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College football: Bluejays need to rediscover their offense

WORTHINGTON -- Here's a news flash: The Minnesota West Community and Technical College football team needs to rediscover its offense. No shocker there. The Bluejays shut down altogether on offense last Saturday in their 39-7 loss to Dakota Colleg...

WORTHINGTON -- Here’s a news flash: The Minnesota West Community and Technical College football team needs to rediscover its offense.

No shocker there. The Bluejays shut down altogether on offense last Saturday in their 39-7 loss to Dakota College at Trojan Field. The passing game didn’t work, the running game didn’t work. And the defense was on the field too long, compromising that unit, too.

“We gotta find ourselves offensively again,” said Minnesota West head coach Jeff Linder on Thursday.

Linder and his coaching assistants have to decide who the starting quarterback will be in today’s (Saturday, Oct. 6) road game against Northland. Against Dakota College, sophomore quarterback Frank Cromer struggled. Caleb Tinklenberg, a sophomore wide receiver/kicker from Pipestone, replaced him with mixed results. The Bluejays could also go with Trevon Wilkenson under center.

A season-ending injury in the third game of the season to Andrew Ortiz, an accurate-armed, sure-footed quarterback from Albuquerque, N.M., has put the Bluejays in this fix. But it doesn’t matter now how they got here -- the blue and black have to find a way out.

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One way to jump-start the team might be to get the ball in the hands of sophomore wideout Reginald Colson III more often. Opposing teams aren’t stupid -- they’re bracketing last year’s national leader in receiving yards per game, and it’s been working. Colson caught three passes for 76 yards and three touchdowns three games ago against MState-Fergus Falls, but he caught just two passes the next week against North Dakota State College of Science and didn’t have any catches against Dakota College. Linder said the team continues trying to find ways to get him the ball in the open field.

If Minnesota West (2-3) is to beat Northland (3-1) today, said Linder, “It’s going to come back to the offense. We’ve gotta keep our defense off the field a little bit.”

Northland’s scheduled Sept. 29 game with Ridgewater was canceled due to Ridgewater’s mid-season canceling of its 2018 campaign. But in the Pioneers’ most recent game, a 36-14 win over MState-Fergus Falls, quarterback Craig Wells completed 18 of 29 passes for 449 yards and four touchdowns.

Linder described the Pioneers as “one of the more physical teams we’ll see,” and added, “We’ll have to be prepared to play college football.”

The game is scheduled to begin at noon.

High noon, you might say, for a Minnesota West team that needs something good to happen, and fast. The Bluejays will have two more weeks to await their next game, an Oct. 19 date at home against Vermilion Community College which will end the regular season. They were to play Ridgewater at home on Oct. 13, but that game, of course, is off.

“I think we’ll need to get something happening right away (against Northland),” Linder said, “something in a positive way, to get the confidence back.”

Doug Wolter joined the Worthington Globe in December of 1983 as a sports reporter. He later became sports editor, and then news editor and managing editor. In 2006 he moved to Mankato with his wife, Sandy, and served as an editor at the Mankato Free Press. In 2013 he and Sandy returned to Worthington to take up the job of sports editor at The Globe, and they have been in Worthington since.

Doug can be reached at dwolter@dglobe.com.
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