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Minnesota West shut out in football opener

Football graphic

GRAND RAPIDS -- The Minnesota West Community and Technical College football team lost its season opener on the road Saturday, falling to Itasca by a 26-0 score.

The Vikings outscored the Bluejays 19-0 in the first half, then continued the shutout in the second half.

Minnesota West’s offense was spotty, and uneven. Quarterback Andrew Ortiz, back this year after an injury cut short his freshman season, completed 15 of 27 passes for 195 yards, with one interception. But the Jays could not get the running game in gear, getting saddled with a minus-2 yards net on 33 carries.

Itasca, meanwhile, showed a balanced offensive attack with 176 yards rushing on 44 tries, and 207 yards passing on just eight completions on 14 attempts.

Itasca found paydirt on an eight-play, 71-yard drive in the first quarter when Joshua Booker carried it over from an 8-yard quarterback keeper. A second first quarter score occurred on a 10-yard run by Booker. Before the half, Javon McInnis passed 92 yards to Antwan Downs for a third touchdown. In the third quarter, the Vikings capped the day’s scoring with a 40-yard McInnis pass to Donnovan Bishop.

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The Bluejays didn’t have a rusher with flattering statistics all day. Besides the lack of production by the running backs, the quarterbacks were sacked nine times for a total of 82 yards.

Montrez Hearon led West receivers with six catches for 128 yards. Gary Smith caught three passes for 25 yards. GenTaris Oliver caught two for 32, and Tyler Linder caught two for 29.

Itasca dominated the time of possession, holding the ball for nearly 69 minutes compared by barely more than 36 minutes for Minnesota West.

Xavier James, Kwesi Hooks and Cornell Washington had four tackles apiece by West defenders.

Minnesota West 0 0 0 0 -- 0

Itasca 13 6 7 0 -- 26

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