Tom Larson is the sports editor of the West Central Tribune.
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Sam Kerfeld's five-yard touchdown run in overtime capped Willmar's comeback from a two-touchdown deficit in the final six minutes of regulation and the Cardinals upset top-seed Fergus Falls 27-24 in the Section 8AAAA semifinals on Saturday
Willmar and Rocori will play for the Section 8AAAA championship at 6 p.m. Friday at Alexandria High School
The Willmar football team’s solid performance against Thief River Falls earlier this week helped the Cardinals snap a four-game playoff losing streak. But Willmar will need to play its best game of the season to get past Fergus Falls in the second round of the Section 8AAAA playoffs. The Cardinals travel to play the Otters at 7 p.m. Satudray. Willmar is the section No. 4 seed with a 4-5 record.
Football coaching is one tough racket at any level, and it can be an all-consuming way of life at the college level. There are the 15-plus-hour days, spent game-planning, practicing, teaching and recruiting. Including the pressure-packed Saturday games, half of which involve travel, there is more recruiting, spring ball and summer camps. And there also is the stress that a loss here or there — with your fate in the hands of 20-year-old kids — may determine if you have that job next year.
The last three seasons, whether good or mediocre, the Willmar football team entered the playoffs knowing it would literally be outnumbered. Last season, it was Rogers, who thumped the Cardinals 63-0. In 2013, Buffalo jumped a 6-2 Cards team by a 43-20 count.
It’s playoff time for Minnesota football teams and that means a season of hard work that began in mid-August could be over in a flash. That time, whenever it comes for the Renville County West football team, will be especially difficult.
The Willmar football team has a simple assignment tonight: Win at Sauk Rapids and secure a home game to open the Section 8AAAA playoffs on Tuesday. With the Cards facing the possibility of playing three games in the next 10 days, travel is one thing they’d love to cross off their to-do list. “It’s going to be a short turnaround either way,” said Cards head coach Jon Konold, whose team wraps up the regular season against the Storm at 7 p.m. today in Sauk Rapids. “It’s a big thing to have a home game.
Rough, tough football players and their coaches, lip-syncing and dancing their way through a video of One Direction’s “What Makes You Beautiful,” can’t help being a funny addition to any Homecoming coronation. But ACGC’s video, meant only to entertain the school and community, has touched hearts and a much wider audience than the Falcons ever could have imagined. “We had no idea it was going to be this big,” said Beau Anderson, Falcons running back and Homecoming King.
Take away four plays and the Willmar football team can feel proud of the way it played against the No. 3-ranked team in Class AAAAA last week. The Cardinals (2-4) outgained the undefeated Spuds by almost 100 yards, limiting a team that averages 36 points per game to 200 total yards. But two interception returns for touchdowns, a kickoff return for a score and a long pass play made the difference. “We had a good game plan, offensively and defensively, and the kids executed that plan really well,” said Cardinals head coach Jon Konold, who leads his team against St. Cloud Tech at 7 p.m.
The Willmar girls tennis team continued its dominant season with a 6-1 victory over Rocori in a Central Lakes Conference match on Monday at the Willmar High School courts