ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Home at last

What's at stake? Both teams are 2-0 and looking to stay at the top of their respective divisions. Last week: The Warriors' second win has earned them instant credibility with the NJCAA/JCFootball.com Poll. They received nine points in voting and ...

What's at stake?

Both teams are 2-0 and looking to stay at the top of their respective divisions.

Last week:

The Warriors' second win has earned them instant credibility with the NJCAA/JCFootball.com Poll. They received nine points in voting and are ranked No. 18 in the top 20. Rochester, also 2-0, is No. 11. Ridgewater won a defensive struggle at Virginia 14-8 while Itasca topped Minnesota West 15-6. Rochester drained Rainy River 28-6 and Vermilion spoiled the debut of Fond du Lac Community College of Cloquet 26-13.

Bad News:

ADVERTISEMENT

Quarterback Sean Knezevich (St. Anthony Village) is lost for the season with a torn ACL suffered in the fourth quarter at Virginia. He was hit as he planted to throw. The 6-3, 215-pound sophomore who had spent a season at North Dakota School of Science before setting out a year had shared time with Justin Koenen behind center. Over two games he had completed 12 of 22 passes for 182 yards and two touchdowns without an interception.

What Ridgewater coach Baumgarn said:

"It's really too bad about Sean. He'd worked hard to make this comeback. We'll miss him. Robert Brunnel, a wide receiver who played quarterback in high school, will be Justin's backup but he's small (5-foot-7) ... This is a huge game and we've had a great week of practice. I think the offense is ready to explode. We're going to a four receiver set and will be passing more, a lot of short, quick passes. Brian McIntosh will see action at running back and Alex McLaughlin will get more carries. Our linemen are still learning to block the 3-5 and handle the quickness of the linebackers. We've got to finish our blocks and run downhill instead of the sidelines."

The Itasca file:

The Vikings are averaging 309 yards per game behind the passing of Paul Bunkowske (20-30-269, 2 INT, 1 TD) and the running of Chance Kraft (23-75, 3.3 average). Jed Ryan and Oscar Banagas have together caught 13 passes for 210 yards. Says Baumgarn of Itasca: "They're a team that doesn't make many mistakes; they just play hard-nosed football and have a good quarterback with a good running back.

Warriors notes:

Dustin Punto (Elkton, S.D.), a middle linebacker, has been in on 20 tackles in two games. The play of Justin Melhado (Orlando, Fla.), a utility player in the secondary with eight solo tackles, makes it hard to keep him off the field. Linebacker Jeff Kalow (New Ulm) has 15 assisted tackles. The weekly MCCC stats show Ridgewater has rushed for 104 yards in two games.

The bottom line:

ADVERTISEMENT

The Warriors will do their impression of Ohio State when they take the field to loud music while wearing the Buckeye colors. The fans will be eager to see if they play like OSU or more like Michigan in its home opener.

What To Read Next
Fundraising is underway to move the giant ball of twine from the Highland, Wisconsin, home of creator James Frank Kotera, who died last month at age 75, 44 years after starting the big ball.
Mike Clemens, a farmer from Wimbledon, North Dakota, was literally (and figuratively) “blown away,” when his equipment shed collapsed under a snow load.
Volunteers lead lessons on infusing fibers with plant dyes and journaling scientific observations for youth in Crow Wing and Olmsted counties.
The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission met on Jan. 5, 2023, to consider the application for Summit Carbon Solutions.