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 -- This was the match Willmar had been building up for an entire month after losing in five games at Alexandria on Sept. 8. "We were so excited," said senior setter Jennie Mattison.
Ridgewater (1-1, 2-4) at Fond du Lac (1-1, 2-4) 1:30 pm. Today at Cloquet FOND DU LAC OVERVIEW: The third-year program has wins over Minnesota West (25-0) in Week 3 and Itasca (24-14, OT) in Week 5. Quarterback Rumea Carlton (900 yards, 9 INT, 7 TD) of Ft. Meade, Fla., leads an explosive offense, with wideout Branden Peterson (Apple Valley, Eastview) the leading receiver 19 catches for 412 yards and two TDs. Running back March Jones (Montgomery, Ala.) has rushed for 349 yards, the most in the North Division.
Willmar Cardinals (3-2) at Sauk Rapids Storm (4-1) Friday, 7 p.m. WILLMAR OVERVIEW: The Cardinals are in the rebound-mode for the second time this season. They struck back from the Brainerd loss by overtaking Little Falls in last 10 minutes. The Flyers, by the way, got a rare win Friday over St. Cloud Tech, 9-8, their first win at Clark Field in 18 years. The Cardinals lost to the Storm last year, 35-14 at Hodapp, but got the "W" last time on the Storm field (45-20 in 2007).
Robert Johnson is stout with muscular arms and a thick neck, but you need to lean in to hear him. His gentle voice and kind manner belies the rugged game he plays. The 6-foot-1 280-pound Twin Cities native plays defensive tackle for the Ridgewater Warriors. Since graduating in 2007 from Apple Valley High School, he's seen more adversity than most athletes deal with in a lifetime. He started college at Southwest Minnesota State intending to play Mustang football. But an old basketball injury hadn't completely healed and required surgery.
WILLMAR -- The Willmar boys were second to Moorhead and the Willmar girls finished in sixth place at the Optimist Cross Country Invitational on Saturday afternoon at Eagle Creek Golf Club. The Moorhead girls were also victorious in a field of 12 schools. The same rolling terrain of the Eagle Creek's back nine will be the site of the Central Lakes Conference meet on Oct. 20 and also the Section 2AA meet on Oct. 29. The Cardinal girls were led at Saturday's meet by Tara Rudie in 18th place. The Willmar boys, who are ranked No. 10 in Class AA, got a measure of their strength against the No.
Ridgewater (1-0, 2-3) at Minnesota West (0-0, 1-4) 1:30 p.m. today at Worthington MINNESOTA WEST: This meeting rates a toss-up with neither team showing an edge. The Bluejays beat Northland, which beat the Warriors. But in Week 1, Ridgewater beat Itasca, which dumped Minnesota West 24-14 last week. This is the Southern Division opener for the Blue Jays, who average 198 yards of offense while allowing 229 yards per game against the five teams in the North. Quarterback Chris Bible has thrown for 407 yards with five interceptions and two touchdowns.
WILLMAR -- Sartell senior running back Josh Kremer ran for three first-half touchdowns and the Sabres went on to drain Willmar's upset hopes 38-6 at Homecoming on a windy and rainy Friday night. The Central Lakes Conference leaders led 24-0 by halftime. Kremer had 95 yards by then. Willmar (2-2, 3-2) had only 48 total yards in the first two quarters. The Cardinals got on the board in third period.