Minnesota West footballers anxious to get on field

The Minnesota West football team is peppered with talented and experienced athletes in 2022

Minnesota West Bluejays
We are part of The Trust Project.

WORTHINGTON -- Minnesota West head football coach Jeff Linder says he’s rarin’ to get on the football field for some serious practice, and he has no doubt that his players are, too.

The 2022 edition of the Bluejays participated in mostly classroom work this week, but next week they’ll be practicing in earnest for their Aug. 25 opener at Northwestern JV. There will be lots of conditioning drills on the to-do list.

For the last several days, Linder and his staff did the tedious pre-season work: checking players in, making sure they were all eligible, and filling out all the paperwork that comes with it. Lots of paperwork.


There was equipment to check out, and a practice field to get ready. Plus scheduling for freshman academic work, and playbook preparation. Like always, housing issues are a concern.

“There’s just a lot of things to get prepared for,” said Linder. “As a coach, you just always wear multiple hats.”


Housing headaches, as in previous years, continue to threaten team depth. Linder said Friday that at least seven potential athletes have been lost because they haven’t been able to secure housing.

“And seven is a lot,” said the veteran coach.

The good news is that the Bluejays have many talented players in camp, which includes returnees at most of the position groups. The defensive line is a veteran outfit, and once again defense figures to be a team strength. Two experienced quarterbacks return along with three productive receivers. Last year’s starting running back is back, plus two offensive linemen and last year’s kicker-punter.

Minnesota West sophomore volleyball player Kennedy Buckneberg is prepared to spike home winners and be a leader
A talented group of seniors are headlining the Worthington High School girls tennis team
Minnesota high school fall sports teams began organized practices Monday, including those in Worthington

Brock Starley, a sophomore from Utah, was a part-time starter at quarterback in 2021 who won a big playoff game against Rochester while coming off the bench. Willie Holm (Zumbrota) also had a few starts a year ago.

“They’re both leaders. They both have special qualities that make them unique. And they’re also friends. They get along well together,” Linder said.

Three receivers who starred in high school at southwest Minnesota venues -- Bailey Cowell (Luverne), Ian Stamer (Adrian) and Tommy Lais (Worthington) return. Running back Rashard Anderson (Jacksonville, N.C.) returns, too.

“We’ve got a good group of athletes, there’s no doubt. I would like to see them on the field,” said Linder. “Until they become a team … they have to make that adjustment and buy in.”

Related Topics: FOOTBALL
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
What to read next
The Douglasville, Ga., native missed the 2020 season. “It was a dark time,” he said Monday in his first media session as a Gopher.
The Luverne Redbirds defeated the Milroy Irish Sunday for the championship of the Region 13C tourney
An infusion of new talent, including several former Worthington Trojans, adds to the Minnesota West men's soccer team's optimism for 2022
The Minnesota West volleyball team looks for more consistency in 2022