Covers Willmar and area high schools and Ridgewater College, plus amateur baseball, stock car racing and fitness events in summer. Writes weekly column since 1980. Began working in radio and at weekly newspaper in Munising, Michigan, in 1972. Started parttime at West Central Daily Tribune Sept. 1974. Fulltime beginning Feb. 1979. Married to Tribune news clerk Donna (Miller) Middleton, formerly of Kerkhoven. 2 grown children.
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WILLMAR _- The Ridgewater Lady Warriors are headed back to the NJCAA Division III Volleyball Tournament after dumping Rochester CTC 25-17, 25-23 and 33-31 for the Region 13A championship on Saturday morning at the college gym. It was the fourth time this fall Ridgewater beat the YellowJackets and the third time 3-0. The national tournament will be hosted by Rochester Nov. 13-14.
HUTCHINSON - Senior tailback Jaeden Scott scored his first of five TDs on the second play from scrimmage Saturday afternoon to ignite the Hutchinson Tigers 48-14 mauling of the Willmar Cardinals in the Section 2AAAA semifinals. The Tigers (9-1) rolled up 396 yards without throwing a pass. The first team scored on all seven of its possessions before retiring early in the fourth quarter with the clock on running time.
Willmar Cardinals (5-4) at Hutchinson Tigers (8-1) Today, 7 p.m. WILLMAR OVERVIEW: Willmar's season stalled last year in Hutchinson in the first round, a 33-8 setback. The Cardinals' defense will have its hands full trying to stop Jack Haffley (see below) and company. Both Willmar lines will be outweighed, although that's nothing new. The Cardinals can't count on shutting off the Tigers' offensive firepower, so they'll have to maintain the kind of offensive output they've had the last two games, admittedly against lesser quality opponents.
WILLMAR -- There's nothing flashy about the Willmar boys cross country squad. But they do have a formula for winning. It goes something like this: hang back, stay together and finish hard. It worked again on a damp Thursday afternoon at the Section 2AA meet at Eagle Creek Golf Club.
Section 2AAA is a caldron of sizzling volleyball. The top four seeds are all rated in the top 10 in the coach's state poll: No. 1 Shakopee (26-0), No. 2 Chaska (23-3), No. 9 Eden Prairie (17-9) and No. 10 Prior Lake (22-4). Unranked Willmar (17-10) is the fifth seed and is at No. 4-seed Prior Lake at 7 p.m. Friday. "It would have been nice to have a home match, but we're very happy being seeded fifth in probably the toughest section," said first year Willmar head coach Terrin DeBoer. "We'll take our bye and just get in a little more practice." The Cardinals' strength is defense.
WILLMAR -- Taylor Filipek, a senior at Willmar High School, announced Wednesday that he has made a commitment to play basketball at Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond. He will sign during the NCAA early-signing period in November, receiving a full ride. The 6-foot-6 Filipek averaged 16 points per game playing mostly point guard as a junior last season. He is projected to play at the small forward position in college. Filipek made official visits to EKU, South Dakota (also Division I) and Minnesota State-Mankato (Division II).
WILLMAR -- Nothing like playoff football -- though the Willmar Cardinals haven't had much to celebrate this century. Until last night. The Cardinals took a slam-bang, back-and-forth, suspenseful Section 2AAAA opener from the Marshall Tigers 34-28. "This is awesome," said quarterback Mark Dunham in the joyful aftermath. "To win a playoff game at home.
Marshall Tigers (4-4) at Willmar Cardinals (4-4) Today, 7 p.m. at Hodapp Field MARSHALL OVERVIEW: Like Willmar, Marshall got just what they needed going into the playoffs, an invigorating win after disheartening losses three of the previous four weeks. The Tigers knocked off Luverne 21-12, a Southwest Conference foe ranked No. 6 in Class AA, who came in 6-1. Junior fullback Brennan Cable had his best game, rushing for 183 yards in 24 attempts and two touchdowns. The Tigers' defense also took charge of the line of scrimmage holding the Cardinal offense to 170 yards.
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).
WILLMAR -- After two grinding overtime losses, the Willmar Cardinals had a breakout half to end the regular season. Quarterback Mark Dunham directed five touchdowns in the first two quarters for a 35-6 lead and the Cardinals went on to bury St. Cloud Apollo 42-12 on Thursday night. The win secures a home game at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, as the No. 3 seed in Section 2AAAA, vs. Marshall (4-4). Willmar finished 4-4 overall with a 3-4 record in the Central Lakes Conference.