Born the night East Grand Forks won the 2004 section final, Sam Schumacher set to play in 2022 section final
Schumacher's dad, Todd Schumacher, was an assistant coach for the state champion Green Wave in 2004. He had to miss the section title game for the birth of Sam, who's now a three-year Wave starter set to play in the 2022 section final.
EAST GRAND FORKS — It's not true that the East Grand Forks Senior High football team doesn't have big-game experience.
Green Wave tight end Sam Schumacher has been to two Minnesota state tournament playoff games.
He just slept through both of them.
Schumacher, the son of former Green Wave football coach Todd Schumacher, was born on the night of the 2004 section championship against Crookston. After winning the section title, he took two trips to the Metrodome in Minneapolis, where he slept through two Green Wave victories en route to East Grand Forks' state championship that season.
"And it was pretty loud in there," Todd Schumacher said.
Eighteen years after the 2004 section championship game his father had to miss as a Green Wave assistant coach because Sam was born, Sam and his East Grand Forks teammates will play Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton at 8 p.m. Thursday in the Minnesota Section 8AAA championship game at the Fargodome.
Todd was an assistant coach for the Wave from 1993 to 2004. He was then head coach from 2005 to 2009 and now coaches the middle school level.
In 2004, Todd was a junior varsity coach and for varsity games sat in the booth and relayed what he saw to the sidelines to offensive coordinator Roger Hanson.
Leading up to the 2004 section title game, Todd was at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks leading up to the game.
"I got a call at the Alerus about an hour before the game that (Todd's wife Tami) was driving herself in," Todd said.
Todd told freshman coach Buzz Olson he had to go. About five minutes before warmups, Green Wave head coach at the time, Bruce Nelson, was looking for Schumacher until Olson told him he left for the hospital.
"I tried to listen to the game," Todd said. "There was a radio in the birthing room. I just couldn't do it. I have no problem at a game, but not seeing it and only listening ... I had to shut it off.
"My parents took Sam's sisters to the game. They had the number to the room. Sam was born, and it wasn't more than a minute after he was born, my dad called and said we won 21-7. I said, dad, you've got a grandson."
The 2004 title team, led by the trio of Nick Mertens, Nate Rambeck and Chad Larson, won the state title.
Sam still wears No. 17 in honor of Mertens.
The 2022 Green Wave are on a roll after a slow start to the year. After staring 1-3, the Wave have won five of their last six including flipping a regular-season loss to Perham into a section semifinal victory over the Yellowjackets.
"I just think we're all communicating very well and playing hard-nosed football," Sam Schumacher said. "Our offense is based on putting your shoulder into someone and driving them 5 yards back. Those 4-yard gains drain defenses, and we'll waste a quarter on an 85-yard drive."
The Wave dealt with injuries much of the second half of the season but are getting healthy at the right time. In the section semifinals, running back Caleb Schmiedeberg and linebacker Landon Woidtke played for the first time in weeks, albeit on one side of the ball to save some endurance.
"I thought we were really physical compared to our last game (against Perham)," East Grand Forks coach Ryan Kasowski said. "We controlled the line of scrimmage. We were really dominant, and that was great to see."
The Wave will need more of that against unbeaten DGF, a team East Grand Forks lost by 10 to during the regular season.
"You've got to be really disciplined against this offense," Kasowski said. "They try to get you up-field or do things where they can take advantage of you. They're good at what they do. It's rugby style with everyone in the box and no wide receivers. You have to make sure you're physical. They're undefeated so nobody has had a ton of success against it."
Schmeideberg's return helped the Wave's balanced offense to go along with Cylde Anderson in the backfield.
EGF runs more than it throws. Wave quarterback Drew Carpenter is 33-for-62 for 515 passing yards this season. EGF has run for 1,707 yards.
Anderson leads the pack with 141 carries for 641 yards, followed by Schmeideberg with 37 carries for 335 yards (9 yards per carry) and Carpenter (63 carries, 161 yards).
The Wave's top three receivers are Cooper Smith (198 yards), Damian Bushaw (101 yards) and Schumacher (70 yards).
"(Schmeideberg) was the spark for us," Kasowski said. "He's such a physical runner. He doesn't go backward. He might get first contact early but he keeps going. He's a fantastic player, and we're getting him back at the right time of year."
Between 2004 and 2022, the Wave have only won a section title once — 2010, when sophomore quarterback Gage Ausmus led the Wave to the state tournament in Scott Oliver's first season as head coach.
When EGF won the section title in 2004, it was the first for East Grand Forks since 1985.
"It's a really cool opportunity," Sam Schumacher said. "It'd be awesome to bring that section championship back to our town and show it to everyone."