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Central Lakes bumps West 35-6 in MCAC state semifinal

MWest football 1
Minnesota West running back Dalton Wagner (22) eludes Central Lakes linebacker Charles Dressel (57) Sunday afternoon at Trojan Field. (Aaron Hagen/The Globe)

WORTHINGTON -- It was a cold rain that fell Sunday afternoon at Trojan Field in Worthington, and the rain fell mostly on the Minnesota West Bluejays.

In an MCAC state semifinal game, the Bluejays were controlled throughout by a Central Lakes squad that took over early and held on for a 35-6 triumph. In a regular season game, West defeated Central Lakes 20-14 on the same field, but the Raiders won the one that counted most -- handing the Bluejays their only loss on home turf this fall.

“I don’t think anybody expected that kind of loss to end our season,” said MW head coach Jeff Linder, whose outfit finished with a 6-4 record. “Even if we did lose. Not like that.”

The tone was set early in the first quarter as the Raiders moved 73 yards on the game’s opening drive into the end zone on a 4-yard run by running back Jesse Sherwood. Another first quarter touchdown, coming on a 4th-and-11 play from the Jays’ 26, materialized on a pass into the left corner of the end zone from quarterback Jakob Olson to Jayou Mensah. Before the half, Central made the score 21-0 on a 47-yard strike from Olson to a wide-open Alec Frederick.

“First of all, they marched right down and just shoved it down our throats. And we weren’t prepared for that,” said Linder. “We just didn’t play well all day.”

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Minnesota West quarterback Andrew Ortiz, who enjoyed an outstanding sophomore year and was coming off a first-round playoff win over Northland in which he threw for five touchdowns, was harassed continually by a strong Raider pass rush. He threw two first half interceptions that set up Central Lakes’ last two first-half scores.

Central Lakes increased its margin to 35-0 in the third quarter on a 1-yard Olson TD run and a 2-yard Olson TD run -- the first of those two scores set up after an Ortiz fumble as he was blindsided while fading back to pass. The second score was set up after Minnesota West went into punt formation on a fourth-down play, which resulted in a tackle behind the line of scrimmage.

West’s only score occurred with 3:09 remaining in the game as Ortiz bulled through the Central Lakes line, through traffic, on a 10-yard touchdown scamper.

For the game, Minnesota West rushed 27 times for a minus-25 net yards (Central Lakes accumulated 10 sacks for 104 yards in losses). Ortiz completed 17 of 41 passes for 251 yards and three interceptions -- the third interception thrown into the Central Lakes end zone as the Jays were threatening late in the third quarter.

Central Lakes rushed 44 times for 159 yards and passed for 164.

Central Lakes 14 7 14 0 -- 35

Minnesota West 0 0 0 6 0 -- 6

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