Pass-oriented offenses expected for Grand Forks' Cushman Classic
Grand Forks has become a passing town.
When Central and Red River meet in the annual Cushman Classic on Friday (7 p.m., Cushman Field), it will be a matchup of high school football teams reliant on the pass.
That has been a trend for Red River for almost a decade. Central has become more pass-oriented the past few seasons.
“Traditionally, I’ve liked to run the ball,’’ Central coach Bill Lorenz said. “But it’s where your athletes are. We both have some talented athletes at wide receiver. You want to get the ball to your playmakers.’’
Central junior Ty Lorenz (25-of-52, 226 yards) and sophomore Dillon Kuntz (17-39, 276 yards) share time at quarterback. Last Friday, each hit the 100-yard mark in passing yards against Fargo Shanley. They have a combined 502 yards passing; Central (0-4) has rushed for 128 yards.
Red River quarterback Parker Monette is 48-of-84 for 651 passing yards, including three 100-yard games. Red River (1-3) has yet to have a back rush for 100 yards in a game.
“I’d prefer to run the football,’’ Red River coach Vyrn Muir said. “There’s nothing more demoralizing than to go against a running team that you can’t stop. But we’ve had guys who could throw the football. We’ve utilized that.’’
Since the 2010 season, only once -- in 2017 -- has the team had more games with a 100-yard rusher than with a 100-yard passer. Matt Hanson, Taylor Steen, Chad Bartosh, Derek Murph, Parker Wenzel and Monette all have had seasons with six or more 100-yard passing games in that span.
Bryce Enerson (15 catches-280 yards), Brady Dvorak (10-132) and Cole Benson (10-99) lead Red River’s receivers.
“That (passing) is more the team we are,’’ Muir said. “We have more speed at wide receiver. We’ve had some big plays from our wide receivers. We haven’t had that yet from our running game.’’
Since 2010, Central didn’t have a consistent passing game until Zack Murphy broke out in 2016, passing for 1,040 yards that season and 936 in 2017. Eleven times he had 100-yard passing games in those two seasons. Jaxton Lorenz reached the 100-yard mark throwing four times last year.
“We don’t throw many deep balls (this season),’’ Bill Lorenz said. “It’s a quick, short passing game. It’s almost like a modified running game.’’
Sam Strandell leads Central in receiving yards with 150 on eight catches. Ben Anderson has the most catches, 13 for 68 yards.
In other games Friday, both starting at 7 p.m., involving Greater Grand Forks teams:
Polk Co. West (3-1) at Lake Park-Audubon (1-3)
Both teams emphasize running the ball -- an emphasis PCW coach Darrin Byklum took to the max in beating Warroad in the Thunder’s last game.
“We ran the same play, the fullback wedge, 17 straight times,’’ Byklum said. “We weren’t getting off the ball hard, so I got stubborn and stayed with it until the kids figured it out.
“And we wound up doing very well. We took all but about two minutes off the clock in the third quarter running the same play.’’
EGF Senior High (2-2) at Detroit Lakes (4-0)
The Senior High defense goes against a Detroit Lakes offense that averages 51.8 points a game.
It’s a veteran Lakers offense led by Isaiah Thompson, who rushed for 193 yards in a 42-14 win against the Green Wave last season, and Max Gunderson, who passed for 106 yards against the Wave.
“We have our work cut out for us,’’ Senior High coach Ryan Kasowski said. “They’re beating everybody by a lot. And there’s the challenge of playing a bigger school -- they’re class 4A and we’re 3A.’’
Cushman Classic at a glance
When -- 7 p.m. Friday, Cushman Field
Record -- 0-4.
Starting offensive lineup -- QBs jr. Ty Lorenz and soph. Dillon Kuntz (alternate), RB jr. Tyler Herbeck, SB jr. Ben Anderson, WR sr. Caden Dahl, TE sr. Joel Hunter, WR soph. Sam Strandell or jr. Kolby Elseth, RT sr. Logan Kinsey, RG jr. Joey Olson, C sr. Torey Battles, LG sr. Jadin Hams, LT jr. Glen Erickson.
Starting defensive lineup -- DE Erickson, DE sr. Maxx Danks, DT Battles, DT sr. Drew Anderson, OLB Herbeck, OLB Elseth, ILB sr. Gabriele Randall, ILB jr. Joe Riskey, CB Strandell, CB sr. Trystan Tatum, S Dahl.
Offensive leaders -- Passing: Kuntz 17-39-3, 276 yards; Lorenz 25-52-3, 226 yards; rushing: Herbeck 40-63, Riskey 13-30; receiving: Strandell 8-150, Hunter 5-97, Dahl 4-97, Anderson 13-68.
Record -- 1-3.
Starting offensive lineup -- QB sr. Parker Monette, RB sr. Connor Arel, FB sr. Justin Erickson, WR sr. Cole Benson, WR sr. Bryce Enerson or sr. Brady Dvorak, TE sr. Trent Herberg, RT jr. Brady Lewandowski, RG jr. Cole Ogren, C soph. Adam McMullin, LG sr. Jayden Remz, LT sr. Peyton Lotysz.
Starting defensive lineup -- DE Lotysz, NG Remz, DT soph. Ben Peterson, OLB Ogren, OLG sr. Ethan Brandvold, ILB sr. Tanner Bernhardson, ILB Herberg, CB sr. Logan Huus, CB Arel, S Enerson, S Dvorak.
Offensive leaders -- Passing: Monette 48-84-3, 651 yards; rushing: Arel 49-217, Monette 27-91; receiving: Enerson 15-280, Dvorak 10-132, Benson 10-99, Erickson 4-51.