Ridgewater football preview
Ridgewater (1-2, 3-5) at Central Lakes (2-1, 7-1)
1:30 p.m. today at Brainerd
CENTRAL LAKES OVERVIEW: The Raiders locked up their third state trip to the MCAC playoffs with a 28-26 win at Vermilion in double OT. The Raiders only setback was in Week 5 to Rochester (27-6). The offense is balanced (1,025 yards rushing, 1,275 passing) led by running back Dennis Taunte (514 yards) and receiver Tyler Erickson (25 catches, 8 touchdowns). Return specialist/running back Michael Iverson is also a threat while Dusty Parker is the MCAC leader in punting average (37.4) and interceptions (8). The Raiders' roster draws mainly from high schools in Central Minnesota.
RIDGEWATER OVERVIEW: With a win and a Minnesota West loss to Rochester, the Warriors would finish third in the South Division. This is the final game for 12 sophomores or second-year students with eligibility remaining who will not be returning. While the offense will hardly be touched, the defense loses its core: linebackers Otimbum Wilson, Tyler Blomme and Phil Herkenhoff and defensive ends Craig Gartner and Joe Doubler. Also, starting defensive tackle Robert Johnson, a red-shirt sophomore, does not anticipate returning for a third year on campus. The Warriors have the stuff to put the brakes on the Raiders' attack, but unless the Ridgewater offense can sustain and finish drives while avoiding multiple turnovers the outcome will be all to familiar.
-- Rand Middleton