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West starts well, succumbs to Rochester 29-7

The Minnesota West football team, which has struggled on the road, scored the first touchdown in Rochester Saturday but lost the game, 29-7

Minnesota West Bluejays
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ROCHESTER -- After several slow starts, the Minnesota West Community and Technical College football team got off on the right foot Saturday in its game against Rochester. Early in the first quarter, sophomore defensive back Larrey Williams III intercepted a pass from Yellowjackets quarterback Sylas Christie and returned it 47 yards for a touchdown.

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The extra point by West kicker Mike Peralta made the score 7-0.

Ironically, Williams’ score was the only score of the day for the Bluejays, who surrendered 29 points the rest of the way to lose their fourth game in five on the 2022 season, 29-7.

The Jays were hoping their showdown with Rochester would go the way of their last two. After a difficult start to their 2021 year, the Worthington-based team upset Rochester in mid-regular season and beat them again in the playoffs, finishing with a 4-6 record that salvaged their pride. But with Saturday’s loss -- their fourth loss this year on the road -- West saw its offense struggle.

Both the Yellowjackets and the Bluejays produced 15 first downs on Saturday, but RCTC amassed 66 minutes and 35 seconds of time of possession while West controlled the football for just 43:12. Rochester won the total yardage war 248-152 as the Bluejays gained just 15 yards on the ground on 21 carries.

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The Jays are a prolific passing team, but on Saturday they accounted for just 137 net yards through the air. Quarterback Brock Starley, who attempted 73 aerials two games ago, was able to complete only nine of 43 passes against the Yellowjackets defense.

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The Jackets wasted no time answering Williams’ pick-six. Exactly one minute after the Bluejays’ score, Christie hooked up with Yaach Chuol on a 65-yard score, and the ensuing extra point erased West’s lead.

In the second quarter, Rochester’s Julius Boutrup booted a 35-yard field goal to give the hosts the lead. Still before the half, LaQuan Sims rushed for an 8-yard touchdown and the teams went into intermission with Rochester in front 16-7.

The Yellowjackets outscored Minnesota West 13-0 in the third quarter. A punt by Peralta was blocked by Chuol and recovered by the Jackets’ Hakeem McCullers for a touchdown. The extra point was good. Later in the quarter, Moses Hancock ran two yards for another Rochester score.

Neither team scored in the final quarter.

Minnesota West will try to get back on the winning trail in Worthington next Saturday when Vermilion comes to town for a 1:30 p.m. start.

Minnesota West 7 0 0 0 -- 7

Rochester 7 9 13 0 29

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