PREP FOOTBALL: Players to watch for at the Shrine Bowl

Daniel Polansky figures to see his workload decreased today. Polansky averaged 27 carries a game for the Goodridge-Grygla football team last fall, rushing for 2,500 yards. But several of his teammates on the North Dakota Shrine 9-man East team al...

Former Lakota Raiders running back Chris Miller
Former Lakota Raiders running back Chris Miller runs a during during a Shrine Bowl practice in Mayville Wednesday afternoon. Miller will play for the East 9-Man team in today's Shrine Bowl. photo by Jenna Watson/Grand Forks Herald

Daniel Polansky figures to see his workload decreased today.

Polansky averaged 27 carries a game for the Goodridge-Grygla football team last fall, rushing for 2,500 yards. But several of his teammates on the North Dakota Shrine 9-man East team also accumulated a lot of rushing yards as seniors in the 2012 high school season.

The list of 1,000-yard rushers from last fall also includes the likes of Daniel Haugen (Stephen-Argyle), Jaron Moor (Lakota/Adams-Edmore) and Alex Perleberg (New Rockford-Sheyenne). Jarret Johnson (Cavalier) was five yards shy of 1,000.

And Josh Edmonson didn't reach 1,000, but he had 179 yards in the 9-man state championship game, leading New Rockford-Sheyenne to the title.

So it figures to be backfield-by-committee for the East squad at today's annual Shrine Bowl at Grand Forks' Alerus Center. The 11-man game will be played at 4 p.m., followed by the 9-man game.


"I'd like to get the ball a lot," Polansky said. "But you have to realize that we have to distribute the ball. Everyone has his own talents to use.

"We all know each of us can carry the ball and get yards. You suck up your pride a little bit. It's the team thing first; it always is in football."

The Shrine teams began practices Monday in Mayville. With rosters full of all-staters, coaches figure to look for balance. Here are players who have emerged as potentially big playmakers.

9-man East

The strength of the offense is in a deep backfield that also includes Chris Miller of Lakota/A-E.

East coach Elliot Belquist said Moor, Perleberg, Polansky, Johnson and receiver Luis Vasquez (Wyndmere-Lidgerwood) have been explosive.

"We have kids who are pretty dynamic, kids who can break big plays," Belquist said.

"All our backs are going to get opportunities to carry the ball. We have different formations that will feature different backs. If we find a formation that is really working, we'll stick with it."


Polansky, Perleberg and Vasquez have been top receivers. Tyler Stockton (North Border) and Brendan Dufner (Hillsboro-Central Valley) will share time at quarterback.

9-man West

North Dakota All-staters Lance Knudson (Divide County) at quarterback and Dylan Ruff (Central McLean) at running back will be joined by Sawyer Stene (Norman County East) to form a big-play backfield.

"Those are the guys we look at to do some damage," coach Kevin Dockter said. "Knudson is an excellent quarterback in the option. He's a capable thrower, too. Ruff and Stene both are shifty and have excellent speed. I see us as being more of a running team."

Knudson rushed for more than 1,700 yards and passed for more than 800 yards for state runner-up Divide County. Ruff rushed for 1,687 yards as a senior and had 12 scoring plays covering 40 yards or more.

Jake Brooks (Ulen-Hitterdal) and Dexter Two-Crow (Parshall-White Shield) have stood out on defense.

11-man East

Christian Lunde (Grafton), a year removed from the wide receiver position, has shown big-play potential at quarterback. Lunde's first season as a quarterback last fall resulted in 1,984 rushing yards, 910 passing yards and all-state honors.


"I think Christian will do good things," coach Troy Mattern said. "We're running more of a spread offense. He can use both his arm and his legs to create big plays. And he understands the game so well."

Zach Reich (Fargo South) provides a strong, physical running back who also has break-away speed. And speed is a big plus in the receiving corps led by Loren Bothun (Grand Forks Red River) and Colter Pritchard (Langdon).

"They're both fast kids with good hands," Mattern said. "With their speed, they'll create some mismatches."

Mattern also is looking for big plays from a defense led by linemen Zach Peterson (Grafton) and Trevor Anderson (Griggs-Barnes County) and Fargo South grads Josh Verghis and Austin Wicklund.

11-man West

The strength is at quarterback, where Stetson Carr (Hazen), Jacob Pavek (Mahnomen) and Jared Fischer (Bismarck Century) will share time.

Carr rushed for 1,476 yards and passed for 1,184 yards last fall. Pavek rushed for 1,334 yards and 28 touchdowns and passed for 615 yards. Fischer had 1,508 passing yards. Carr and Pavek led their teams to state titles, while Fischer's Century team was a state runner-up.

"Quarterback is definitely a strength for us," coach Brad Borkhuis said. "Their skill sets are very high. They all have the ability to throw and work the pass/run option."


Their top receivers figure to be Cody Nelson (Beulah), Brennan Doan (Century) and UND recruit Dustin Iverson (Grant County).

Abe Roehrich (Stanley-Powers Lake), Casey Murphy (Carrington) and Trevor Wettlaufer (Bottineau) give the team a trio of all-state running backs. "Roehrich has a nice blend of speed and power," Borkhaus said. "Murphy is a speed guy, and Wettlaufer is a shifty runner."

DeVillers reports on sports. Call him at (701) 780-1128; (800) 477-6572, ext. 1128; or send e-mail to .

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