Ridgewater football preview
Mesabi Range (1-0) at Ridgewater (1-0)
1:30 p.m. today at Hodapp Field, Willmar
MESABI RANGE OVERVIEW: The 2008 MCAC champion Norsemen took down Fergus Falls 13-3 in the opener. In his first college game, Avery Walker earned Offensive Player of the Week in the North Division after running for 90 yards on 14 carries and a touchdown. That was part of 243 yards rushing as the Norsemen unleashed four running backs that averaged at least 5.3 yards per carry. QB Mario McCollough ran for a TD and threw for 59 yards completing 7 of 14 throws with two INTs. The Norsemen defense will be rugged with four top players from last year's unit back. The Spartans earned just 94 yards rushing and 118 passing.
RIDGEWATER OVERVIEW: The Warriors beat Mesabi Range 21-14 last season in Week 2 at Virginia, but the Norsemen were just getting organized for a title run. They jelled later and won the MCAC title game 6-0 over Vermilion. The Warriors opened with a 17-6 win over Itasca. The defense gave up only nine yards net rushing and pried away eight turnovers. Making his college debut, Illies threw for 221 yards on 18-of-39 with one pick. But the offense was blanked other than a short field goal by Justin Brown to open the scoring. The running game went no where (27 yards in 26 tries). The Warriors' touchdowns came on a 65-yard punt return by Martell Harris and a 22-yard interception run back by Anthony Adams.