Minnesota West wins regular season finale, to host home game in playoffs

Minnesota West Bluejays

CLOQUET -- With 41 seconds remaining in the game, Minnesota West quarterback Andrew Ortiz connected with Tyler Linder on a 10-yard touchdown pass Saturday afternoon, giving the Bluejays a 41-36 victory over host Fond du Lac in both teams’ final regular season game of the 2019 college football campaign.

The win vaulted the Bluejays into the postseason playoffs with a home game. They will play Northland next Sunday at a time to be determined. West, the No. 2 seed in the Western Division, will go in with a 5-3 overall record. Northland, seeded third, is 3-5.

“Pretty exciting stuff,” said MW head coach Jeff Linder about the final seconds of the Fond du Lac clash. “The boys stayed pretty composed. The coaches called some good plays. We punched it in and the defense kept them out in the end.”

The Fond du Lac victory was the first road win during the 2019 season for the Jays, who won all four of their home games this fall but lost all three of their road games until Saturday.

Ortiz had a hand in all of West’s scores against Fond du Lac. He helped the Bluejays to a 13-0 first quarter lead when he passed for a 14-yard score to Gary Smith and ran for another score from eight yards away.


After a Fond du Lac score, Ortiz passed to Terryon Bumpus for an 18-yard touchdown before passing to GenTaris Oliver on a 69-yard hookup.

At that point, Minnesota West led 25-6, but the hosts scored the next two touchdowns and trailed just 25-22 at halftime.

West scored first in the third quarter on an Ortiz pass to Bumpus covering eight yards. Fond du Lac answered twice to take a 36-33 lead, but the Bluejays moved on a nine-play, 63-yard drive for the game-winning score.

Ortiz finished with 401 yards passing while completing 27 of 51 passes. He was intercepted twice, and one of them was returned for a touchdown in the second quarter.

Dimond Brooks led Minnesota West in rushing with 45 yards on nine carries. Ortiz ran 18 times for 42 yards and Dalton Wagner gained 34 yards on six carries.

Bumpus caught eight passes for 131 yards and Smith caught six for 87. Linder caught five for 47.

As a team, Minnesota West had 527 yards of total offense. Fond du Lac finished with 455 total yards, with 363 coming by the pass.

Minnesota West 13 12 8 8 -- 41


Fond du Lac 0 22 8 6 -- 36

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Tom Goehle, son of legendary coach Hugo Goehle, was once a star athlete at Hills-Beaver Creek High School. Now he gives back through coaching and his involvement in Fellowship of Christian Athletes.