Playing for the playoffs: Riders postseason may be on the line against North
While three regular-season games remain for Grand Forks Red River, it's playoff time for the Roughriders.
Red River (3-3) plays at Fargo North (2-4) at 7 tonight in a game that has postseason football ramifications for both high school teams.
"I think the fourth seed (from the East Region) most likely will be determined in this game,'' Red River coach Vyrn Muir said. "If we win, we'd have the tiebreaker over any of the teams sitting below us. If we lose, we're probably out of the playoffs. The best we could do would probably be a tie for fourth with North, and they'd have the tiebreaker on us.''
The top four finishers in the region qualify for the Class AAA state playoffs. Red River is 2-2 and in fourth place in the East Region and, after today, has only co-leader West Fargo Sheyenne (3-0 region, 5-1 overall) left in region play. North is 1-3 in the region.
Red River's region wins are against Grand Forks Central and West Fargo, both winless in the region.
"Our season isn't over if we lose,'' Muir said. "We'll have two games left. But we've told the guys if we want an extended season, we have to win this one.
"Coming off a winless season last year, we have a chance to go from the bottom of the conference to the playoffs.''
North has a balanced running game and a dual-threat quarterback in Caleb Fritel.
Due to injuries, Red River will have a different starting offensive line for the third consecutive game. Guard Jonathan Bonaime is the only lineman who has started at the same position all season.
In other Greater Grand Forks football games today, all starting at 7 p.m:
GF Central (2-4) at
WF Sheyenne (5-1)
The Knights aren't eliminated from the playoffs. But they don't control their destiny.
"I don't think we're mathematically out of the playoffs,'' Central coach Bill Lorenz said. "We'd have to win our last three games. And we'd still probably need some help from other teams to get in.''
The Knights will go against the stingiest defense in the region. The Mustangs have allowed only 61 points.
Sheyenne is led by the 1-2 running combination of Nathan Goldade (658 yards rushing, region-leading 10 touchdowns) and Hunter Hoffner.
After playing speedy teams Fargo Davies and Fargo South, Lorenz said, "Sheyenne is more of a power team. They'll run between the tackles more. I think that gives us a better chance. But we have to tackle better.''
at Polk Co. West (3-2)
With only eight teams in Section 8A, Polk County West will be in the playoffs. Seeding is the concern for the Thunder, who currently are fourth in the section.
"We're shooting for the third seed,'' PCW coach Darrin Byklum said. "We'll probably have to win all of our last three games to get it.''
The Thunder host Fertile-Beltrami—currently second in 8A—in East Grand Forks. The Falcons have a strong running game with Dylan Pearce, Harmon Liebl and Micah Tollefson.
EGF Senior High (4-1)
at Perham (3-2)
The Green Wave sit atop Section 8AAA, with Perham third. With QRF rankings, "if we lose another game, I don't know if we can get the No. 1 seed,'' Senior High coach Ryan Kasowski said. "There's still a lot up in the air.''
The Wave's big concern is containing Perham quarterback and MSU-Moorhead commit Jenson Beachy.
"He's a good thrower,'' Kasowski said. "And if we cover all their receivers, we have to make sure (Beachy) doesn't take off running. The big thing is our line has to get pressure on him.''