Despite rainy conditions, Central's passing game sparks Cushman Classic win over Red River

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The Grand Forks Central football team hoists the Cushman Classic trophy with the Central student section after blanking the Red River Roughriders 23-0 Friday night at Cushman Field. Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald

Grand Forks Central senior quarterback Ty Lorenz knows exactly how many yards he threw for in the Cushman Classic last season.

"I threw for 6 yards," said Lorenz, the son of Knights head coach Bill Lorenz. "I took it personal. It didn't feel great."

On Friday night, it was going to take more than a steady drizzle to prevent Lorenz from achieving redemption.

In wet conditions, Lorenz threw for 139 yards and put the finishing touches on the victory with a 1-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter to seal the Knights' 23-0 win over Grand Forks Red River in the 24th annual Cushman Classic at Cushman Field.

Central won the Cushman Classic for the first time in three years and for just the second time in 12 years.


The Knights, who entered the game 0-2 and were winless in the 2019 season, snapped a 17-game losing streak.

"Feels great," Ty Lorenz said. "I've felt bad, being the coach's kid coming through it and seeing all the losses. It really goes to heart. I feel bad for my dad, and I got after it today for him and for our whole team. It just feels good to do it and win this back for our school and get it back on the north side where it belongs."

The Knights started the scoring with about five minutes left in the second quarter when Joey Riskey (14 carries, 78 yards) scored from 35 yards out to make it 6-0.

Central extended the lead in the final seconds of the first half. A Lorenz-to-Ben Anderson 35-yard pass set up a Wyatt Peterson 24-yard field goal to give the Knights a 9-0 lead into halftime.

Central put the game way with a 12-play drive to start the fourth quarter. The drive was capped by Lorenz hitting junior wide receiver Sam Strandell on a slant route for a 4-yard score.

Strandell finished with three catches for 59 yards and scored for the third consecutive week. He also had a long touchdown catch ruled incomplete in the first half against Red River after the officials conferred for a lengthy period of time.

Strandell was helped against Red River by Anderson, who had 44 yards receiving, while Mason Lima added 25 and Ryan Meyer had 11.

"We were watching the weather forecast this afternoon, and the rain kept creeping closer," Bill Lorenz said. "But passing is part of our game. We had a couple of missed snaps with a wet ball but Ty has thrown in the rain before and does a good job making sure he's got a dry ball."


After Red River responded by turning the ball over on downs, Central punched in the final score for a 23-0 lead.

Red River finished with minus-5 passing yards for the game. Garrin Sattler's 62 rushing yards accounted for a majority of the Roughriders' attack.

"It was frustrating tonight," Red River coach Vyrn Muir said. "We're just not making plays. When we had to make plays, we weren't able to. The two turnovers in the first half didn't help us, either."

Both Red River quarterbacks -- senior Justin Wasvick and sophomore Gunnar Heuchert -- threw interceptions in the first half.

Central shut out an opponent for the first time since a 29-0 win over Fargo North on Sept. 16, 2016.

It was the largest margin of victory for Central in the Cushman Classic since 2007, when the Knights beat the Riders by 23, as well.

"This is sweet," Bill Lorenz said. "I'm just so happy for the kids. They came in really focused. They knew they had it in them, and then went out and played their hearts out."

Red River was shut out in the Cushman Classic for the first time since 2005.


GF Central 23, GF Red River 0

Second quarter

GFC -- Joey Riskey 35 run (run failed)

GFC -- Wyatt Peterson 24 field goal

Fourth quarter

GFC -- Sam Strandell 4 pass (Peterson kick)

GFC -- Ty Lorenz 1 run (Jackson Macho kick)


RUSHING -- GFC: Joey Riskey 14-78, Tyler Herbeck 8-12, Ty Lorenz 7-19; RR: Garrin Sattler 6-62, Carter Sproule 8-30


PASSING -- GFC: Ty Lorenz 7-20-0, 139 yards; RR: Justin Wasvick 1-10-1, minus-9 yards; Gunnar Heuchert 1-3-1, 4 yards

RECEIVING: GFC: Sam Strandell 3-59, Ben Anderson 2-44, Mason Lima 1-25, Ryan Meyer 1-11; RR: Logan Arason 1-4

Miller has covered sports at the Grand Forks Herald since 2004 and was the state sportswriter of the year in 2019 and 2022.

His primary beat is UND football but also reports on a variety of UND sports and local preps.

He can be reached at (701) 780-1121, or on Twitter at @tommillergf.
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