Aug. 29—FERGUS FALLS — It started well, but didn't end so well for the Minnesota West college football team Saturday in its 2021 season opener.
The Bluejays, whose season was canceled due to COVID-19 last year, scored the only points of the first quarter against MState-Fergus Falls at Fergus Falls following an intercepted pass by the Jays' Kwesi Hooks. West quarterback Brock Starley then hooked up to Adrian High School grad Ian Stamer on a 74-yard touchdown toss, and a 2-point conversion pass from Starley to Stamer made the score 8-0.
The Bluejays clung to an 18-15 lead at halftime, but Fergus Falls outscored them 28-0 the rest of the way for a 43-18 victory.
Spartans quarterback Nate Hayden torched the Minnesota West secondary by completing 31 of 42 passes for 397 yards and four touchdowns. In all, MState gathered 411 net yards through the air.
Hayden threw aerial touchdowns to Rick Groce (13 yards) and Jallah Zeze (30 yards) in the second quarter before West answered with its second score — another Starley pass to Stamer, covering 61 yards of turf.
A late second quarter safety by the Bluejays ended the visitors' scoring for the day.
Fergus Falls scored four more times in the second quarter. A punt by Stamer was blocked by MState's Danny Disterhalf and recovered by Preston Puni for a touchdown. Hayden threw a 33-yard scoring pass to Fredrick Brown. Rondarius Gregory carried for a three-yard TD. And Hayden passed for another touchdown to Zeze from 62 yards out.
Final statistics showed Fergus Falls out-passing Minnesota West 411 yards to 274 and out-rushing the Jays 69-35. The Spartans accumulated 25 first downs to West's 12 and won time of possession better than two to one.
Starley completed 16 of 31 passes for 274 yards but had four passes intercepted. Even so, the Bluejays receiving corps produced, with Stamer catching four aerials for 109 yards. Worthington High School product Tommy Lais caught three for 107 and Luverne graduate Bailey Cowell caught four for 31. Rashard Anderson added 22 yards on four receptions.
Defensively, Minnesota West's Ke'untay Felton had five unassisted tackles and five assisted. Kendrick Gorden had four unassisted and five assisted.
Minnesota West will attempt to even its record Saturday at Trojan Field in Worthington. The home opener kicks off at 1:30 p.m. against North Dakota State School of Science.
Minnesota West 8 10 0 0 — 18
MState-Fergus Falls 0 15 14 14 — 43