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College football: Minnesota West faces tough Mesabi Range team

WORTHINGTON -- After the Minnesota West Bluejays football team lost 28-12 to Central Lakes in their season and home opener last Saturday, players were nevertheless convinced they had the makings of a competitive outfit.

WORTHINGTON -- After the Minnesota West Bluejays football team lost 28-12 to Central Lakes in their season and home opener last Saturday, players were nevertheless convinced they had the makings of a competitive outfit.

Now comes the next step: winning a game.

But it won’t be easy today (Saturday, Sept. 9) as the Jays host Mesabi Range (11 a.m. at Trojan Field in Worthington), a 42-15 winner over MState-Fergus Falls in its own season opener. The Norsemen rolled up 429 yards of total offense last weekend while holding Fergus Falls to 137, and West head coach Jeff Linder knows he may have his hands full.

“I know it’s just the first game, but it’s a pretty impressive first game,” he said.

The Norsemen, said Linder, have some big people up front. They are disciplined and consistent.

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Consistency was something Minnesota West lacked in their game against Central Lakes, which came in as the No. 1-ranked two-year school in Minnesota. Mistakes on offense caused drives to be cut short, and though the defense played well for most of the game, there were occasional letdowns there, too.

“The best thing that can happen for us is to get our offense on the field and get our defense off,” Linder said, looking ahead to the next opponent. “We need to sustain more of our drives, and then we need to get some points off those drives. And we’ve gotta get the run game going.”

The Bluejay run game didn’t get going at all against Central Lakes -- despite the fact that Jays running back Kevin Carter, a 5-9, 185-pound sophomore from Toledo, Ohio, is a proven ground gainer. Against Central Lakes, Carter had very little room to run.

The West offensive line will need to sustain its blocks longer in Game Two, Linder said.

“He doesn’t need much to make things happen. We just gotta give him a little,” said the coach about Carter.

On the other side, Robert James Jr. rushed 12 times for 126 yards and a touchdown last weekend for Mesabi Range, and quarterback Deabrie Smith completed 11 of 17 passes for 173 yards and two touchdowns.

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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