With Kirby Krefting's connection to Grand Forks Red River High School, it's no surprise where he'll be sitting at Cushman Field tonight.
"I definitely have ties to Red River, so I have to sit on that side,'' said Krefting, the boys basketball coach at Red River.
Still, the annual Cushman Classic has Krefting pulling for both the Grand Forks Central and Red River football teams. In addition to his basketball duties at Red River, Krefting is a football coach at Schroeder Middle School.
In Grand Forks, Valley Middle School is the primary feeder to Central High School. South Middle School students generally are bound for Red River. But Schroeder has students going to both high schools.
"It's never easy to root against the kids you used to coach,'' Krefting said. "It's hard to take sides.
"You want and hope for success in both programs. It's fun to see how the kids have progressed. You hope that it's the best game possible.''
Typically, Krefting said, about half the football players at Schroeder go to Red River and about half go to South.
Jeremy Cebula, another Schroeder football coach, also has Red River ties as a former Roughriders freshman football coach. Cebula said it can be hard seeing former players going against each other.
"You want success for all your kids,'' Cebula said. "I'm just happy those kids are still playing.''
So it will be ex-Schroeder players such as Parker Monette, George Nyanforh and Brady Dvorak on the Red River team and ex-Schroeder players such as Jaxton Lorenz, Maxx Danks and Everett Peterson with Central.
Central takes a 2-1 record into the game and is one shy of matching its win total of last season, which included a 33-20 win in the Cushman Classic. Then-senior Zack Murphy rushed for 174 yards and three touchdowns and passed for 90 yards in the win.
Central's offense is led by Lorenz (27-of-51 passing for 334 yards), Austin Braun (73-260 rushing) and Will Eagleson (251 combined rushing and receiving yards).
"Zack was our go-to guy,'' GFC coach Bill Lorenz said. "We didn't figure we'd have one guy who could fill his shoes. This is one of the more balanced offenses I've had.''
Monette (32-of-69 passing, 391 yards) and Nyanforh (31-198 rushing) lead the offense for 1-2 Red River, which already has exceeded last season's win total. Red River just missed out on a second win last week, losing 28-21 to Fargo South.
"We did some good things against South,'' Riders coach Vyrn Muir said. "We put some good drives together. But we have to do a better job of taking advantage of scoring opportunities.''
In other Greater Grand Forks games today, both starting at 7 p.m.:
EGF Senior High (2-0)
at Park Rapids (2-0)
In two games, Senior High's Julian Benson, Carter Beck and Ethan Trebil each has a 100-yard rushing game. Senior High coach Ryan Kasowski said the line of tackles Zack Johnson and Aaron Riddle, guards Ross Corbid and Chase Olderback and center Jhett Pesch has a lot to do with that.
"We have four backs who we feel can get big yards,'' Kasowski said. "But all the credit belongs to the guys up front. They're making big holes. We have big linemen, they move well and they understand our schemes.''
Park Rapids has yet to allow a point this season.
Polk County West (2-0)
at Red Lake County (2-0)
Polk County West has had 100-yard rushing games from Will White in its opener and John Fontaine last week. Red Lake County counters with a strong ground game led by Connor Lambert.
"We're similar teams,'' PCW coach Darin Byklum said. "We both run first and pass second. If you don't stop their dive plays, they'll go up the gut at you all night long.''
The game, originally scheduled to be played at Oklee, has been switched to Red Lake Falls.
Cushman Classic matchups
Coach: Vyrn Muir.
Record: 1-2, 0-1 East Region.
Starting offense: Jr. QB Parker Monette, sr. FB Nathan Schumacher, jr. RB Connor Arel or soph. RB George Nyanforh, jr. WR Cole Benson, jr. WR Bryce Enerson, sr. TE Brett Klefstad, sr. C Dawson Hageman, jr. RG Cole Ogren, sr. RT Grant Richtsmeier, sr. LG Jon Bonaime, jr. LT Peyton Lotysz.
Starting defense: Sr. DL Dawson Brandvold, DL Klefstad, sr. DL Jacob Holum, ILB Schumacher, jr. ILB Tanner Bernhardson, sr. OLB Jackson Feller, OLB Arel, sr. CB Zackary Topping, jr. CB Ethan Brandvold, jr. S Brady Dvorak, sr. S Austin Oehlke.
Avg. points per game: 14.3 ppg scored; 25.3 ppg allowed
Avg. rushing yards: 95.7 per game; 172.3 allowed per game
Avg. passing yards: 130.3 per game; 97.0 allowed per game
Avg. total offense: 226 yards per game; 269.3 allowed per game
Passing leader: Monette 32-69-5, 391 yards, 4 TDs
Rushing leaders: Nyanforh 31-198, Schumacher 9-40, Monette 15-39
Receiving leaders: Klefstad 5-96, Dvorak 7-62, Schumacher 3-61
Coach: Bill Lorenz.
Record: 2-1 overall, 0-0 East Region.
Starting offense: Sr. QB Jaxton Lorenz, sr. RB Austin Braun, sr. RB Will Eagleson, sr. WR Everett Peterson, sr. WR Jack Anderson, jr. TE Caden Dahl, jr. C Torey Battles, sr. G Jay Haines, sr. G Griffin Rosell, sr. T Cameran Bridgeford, sr. T Thomas Schneibel.
Starting defense: Sr. DE Kaleb Berry, DE Bridgerford, sr. DT Chance Olson, DT Haines, sr. ILB Cade Barta, ILB Braun, soph. OLB Tyler Herbeck, OLB Eagleson, CB Anderson, CB Peterson, FS Dahl.
Avg. points per game: 28.7 ppg scored; 22.3 ppg allowed
Avg. rushing yards: 153.0 per game; 95.3 allowed
Avg. passing yards: 119.3 per game; 213.3 allowed
Avg. total offense: 272.3 per game; 308.7 allowed
Passing leader: Lorenz 27-51-4, 334 yards, 2 TDs
Rushing leaders: Braun 73-260, Eagleson 31-140
Receiving leaders: Eagleson 10-111, Peterson 5-72, jr. Maxx Danks 5-66, Braun 3-62