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MWest loses MCAC playoff opener to Central Lakes

Central Lakes started fast and defeated Minnesota West on Sunday in the Bluejays' college football playoff game

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Football Graphic
Tim Middagh/The Globe
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BRAINERD -- The MCAC playoff tournament ended quickly and ingloriously for the Minnesota West Community and Technical College football team on Sunday.

Playing in Brainerd against Central Lakes College, the Bluejays fell by a 49-8 score.

Central Lakes, which lost to Minnesota West 21-8 at Worthington during the regular season, outscored the Jays 19-0 in the first quarter and took a 26-8 lead into halftime. Then in the third quarter, the Raiders outscored West 23-0.

It was the fifth road loss Minnesota West suffered this fall, against just one road victory. West finished the year at 3-6.

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Final statistics bore out Central Lakes’ dominance in the Sunday game. The Raiders gained 23 first downs to West’s 13 and rushed 50 times for 276 yards while West rushed 34 times for a net of 96. The Raiders also took charge in the passing department, with 257 yards to just 56 for West.

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For the game, Central Lakes amassed 533 yards of offense compared to 152 for the Bluejays.

Central scored the game’s first touchdown on a four-play, 30-yard drive which culminated on a 35-yard run by Rashaun Cage. The second score came when West quarterback Brock Starley was intercepted by Nicholas Korom, who returned the pick 35 yards to the endzone.

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When Matt Torres passed 37 yards to Jackson Owens for a third Central Lakes TD, bad went to worse for the Bluejays. The score came at the end of a nine-play, 90-yard drive.

Central’s Ramon Lee scored in the second quarter on a 4-yard carry to help put the host team up 26-0. Minnesota West’s only score came later before the half on an 8-yard Starley pass to Stephen Lewis. Ian Stamer threw to Starley for a 2-point conversion.

The third quarter was brutal for West. Central’s Sherrod Russell scored on a 6-yard run, Torres passed to Paul Meyer on a 46-yard scoring pass, Andrew Gottwalt kicked a 34-yard field goal, and Russell scored again on a 97-yard carry.

Despite the setback, Minnesota West got a good effort from sophomore running back Rashard Anderson, who rushed 16 times for 85 yards. But Central Lakes’ Russell gained 127 yards on just five carries.

Starley completed eight passes in 23 attempts for 56 yards, with three interceptions. For Central Lakes, Torres made good on 12 of 20 attempts for 257 yards and one interception.

Defensively, JayVarion Peters-Johnson was in on 10 tackles for the Bluejays while Jalen Cole took part in nine. Darrick Baartman, who had four unassisted tackles and three assisted, had West’s interception.

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Minnesota West 0 8 0 0 -- 8

Central Lakes 19 7 23 0 -- 49

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