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Grand Forks Red River's Brett Feller runs for 216 yards and four touchdowns to beat Williston 43-14

Feller, in his first game as the feature back, finished with 216 rushing yards and four touchdowns to fuel a big win for the Riders in the first game of the season.

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Red River running back Brett Feller outruns Williston defenders in the third quarter for a touchdown Friday night at Cushman Field.
Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald
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GRAND FORKS — Grand Forks Red River senior Brett Feller was a fullback last season.

He ended the 2021 season with 13 carries for 62 yards.

Feller surpassed his 2021 totals and then some in the season opener Friday night at Cushman Field.

The 6-foot-2, 205-pound brute bullied his way to 216 rushing yards on 22 carries and four touchdowns to lead the Roughriders to a 43-14 win over Williston.

The 43 points were the most Red River has scored in a game since beating Bismarck High 44-35 on Sept. 6, 2019.

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"Going into the game, I didn't know what to expect in my first game as running back," Feller said. "It's definitely a lot of fun to play hard and get the result we wanted especially with the offensive line blocking the way they did and the play-calling being what it was."

Feller scored on touchdown runs of 5, 1, 15 and 8 yards.

Feller's rushing total is believed to be the most yards by a Red River running back since Drew Thomas ran for 274 (Grand Forks Central) and 313 yards (Devils Lake) in the 2001 season.

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Red River's Hudson Flom reacts to gaining a first down against Williston Friday, August 19, 2022.
Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

"I just wanted to help the team out any way possible," Feller said. "Setting the tone in that first game is really going to pave the way for the rest of the season."

Feller's longest runs against Williston were of 33 and 24 yards but his consistent gains of 10-15 yards racked up his total.

"He's a big, strong guy and one of our faster kids," Red River coach Vyrn Muir said. "I think at the beginning of the game we tested the waters a bit and saw we needed to go up the gut and there wasn't much of an answer there. We lived on it, and changed it up enough with the passing game and the outside run."

Sophomore quarterback Pearce Parks also made his debut as Red River's starting quarterback.

The younger brother of UND true freshman linebacker Paine Parks, Pearce, a 6-foot-2, 200-pound right-hander threw for 89 yards and had a highlight-reel 10-yard touchdown run.

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Red River quarterback Pearce Parks hands off the ball to running back Logan Okstad in the first half Friday against Williston at Cushman Field.
Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

Williston actually took the early lead against Red River. After a big punt return gave the Coyotes good field position, Williston used a Kadin Finders 22-yard touchdown pass to Logan Knox to jump ahead 7-0 with 5 minutes, 13 seconds left in the first quarter.

But Red River countered quickly with a seven-play drive that featured six Feller runs including a 5-yard score to trim the lead to 7-6.

The Riders led just 14-7 at halftime thanks to a Feller 1-yard touchdown run with 2:05 left to halftime.

Red River scored on its first three possessions of the second half to pull away.

The Riders face Jamestown in Week 2. The Bluejays were the preseason No. 1 team in the North Dakota Class 11A poll.

Red River 43,

Williston 14

First quarter

W – Logan Knox 22 pass from Kadin Finders (Caleb Minton kick)

RR – Brett Feller 5 run (kick failed)

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Second quarter

RR – Brett Feller 1 run (Feller run)

Third quarter

RR – Feller 15 run (kick failed)

RR – Pearce Parks 10 run (Parks run)

Fourth quarter

RR – Feller 8 run (Feller run)

W – Finders 1 run (Minton kick)

RR – Nick Lord 11 run (Carter Byron kick)

Individual leaders

RUSHING – RR: Brett Feller 22-216, Logan Okstad 12-55, Mason Wosick-Bimler 7-49; W: Tanner Schulte 7-48

PASSING – RR: Pearce Parks 8-11-1, 89 yards; W: Kadin Finders 16-28-1, 180 yards

RECEIVING – RR: Hudson Flom 1-30, Carter Byron 1-16; W: Malaki Sik 5-76, Isaiah St. Romain 3-42

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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