Another tough test
Last Year: Willmar 33, Rocori 14 What's at stake? Willmar is fourth in the six-team Section 2AAAA seeding behind Mankato East, Marshall and Mankato West. A win would secure a post-season home game and keep alive the chance for a first-round bye. ...
Last Year: Willmar 33, Rocori 14
What's at stake?
Willmar is fourth in the six-team Section 2AAAA seeding behind Mankato East, Marshall and Mankato West. A win would secure a post-season home game and keep alive the chance for a first-round bye. Last year, Rocori went 3-5 in the regular season but then swept Section 8AAAA before losing in the state quarterfinals. Doubtless, the Spartans are aiming for another exhilarating finish after crushing Sauk Rapids Friday.
Around the Central Lakes
Rocori running back Nick Schneider rushed through Sauk Rapids for 252 yards and two touchdowns in a 31-14 win. QB Brad Olson threw for 86 yards and a score while the Storm committed four turnovers .... Moorhead scored first, but Sartell led 21-7 by halftime on the way to a 28-14 non-conference win against the Class AAAAA Spuds, Willmar's opponent Wednesday in Moorhead. Junior Nick Sweeter scored all four Sabre TDs, two on passes, one on a plunge and another on an interception. Moorhead's leading running back Nick Emmerich got 55 yards in 21 attempts and quarterback Nick Thielen threw for 185 yards and ran for 33 more ... Trailing 14-7 at half, Alexandria erupted to stomp Little Falls 42-27 .... Brainerd scored 54 points for a second week in a row beating winless Fergus Falls 54-13 ... Bemidji nicked St. Cloud Apollo 14-13 in non-conference action.
The Rocori file
The Spartans 3-3 may be misleading; they played two AAAAA teams, plus Alexandria in their first three games, and, after a relative breather against undermanned Little Falls, they had to play unbeaten Sartell, losing 24-21. Schneider is just a sophomore but was also the team's leading rusher as a freshman. Olson, 6-3, 190 pounds, is another in a long-line of competent Rocori quarterbacks.
What Willmar coach Ken Heitzman said
On Tech victory: "We were able to use all our weapons on offense and the defense did a great job. The key things were our 279 yards rushing and holding Tech to 11 completions in 29 attempts. We limited what they like to do."
On Rocori: "They're aggressive and physical, a lot like Tech. Their running back, Schneider, has size (195 pounds) and speed. It's an exceptional offense."
On team's focus: "The win was nice but we can't be looking backwards now; we've got two critical football games coming up against very good teams."
The bottom line
Willmar seems to be a team that needed some time and dry weather to show what it could do. The Cardinals will need another all-out performance to top the Spartans in what should be a tilt to match the Tech game in sustained entertainment value. If the weather is decent, the stadium should fill up.