WORTHINGTON -- The Minnesota West Bluejays football team might be forgiven this week for feeling like they’ve been running in place.
The Jays lost their season opener on the road two weeks ago to a strong Itasca team, 26-0. They had a bye last week, which means that their opponent today (2:30 p.m. in Worthington) will suit up for its third game while the Bluejays -- who are still figuring out what they’re made of -- will play only their second.
Central Lakes is 2-0 after victories against Dakota College 12-0 and Vermilion 49-13. Against DC, the Raiders allowed only one first down and 23 yards of total offense. The game against Vermilion was more offensive-minded as the winners put up 274 yards of passing.
Quarterback Jakob Olson completed 17 of 23 aerials for 246 yards and five touchdowns, with only one interception in game two. The Raiders defense forced five turnovers.
“They all hustle and do their jobs. That shows up on the film,” Minnesota West head coach Jeff Linder said of today’s opponent.
Minnesota West hurt itself in its game with Itasca. The Bluejays surrendered eight sacks. Their running game never got untracked. Their outstanding quarterback, Andrew Ortiz, seldom had time to set up and throw.
Linder said he thought his team appeared “timid” in its first game. In game two, he’s hoping to see improvement in special teams and in the young offensive line. Ortiz did all that he could, but it was his first game back since suffering a season-ending injury early in his freshman season, and he needed more help.
The good news is, said Linder, that the Bluejays have had good practices since their season-opening loss. They’ve kept up their positive attitudes and have taken it upon themselves to get to where they need to be.
Said Linder, “Everything we need to work on is very fixable.”
Unfortunately, the weather isn’t. Forecasters predict a rainy day.