MW FOOTBALL: Bluejays ready to open up the football seasonWORTHINGTON — It smells like football outside and Minnesota West is ready for it, as the Bluejays open up the season Saturday at Itasca. “We’re tired of beating up on each other and we’re ready to play someone else,” MW coach Jeff Linder said.
WORTHINGTON — It smells like football outside and Minnesota West is ready for it, as the Bluejays open up the season Saturday at Itasca.
“We’re tired of beating up on each other and we’re ready to play someone else,” MW coach Jeff Linder said.
The Bluejays won a shootout last season versus the Vikings, turning a 21-20 halftime deficit into a 38-31 win, after outscoring Itasca 18-3 in the third quarter.
“We’ve had some battles throughout the years,” Linder said. “Our two coaching staffs have similar coaching styles. We’ve had some interesting games between us.
“It never matters who on paper is better or worse. This will be a challenge for us this year on the road. We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us. We got to play all the way until the end.”
MW, however, will be missing the big factor from its last meeting with the Vikings. Quarterback Teddy Joseph threw for 382 yards and six touchdowns versus Itasca for the Bluejays in his sophomore season.
“As far as last year compared to this year, we have a different quarterback and a very good quarterback,” Linder said. “We have to focus on what we do this year rather than what we did last year.
“We have a very intelligent, strong-armed passer in Logan Massop.”
Itasca will run the ball behind Gerard Graves, who racked up 400 yards in the final four games of 2011.
“The one thing we can always expect from Itasca is the unexpected,” Linder said. “We’ve seen them go from I formation to bone to wing T formation to spread all in one game. We prepared for everything just to make sure we have our bases cover.”
Itasca has a special player on special teams. Shain Powers, who found the endzone on a 67-yard kick return and a 40-yard punt return versus MW last season, can make plays at any point in the game.
“We didn’t do a very good job with special teams last year and he did a bit of a number on us, especially in the beginning of the game,” Linder said. “He’s a good player and we’re gong to have to be aware of where he’s at or if we want to kick the ball to him.”
Both teams finished 3-6 last season, so one play could be the difference in what should be a close game.
“Attention to the little things is what will get us to where we want to be,” Linder said. “We’ve prepared for everything we know they’ve thrown at us in the past.
Kickoff is scheduled for noon.
Daily Globe Sports Editor Chris Murphy may be reached at 376-7328.