MW FOOTBALL: Bluejays look to go 4-0, stay perfect vs. Pioneers
WORTHINGTON --The Minnesota West football team has won in a variety of ways. The Bluejays opened their season with a blowout, then won in a high-scoring game and last week, had a defensive battle. But even with a 3-0 record, head coach Jeff Linde...
WORTHINGTON --The Minnesota West football team has won in a variety of ways.
The Bluejays opened their season with a blowout, then won in a high-scoring game and last week, had a defensive battle.
But even with a 3-0 record, head coach Jeff Linder doesn't want his team to be overconfident.
"Everybody's excited," Linder said. "Everybody is working hard. I think they are confident; we're just working on not being over confident. That's always a thing you have to battle, too, when you're 3-0. They are pretty grounded and they have been working hard all week in practice."
The Bluejays host a tough Northland team today, with kickoff slated for noon at Trojan Field.
"Northland is good," Linder said. "Defensively, they are really good. They are really aggressive and they are strong up front. They are going to cause some problems if we don't have our things together."
The Pioneers are 2-1 and currently leading the Northern Division.
"Northland is going to be a challenge," Linder said. "They have a good coach and they've got good players. They cover ground as well. We are going to have to make some plays and minimize mistakes."
A week ago, MW beat Mesabi Range 10-0 in a defensive battle.
The Bluejay defense held the Norsemen to negative 40 yards.
"I think we just had them confused with everything Coach (Scott) Barber was throwing at them -- everything but the kitchen sink I think at times," Linder said. "They were just confused up front. Once you get confused offensively on the line, it's going to be a long day until you can get it figured out. Unfortunately for them, they never did quite get it figured out."
MW scored on a 53-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Logan Massop to Zelius Morrow. Tyler Smith kicked a 40-yard field goal for the other score.
"We had a game plan and we kind of stuck with the game plan," Linder said. "The one thing that happened was they were set on stopping out iso and running game. Once that happened, we used that same game plan to get a short passing game in and actually broke one for a touchdown.
"In the second half, we were on their end of the field most of the time. We just played a smart game. I suppose we could have spread them out, but there was no reason for it. We had the game in control; the defense was letting them go nowhere and we could continue to work on things without big momentum swings."
But the 10 points was enough for the MW defense.
"We have a great group of guys," Linder said. "They work hard. They are young, but hats off to Coach Barber. He always has had his teams prepared to play. If they don't know where they are supposed to be by the time game day comes, something is wrong. He makes sure they know what's supposed to be going on. Coach Barber has done an excellent job with the defense and they had a really good game."
Northland has rushed for 336 yards and thrown for 663. Defensively, it has allowed 417 yards rushing and 433 yards passing.
"They can throw the ball. Defensively, if you were to look at our defense you would say, 'Wow, they are fast,'" Linder said. "We cover ground quick. Once again, we know what our assignments are supposed to be. We're going to have to make plays just like last week. We have to make some things happen and we're going to have to make some turnovers.
"Offensively, it's going to be a tough day. We're going to have to work, just like every week. We have a tough task in front of us and the boys seem to be up to the challenge."
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Coordinator Aaron Hagen may be reached at 376-7323.