This week's look at the Ridgewater Warriors football
What's at stake The MCCC South Division's two playoff spots are up for grabs but Ridgewater can't afford another loss after being spilled in non-conference three times. In the other South game, Minnesota West takes its spotless 6-0 record to Brai...
What's at stake
The MCCC South Division's two playoff spots are up for grabs but Ridgewater can't afford another loss after being spilled in non-conference three times. In the other South game, Minnesota West takes its spotless 6-0 record to Brainerd to play Central Lakes (3-3). Teams are rewarded with two points for a win in their division compared to one point for a win against a non-conference foe.
Rochester won its sixth straight by beating Fergus Falls 31-6. Ridgewater won its second straight after a three-game losing streak, topping Central Lakes in a good defensive display, 14-6.
The Warriors File
The Warriors came close to upending the Yellowjackets last year, coming up a touchdown short of ending a losing streaking dating to 1991 when thes Warriors shaded Rochester 17-14. Look for the Warriors to work from the shotgun and spread formation to bring the Yellowjackets out of their run-stopping 4-4 alignment. The Warriors will air it out but also feel they can run for positive yards out of the shotgun. Aaron Minter has two of the top receivers in the division in Shawn Thissen and Terry Euerle. Tight ends Steve Peppin and Tyler Johnson are tall targets that Minter has used with good results.
The Central Lakes File
Rochester operates behind an offensive line that averages more than 275 pounds. Though not as explosive as some years, the Yellowjackets have shown they can win close games (13-12 over Mesabi and a triple-overtime win at Itasca). Top performers are running back Mike Ferron (5.5 yards per rush) and receiver Ryan Collins (17.5 yards per catch). Quarterbacks Brian Post and Jake Powell have both been effective with Post getting about 70 percent of the snaps.
Right tackle Mike Hutsell is out with a concussion suffered two weeks ago at Rainy River. Though he tried to play last week, he came out of the game and Dustin Skogstad took over, going to right guard for Blake Kral, who moved to Hutsell's spot. That's how they will line-up today. Everyone else is healthy.
The Bottom Line
If Ridgewater can put some pressure on the Yellowjackets' defense with the run, the passing game has a better chance of succeeding. The Warriors coaches are looking for a peak performance, which is what it will take to upset Rochester, winners of 28 of the 35 meetings with one tie.