College football: Playoff berth in play for Minnesota West
WORTHINGTON -- Last Saturday's amazing come-from-behind 48-47 victory over Northland did a lot of things for the Minnesota West Community College football team. Most importantly, perhaps, it kept the Bluejays alive for a playoff berth.
WORTHINGTON -- Last Saturday’s amazing come-from-behind 48-47 victory over Northland did a lot of things for the Minnesota West Community College football team. Most importantly, perhaps, it kept the Bluejays alive for a playoff berth.
Secondly, it proved what a group of football players -- refusing to wilt against the odds -- can do together when the chips are down.
“Confidence. Confidence in each other,” West head coach Jeff Linder summed it up Friday afternoon when looking back. “Not overconfidence. They know they’ve got a tough challenge this week.”
Minnesota West, 2-4 overall and 1-3 in the Western Division of the MCAC, travels to Willmar today to play a 2-4, 1-3 Ridgewater outfit. The game will take place beginning at 1:30 p.m. on a turf field at New London. Rain is in the forecast, so officials moved the game from Ridgewater’s home field grass at Willmar High School.
With just one more regular season game on the schedule (at Ely on Oct. 21 against Vermilion Community College), a West victory today would probably assure it of a spot in the playoffs. That, plus a little help, could get them a better seed, allowing them to bypass a very long road trip to play a tough Dakota College team in Bottineau, N.D., in the first round of the postseason.
First things first, however. The Bluejays’ opponent today is also angling for a postseason shot. And the Warriors are dangerous, coming off a 20-3 win over MState-Fergus Falls last weekend.
“They put up about 400 (yards passing) on Fergus,” said Linder. “Their quarterback is mobile; he can take off running. Defensively, we’re going to see a lot like we do in the pass coverage.”
Minnesota West has struggled in recent weeks defensively, especially with the pass, and definitely in last weekend’s game against Northland. But when it really mattered late in the fourth quarter, West held the Pioneers, allowing it to score two dramatic touchdowns with less than three minutes to go.
“We gave up a lot of yards last weekend, but we were going up against a great offense,” Linder said. “But when we needed a stop, we got a stop.”
Against MState-Fergus Falls, Ridgewater quarterback Carl Borleis completed 14 of 27 passes for 407 yards and a touchdown. He is ranked No. 3 in the MCAC in passing yards per game.
That’s one spot below Minnesota West signal caller Peyton Kendrick, who is also No. 2 in passing touchdowns. His favorite receiver, Reginald Colson III, continues to lead the MCAC in receiving yards per game and touchdowns scored.