochester 26, Ridgewater 14/Central Lakes 21, Vermillion 14.

At stake

Assuming that No. 1 Rochester knocks off Minnesota West today, this game is for the two-spot in the playoffs. Central Lakes is 2-1 (6-1 overall) and has 8 points; Ridge is 1-2 (5-2 overall) and has six points. A Warriors’ win (worth 2 points) would tie them with the Brainerd squad while winning the head-to-head tiebreaker. The Warriors would then host Central Lakes in the MCAC quarterfinals Oct. 26. If the Warriors lose, they will end up traveling to Rochester, regardless of the outcome of West vs. the Yellowjackets. If West upsets the Jackets and Ridge wins, the Warriors would got to Worthington.

Raiders overview

Sophomore QB Andrew Johnson (St. Agnes) is a three-time MCAC Top Performer who has thrown for 1,814 yards and 19 TDs (8 INTs). Sam Moriarty (30-404, 7 TDs), Rocori, Cold Spring, and Steve Wroblewski (26-401, 5 TDs), Denver, Colo., are his leading targets. Erik McAfee (Sartell) is averaging 5.4 ypg in 69 attempts. Defensively, the Raiders will give up points but the Warriors will likely need three to four scores to keep up with the home team’s explosive attack.

Warriors overview

Inside linebacker Mickey McGuire leads the South in tackles (55 solos, 19 assists) followed by teammates Adiha Bell (38-22) and Luke Blanch (37-20). Kevin Parks’ 27 catches is second to Moriarty but the Colorado native ranks first in yards (593 yards) and average yards per catch (22.0). Parks is also the top kickoff returner with a staggering 39.6 average in nine returns. The Warriors played Rochester about as well as they could, feels coach Rob Baumgarn, but a failure to execute at a few crucial moments let the Jackets escape. Tony Ayala, freshman out of Washburn, gets his first start with Wes Oswald sidelined with concussion symptoms from a blow in the first half vs. Rochester. Jeremiah Grimsley (Watertown-Mayer) is the backup. Trevor Nystrom, who started early in the season and later shared time with Oswald, has left the team. The Warriors will need a big game from RB Martell Baker and the defensive secondary. Hunter Smith and Adihia Bell, the safeties, had huge games against the Jackets, each with 15 tackles. Cornerbacks Deshon Johnson and Jacobi Sruggs also need to play big and the defensive ends Chris Hanson, Jeremy Boykins and Tranard Styles must pressure Johnson, who prefers to roll out from the shotgun.

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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