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COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Raiders' captain showing sophomore leadership

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Riley Kampsen is respected.

Maybe it’s his experience, or possibly his role as captain of the Central Lakes College football team. Regardless, the left guard for the 9-1 Raiders has earned the respect.

“Tremendous character,” Raiders head coach Greg Medeck said of Kampsen. “He left North Dakota State University, a Division 1 program, to play for us.”

Kampsen, a Minnesota native, played his first year of college football at Division II Northern State University in Aberdeen, S.D., before transferring to CLC for spring semester 2011. He received an invitation last summer to participate in training camp with 2011 FCS national champion North Dakota State University, but ultimately declined playing for the Bison before the season started.

“I wouldn’t have had much playing time at NDSU,” said Kampsen, a sophomore from Paynesville. “I wanted to play and wanted to (remain) on this team and help them win.”

The lineman has accomplished that thus far, anchoring an offensive line that has paved the way for the MCAC Southern Division rushing leader, Beau Bellmore.

That rushing offense is also one of the main reasons the Raiders will be playing Rochester for the MCAC state championship Sunday, Nov. 4, a team that they edged 31-23 on Sept. 15.

When asked why he earns so much respect, Kampsen said, “These guys want to move on to higher levels, and look up to me because I’ve been beyond the junior college level.”

Playing the role of captain on a team that is ranked 12th in the NJCAA requires a calm demeanor, a trait Kampsen possesses.

“We’ve been through so much adversity this year with starters getting injured,” Kampsen said. “We just kept telling ourselves that we can’t give up, and every week we’ve been getting better.”

The 2012 season must come to an end at some point (the Raiders may play in a bowl game regardless of the outcome of the state championship game), and when it does, Kampsen will have played his last snap at CLC.

“My goal is to go to a different school and call it my home after I’ve been moving around so much,” he said.

The 6-3, 255-pound lineman said that he has talking with Bemidji State University and South Dakota State University regarding his football future.

A leader must keep his team focused, and when asked about the atmosphere of the Raiders leading up to Sunday’s game, Kampsen said, “It’s about the same as any other game. We treat each of them like we’re 1-0 and we have to win.”

Spoken like a true captain.