Brady Lewandowski no longer takes the contributions of offensive linemen for granted.
Joining the blocking corps has made the Grand Forks Red River High School junior appreciate what football’s blockers do.
Three games into the season, Lewandowski was shifted from part-time fullback to starting offensive tackle. He’ll be on the line Thursday when the Roughriders host Fargo Shanley at 7 p.m.
“Tackle is definitely a lot more difficult than I thought,’’ Lewandowski said. “I didn’t appreciate the line when I wasn’t on it. Now I definitely see how hard it is.’’
Red River shifted Lewandowski to tackle when starter Sam Sather was injured in the third game. He joins another converted fullback in starting tight end Trent Herberg.
“We’ve always said our best fullback should be able to play offensive guard,’’ Red River coach Vyrn Muir said. “Our fullbacks are mostly glorified blockers lining up in the backfield.
“When Sam got hurt, with Brady’s size, it made sense to put him up there. As far as being physical and being able to move people, he can handle it. He doesn’t do everything right, but he’s helped us. He’s gotten progressively better.’’
Lewandowski had seven carries for 35 yards before the shift. At 6 feet and 240 pounds, Lewandowski was a big fullback. “I’m a little undersized on the line,’’ the junior said. “Guys I’m going against are sometimes 300 pounds.
“Hopefully I can get back to fullback. It was fun, hitting the hole hard and hitting the first guy I saw wearing the opposite jersey. But it’s not a big deal where I play. Anything to help the team. And the line has been fun.’’
Shanley is a mystery team.
The 5-1 Deacons had to rally to beat Grand Forks Central 21-17 and didn’t dominate Fargo North in a 24-7 victory. Both teams are winless. But Shanley handled previously undefeated West Fargo Sheyenne 42-20 last week. “We don’t know which Shanley team we’ll see,’’ Muir said.
Due to potentially bad weather, the football schedule has seen some changes. East Grand Forks Senior High hosts Thief River Falls at 4 p.m. Wednesday, followed by Polk County West hosting Fosston at 7 p.m. in East Grand Forks.
Thief River Falls (0-6) at EGF Senior High (2-4)
Senior High scored 44 points Friday, but lost to Perham 60-44 -- the second time the Green Wave have scored 35 or more points and lost.
“You look at the score and it looks like we’re not playing good defense,’’ Senior High coach Ryan Kasowski said. “But we actually are playing pretty well defensively.
“We play up tempo. Our offense can get the ball, score on 2 or 3 plays and the defense is right back on the field. They (defenders) are out there for a long time.’’
Senior High’s defense will be tested by Prowlers quarterback Grant Hartmann, a run/pass dual threat.
Fosston (0-6) at Polk County West (4-2)
Ball security is a concern for Polk County West. The Thunder had five fumbles, losing three, in last week’s 12-6 loss to defending Class A state champion Mahnomen-Waubun.
“We have to take better care of the ball,’’ PCW coach Darrin Byklum said. “Even when we didn’t lose the ball (on fumbles), they resulted in negative yardage that hurt us.’’
Running back Dane Schoenborn will be the focus of the PCW defense against Fosston.
GF Central (0-6) at WF Sheyenne (5-1)
While the Knights’ offense has struggled, senior center Torey Battles -- a third-year starter and returning all-conference pick -- has played well.
“Torey has been pretty solid,’’ Central coach Bill Lorenz said. “He’s probably been our most consistent offensive player.’’
The Knights will try to hold down the triple option of Sheyenne, which averages 26.5 points. “They’re the only team we play that runs that offense,’’ Lorenz said. The game is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday in West Fargo.