Bluejays ousted from football playoffs, 35-28

Bluejays ousted from football playoffs, 35-28

By The Globe on Oct 31, 2018 at 2:15 a.m.
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THIEF RIVER FALLS — Three consecutive Northland touchdowns proved to be too much for Minnesota West to overcome Sunday, and the 2018 football campaign came to end for the Bluejays with a 35-28 setback in the opening round of the MCAC playoffs.

The Bluejays, who concluded their year with a 4-5 record, actually outgained Northland 351-347 in total yardage, but were undone by five interceptions. Frank Cromer and Caleb Tinklenberg threw a pair of picks apiece, and Montrez Hearon also threw an INT. Minnesota West passes combined to go 27-of-53 through the air for 307 yards, two touchdowns and five picks.

Northland grabbed a 14-0 lead in the first quarter on TD passes of three yards and 34 yards by Craig Wells to Devonaire Clarington and Dylaan Lee, respectively. The Bluejays, though, fought back.

Cromer scored on a 1-yard TD run with 4:52 left in the second quarter, and Cromer hooked up with Blaize Williams from 39 yards out with 1:22 remaining before halftime to make it a 14-14 ballgame. But Northland came roaring back, as Wells hit Kalel Grant for a 14-yard TD with just three seconds left before intermission to move ahead 20-14.

Wells completed a 15-yard scoring pass to Grant with 10:33 to go in the third quarter to make it a 28-14 game, and Justin Murray returned an errant Cromer pass 70 yards to paydirt with 13:36 remaining in the contest to push the score to 35-14. Hearon reached the end zone on a three-yard keeper for Minnesota West with 52 seconds left to trim the Northland lead to 14 points, and Hearon connected with Reginald Colson III on a 1-yard throw with 16 seconds to go to wrap up the game's scoring.

Hearon was the Bluejays' leading rusher with 33 yards on five carries. Cromer had 185 yards passing and Hearon 100 for Minnesota West, whose leading receiver was Khalieb Desmond (68 yards). Wells threw for 275 yards for Northland and was not intercepted.

Minnesota West 0 14 0 14 — 28Northland 14 6 8 7 — 35