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CUSHMAN CLASSIC: Red River defense dominates Grand Forks Central

Apparently, Grand Forks Red River has resolved some of its tackling issues. The Roughriders came up 47 seconds short of registering their second consecutive shutout of the football season Friday. This time, Red River's strong showing came against...

Playing in a driving rain Grand Forks Red River quarterback Chad Bartosh (3) fumbles a snap
Playing in a driving rain Grand Forks Red River quarterback Chad Bartosh (3) fumbles a snap from center in the first quarter of Red River's win over Grand Forks Central in the seventeenth annual Cushman Classic Friday. Bartosh recovered his own fumble.JOHN STENNES/GRAND FORKS HERALD

Apparently, Grand Forks Red River has resolved some of its tackling issues.

The Roughriders came up 47 seconds short of registering their second consecutive shutout of the football season Friday. This time, Red River's strong showing came against intracity rival Grand Forks Central High School, as the Riders scored a 31-8 win in the 17th annual Cushman Classic.

Red River was coming off a 16-0 win against Fargo North. In its two games prior to that, the Riders allowed more than 40 points in back-to-back losses to state-ranked teams Minot and Fargo Davies.

"Our defense played well for the second week in a row,'' Red River coach Vyrn Muir said. "We made plays on defense - scoring, tackles for losses. Some of the things we've been doing in practices are paying off.''

Central managed only 103 yards in total offense. The Knights' score came on a Jesus Flores 6-yard run with 47 seconds remaining.

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Red River's defense almost outscored the Knights. Peter Warcup stepped in front of a Jake Mussman pass, picking it off and returning it 53 yards for a touchdown and an 18-0 lead with 8:13 left in the third quarter.

Red River went up 24-0 just 2:37 later on an 11-yard pass from Chad Bartosh to Cameron Berg.

"The pick-six kind of jump-started everybody,'' Muir said. "We wanted to come out strong in the second half. Pete was in close when he anticipated the throw. He undercut the route and made a nice play. It was a momentum thing for us.''

The game was halted 30 minutes midway through the first quarter due to lightning. On the first play after the game resumed, Jordan Lunski went 5 yards up the middle for the initial score.

Red River made it 12-0 nine seconds into the second quarter. Austin Reynolds caught a short pass near the right sideline from Bartosh and burst down the sidelines for a catch-and-run scoring reception covering 38 yards.

Bartosh led the offense, completing an efficient 11-of-15 passes for 129 yards. His top receivers were Berg (4-34) and Reynolds (3-48). Casey Schumacher also had a touchdown on a 19-yard run.

Central, meanwhile, struggled to move the ball. Muir said the defense front of Marquelle Tandeski, Lunski, Tyler Uhrich and Jake Robson was a big part of the defense. "They were occupying blockers and making tackles for losses,'' Muir said.

Red River improved to 4-3 while dropping Central to 1-6. Flores had 61 yards to lead the Knights.

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"We were inconsistent on offense,'' Central coach Bill Lorenz said. "They took it to us with their defense and did a nice job of disrupting things. We just couldn't get into a rhythm.''

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