ELY -- Vermilion Community College outscored Minnesota West 14-0 in the second half, earning a 24-14 victory over the Bluejays Saturday afternoon in Ely.
Minnesota West, coming off a thrilling upset of nationally-ranked Rochester in Worthington, couldn’t keep the momentum going against the Ironmen. Trailing 14-10 at halftime, Vermilion scored all 14 of its second-half points in the fourth quarter.
A Willard Holm pass was intercepted by the Ironmen with 9:54 remaining in the game, and it was returned by Jarquarius Sherrod six yards for a score to put the home team ahead. An insurance touchdown was scored with 4:59 remaining on a 10-yard Justin Willliams pass to Ramon Coleman.
Saturday’s game was a chance for Minnesota West to even its fall record at 3-3. Instead, the loss dropped the Jays to 2-4 with two regular season games remaining -- at Itasca next weekend, then at home against MState-Fergus Falls on Oct. 16.
“Defensively, we played a good game, but offensively we just didn’t play well,” said West head coach Jeff Linder about the Vermilion contest. “We didn’t put anything together. We put our defense in some really poor positions again.”
In one of those poor positions, the Bluejays came through. Vermilion had a first-and-goal situation at the Minnesota West 4-yard line, but the Jays held.
Offensively, however, West didn’t fare well on an Ely field that was a little bit slick. Whenever offensive players planted a foot, traction just wasn’t there.
Linder didn’t blame the long road trip -- the kind of road trip that saps the energy of many a visiting team. The Bluejays motored to Ely on the day before the game, Friday, so they had an overnight stay and woke up rested.
For the game, Vermilion rolled up 276 yards of total offense against the Bluejays while holding them to just 122 total yards. West had just seven first downs compared to the Ironmen’s 25.
West, which got its running game going against the Yellowjackets, were saddled with a minus-54 yards on 20 attempts on Saturday. The Jays were sacked nine times for a total of 39 yards.
When the Bluejays were able to pass, they completed 15 of 30 for 176 yards. Bailey Cowell caught six for 74 yards.
Minnesota West scored first Saturday with a 35-yard field goal by Mike Peralta early in the first quarter, then added a touchdown when Holm found Cowell on a 25-yard scoring strike just six minutes later.
Vermilion scored on a safety in the first quarter as West running back Rashard Anderson -- who was held to just five yards rushing on nine carries for the game -- was tackled in the end zone. The Ironmen got their second score in the second quarter on a 4-yard Laqwan Sims run.
Peralta booted his second field goal before halftime from 21 yards out.
Minnesota West 11 3 0 0 -- 14
Vermilion 2 8 0 14 -- 24