AREA PREP FOOTBALL PREVIEW: Senior receiver emerges as weapon for Knights
Grand Forks Central quarterback Chad Goering calls Rogan Mesteth the most versatile Knights player by far. That trait will be put to the test as the Knights enter the final stretch of the season without starting running back Tyler Haug, who will ...
Grand Forks Central quarterback Chad Goering calls Rogan Mesteth the most versatile Knights player by far.
That trait will be put to the test as the Knights enter the final stretch of the season without starting running back Tyler Haug, who will undergo knee surgery Monday and could miss the remainder of the year.
Haug's absence means the Knights will lean even more on Mesteth, the team's top receiver and leading tackler. Part of that expanded role might just include lining up in the backfield.
"We've got Rogan taking some reps at the running back spot," said Central coach Bill Lorenz, whose team faces Fargo Davies at 7 tonight in Fargo. "We'll probably split our carries."
The Knights will also utilize sophomore Ryan Griggs, who has rushed for 61 yards in a reserve role this year.
Haug, a senior and the team's second-leading tackler, rushed for 497 yards this season before going down last week against Jamestown.
"(The Haug injury) hurts us on offense and defense," Mesteth said. "He runs hard every play. He's been playing varsity since he was a sophomore."
After missing the playoffs the past few years, Mesteth's emergence has the Knights in postseason contention. The Knights, 3-4, are currently fourth in the East Region.
"(Mesteth) has meant everything to us," Goering said. "You can throw him the ball short out wide or deep or hand it off to him. He does a great job of putting himself in position to make plays."
As a result, Mesteth has hauled in 22 passes this year for 310 yards and three touchdowns. Defensively, Mesteth has 52.5 tackles, 7.5 tackles for losses and 2.5 sacks.
"He's got a great work ethic and gives 110 percent on every play," Lorenz said. "There haven't been many times where one defender has brought him down."
Now, the Knights will see if that can be translated into a rushing threat.
"I've been in the running formations before," said Mesteth, who was a running back in the sub-varsity levels for the Knights. "And we've still got a good line."
Goering also sees the Knights sticking with the ground attack.
"This team has always been able to run the ball; as long as I can remember," Goering said. "It's a chance for our young guys to step up and for our line to give them room to run."
Fargo North at Red River
Grand Forks Red River still controls its own postseason fate, but the Roughriders are no longer sitting comfortably at the top of the East Region after last week's loss to Devils Lake.
"We're still in the driver's seat, but we definitely have a sense of urgency," Red River coach Vyrn Muir said. "We want to take care of business."
The Riders will host Fargo North at 7 tonight at Cushman Field.
The Spartans have seen their ups and downs this season and will be playing in their final conference matchup of the year. North closes the season against Bismarck Century next week.
Red River's chief concern will be with all-state running back Peter Saintal, who has carried the ball 140 times for 841 yards and two touchdowns. He's averaging 6.0 yards per carry.
Saintal is coming off his lowest output of the season, 20 yards on 10 carries against West Fargo. He also fumbled twice.
The beneficiary was quarterback Kameron Giffey, who rushed for more than 100 yards thanks to the Packers' extra focus on Saintal.
"West Fargo made the quarterback pull the ball down, and that's what he did," Muir said. "He ran hard."
But Muir said the Riders are focusing less on their opponent this week and more on personal miscues.
Red River outgained Devils Lake 265-162 in last week's 14-12 loss. The Riders couldn't beat the Firebirds, though, thanks to eight penalties for 85 yards to Devils Lake's three for 20.
Park Rapids at Senior High
East Grand Forks Senior High's matchup Friday against Park Rapids could have a big impact on whether the Green Wave host a Minnesota Section 8AAA playoff game.
Both the Green Wave and the Panthers enter with identical 2-4 records -- sitting in a tie for fourth in the section.
"There's no question it's much better to be at home than to travel on that first playoff game on the Tuesday night," Senior High coach Scott Oliver said.
The Wave enter on a high note, beating Pelican Rapids 34-21 last Friday.
Park Rapids is coming off a lopsided loss to Detroit Lakes. The Panthers, though, have navigated a difficult schedule and boast a win over preseason section favorite Pequot Lakes.
"Park Rapids is very, very scrappy," Oliver said. "They're nothing fancy. They run the ball, and they get after you on defense."
The Wave are in search of their first home win of the year.
"We're 2-1 on the road," Oliver said. "It's the home record we need to turn around. We owe our community a good game of Green Wave football."
Sacred Heart at Kittson CC
East Grand Forks Sacred Heart's search for its first win won't be any easier this week.
The Eagles (0-6) visit Kittson County Central (4-2) at 3:30 p.m. Thursday in Lancaster, Minn.
The Wolfpack is coming off a 28-20 win over Stephen-Argyle in which KCC running back Kyle Petersburg rushed 24 times for 200 yards.
- Fargo North (3-4) at Red River (4-3), 7 p.m., Thursday.
- Central (3-4) at Fargo Davies (1-6), 7 p.m., Thursday.
- Sacred Heart (0-6) at Kittson CC (4-2), 3:30 p.m., Thursday.
- Park Rapids (2-4) at EGF Senior High (2-4), 7 p.m., Friday.
Miller reports on sports. Reach him at (701) 780-1121; (800) 477-6572, ext. 121; or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org .