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GGF football this week: Quinn Nelson emerges for No. 3 Red River

Red River hosts one of the favorites for the big division state championship in West Fargo Sheyenne.

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Grand Forks Central running back Jack Simmers (2) tries to evade Red River defensive back Quinn Nelson (6) on a first quarter carry during the 26th annual Cushman Classic football game held at Cushman Field in Grand Forks on Friday, September 16, 2022.
Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald
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GRAND FORKS — When Grand Forks Red River senior Quinn Nelson was a sophomore, Roughriders coach Vyrn Muir could spot the potential.

"We saw he had the tools to be a good athlete and football player," Muir said. "He wasn't ready physically as a sophomore and started to come on as a junior but was dinged up with injuries throughout the season. Now he's just really matured physically from that sophomore kid."

The 6-foot-2 wide receiver/safety has 18 catches for 201 yards and a touchdown. The 201 yards are the fifth-most in Class 11A East.

Defensively, Nelson was named the Defensive Player of the Game last week in Red River's win over Grand Forks Central in the Cushman Classic. Nelson had a key interception to put away the Knights.

On the season, Nelson has a team-high 19.5 tackles — the eighth-most in the 11A East.

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"We redesigned the defense a little, and he was a kid we thought about as playing a third safety for us," Muir said. "He's a track kid, so he can jump, throw and run. He's rangy and a big, strong kid, so he's a good tackler."

Red River, 4-1 and ranked No. 3 in the latest 11A poll, plays out of division Friday night when the Riders host West Fargo Sheyenne — the state's No. 2 team in 11AA.

The Mustangs have a balanced offense with the rushing of running backs Race Wilson and Isaac Kanega, as well as the dual threat of quarterback Caleb Duerr.

Wilson, Kanega and Duerr are three of the top five rushers in 11AA East.

Dilworth-G-F at EGF Senior High

The East Grand Forks Senior High offense hopes to have found some momentum in a win over Park Rapids last week.

After scoring 12 points combined in the first two weeks of the year against Pequot Lakes and Detroit Lakes, the Green Wave broke out for a 34-point showing against Park Rapids.

The Wave rode big plays. Caleb Schmiedeberg had just six carries, but he turned it into 199 yards and two touchdowns.

It won't be easy to replicate the success against Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton which visits East Grand Forks at 6 p.m. Friday.

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DGF is 3-0 and has scored at least 30 points in every game this season.

Polk County West at Bagley

Polk County West coach Darrin Byklum was happy with his defense last weekend in a win against Fosston, despite a rough statistic.

The Thunder were minus-4 in turnovers against Fosston.

Polk County West is hoping to play cleaner Friday at 7 p.m. against Bagley.

"We need to clean up some of our own mistakes," Byklum said. "We didn't get a fourth down, we threw two picks and had a fumble (against Fosston)."

But the more telling stat for PCW was minus-9 rushing yards — the team total for the Greyhounds.

On the other end of the spectrum, PCW used Mike Gapp, who ran 38 times for 200 yards.

"We were moving it on the ground, and if it's not broke, don't fix it," Byklum said of the Gapp heavy workload.

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Bagley is 1-2 after beating Red Lake last weekend.

Related Topics: GF RED RIVER
Miller has covered sports at the Grand Forks Herald since 2004 and was the state sportswriter of the year in 2019.

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, tmiller@gfherald.com or on Twitter at @tommillergf.
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