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West Bluejays face top team in nation today

MState-Fergus Falls isn't just any ol' college football team. The Minnesota West Bluejays final regular season opponent is No. 1 in the community college Division III rankings.

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WORTHINGTON -- After proving that they can win on the road, the Minnesota West Community and Technical College football Bluejays now get a chance to prove they can upset the No. 1-ranked team in the country.

The Bluejays will host MState-Fergus Falls at Trojan field today (Saturday, Oct. 15) in a 2:30 p.m. start. The Spartans are 5-0 in division play and 7-0 overall. And yes, they stand atop the Division III community college national rankings.

MState is unique for that reason, but the Spartans are also unique for the fact that they’re not just big. They’re also highly athletic. Whereas most football teams might be lucky to have either heft or speed in abundance, MState has both.

“They’ve got a pretty good combination,” testified Minnesota West head coach Jeff Linder.

“We’ve got a tough task ahead of us. But we think we’re capable of playing with anybody. We’ve always said that we can play with anybody as long as we get out of our own way,” the coach added.

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West, 3-4 on the season, defeated Dakota State JV last Sunday 14-3, holding its hosts to just 57 yards of total offense. It was the Bluejays’ first road win of the season, after going 0-4 in road games prior to last weekend.

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Untimely penalties, which had hurt West for much of the season, were brought under control on Sunday. And the offense, which had been pass-heavy because of an inconsistent running game, was more balanced. Sophomore running back Rashard Anderson carried 15 times for 86 yards against Dakota State and quarterback Brock Staley completed 21 of 36 aerials for 128 yards.

“They did a great job, and got multiple turnovers to get the ball back into our offensive hands,” said Linder. “We really had been ‘right there’ for a few weeks. They went right out there and pushed the ball over the hill for a victory.”

Today’s game with MState-Fergus Falls will be just the second home game of 2022 for Minnesota West. The Jays’ first three games of the season were on the road, and one other home date against Vermilion Community College scheduled for Oct. 1 was canceled and forfeited by the Voyageurs. The Dakota State JV game was scheduled as a replacement.

Minnesota West, along with fellow MCAC schools, awaits the start of the post-season tournament quarterfinals set for Sunday, Oct. 23. Linder said all playoff games will be Sunday contests, which will make it easier for officials to be contracted for the games while high school playoff games are proceeding.

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 dwolter@dglobe.com.
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