Greater Grand Forks football this week: Hudson Flom develops into key leader for No. 4 Grand Forks Red River
Red River hosts winless West Fargo Horace, while Central visits Wahpeton in search of late-season surge. East Grand Forks visits rival Crookston, while Polk County West hosts Lake Park-Audubon.
GRAND FORKS — Grand Forks Red River coach Vyrn Muir knew coming into this season his team had good, lead-by-example leaders.
"But none of them say anything," Muir said.
That's where the Roughriders have needed wide receiver-defensive back Hudson Flom, who had a key interception in leading No. 4 Red River to a head-turning 38-6 win over Fargo North last Friday.
"Hudson has filled that void," Muir said. "We've asked him if he can deliver a message to the team or get the feeling from the team about something. He's been a vocal leader for our team."
For the season, Flom has 11 catches for 177 yards and two touchdowns.
"He's really blossomed as a player this year," Muir said. "He was undersized early in his career but he's built himself into a good, multi-sport athlete. He's really having a nice season for us."
Red River hopes to avoid a letdown against a West Fargo Horace team at 7 p.m. Friday at Cushman Field. Horace, in its first season as a varsity program, doesn't have a senior on its roster.
"We talked to the team on Monday about what we did on Friday has raised the bar of our expected performance a bit," Muir said. "We have to have the same level of preparation. With the game last Friday, we are going to be a playoff team. When you get to the postseason, you have to play at a high level. I don't really want to wait for three weeks to do that again — we want to do it now."
GF Central at Wahpeton
Grand Forks Central's four losses this season have come to teams ranked in the Top 5 of North Dakota Class 11A.
The Knights draw 3-3 Wahpeton this week. Although the Huskies aren't in the Top 5, Wahpeton does hold a win over then-No. 1 Jamestown.
The Huskies have two of the top six backs in 11A East. Quarterback Beau Arenstein has run for 492 yards and six touchdowns, while passing for 506 yards. Treyton Mauch has 475 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Wahpeton's top wide receiver is Caden Kappes, who has 25 grabs for 270 yards and two touchdowns.
"They don't make you prepare for just one thing," Central coach Jake Schauer said. "They run a lot of different schemes. They have good athletes. The quarterback makes them tick. Any time you have a quarterback who can move it's that much tougher on the defense."
After a bye week two weeks ago, Central beat Horace last Friday 49-14.
"We started to do some different things scheme-wise, so that'll make teams start to think and that'll propel us," Schauer said. "We used the bye week to get better at what our strengths are."
Lake Park-Audubon at Polk County West
After rattling off three wins, Polk County West is looking to regroup this week following last Friday's 35-15 loss to Ada-Borup West.
The Thunder (3-2) host Lake Park-Audubon (1-4) at 7 p.m. Friday in East Grand Forks.
Injuries played a role in PCW's struggles against ABW. Top offensive lineman Alex Hart was out with an injury. The Thunder hope Hart can return for the postseason.
Against ABW, Thunder running back Mike Gapp had 126 yards on 24 carries. But Polk County West struggled with the passing of ABW quarterback Austin McCraven, who was 17-for-22 for 183 yards and two touchdowns.
This week's opponent is expected to be more ground-oriented.
"They're a good football team but they've had a gauntlet of a schedule," PCW coach Darrin Byklum said. "They've played with everyone. They're a physical team, and they like to run the football."
EGF Senior High at Crookston
East Grand Forks Senior High (2-3) and Crookston (2-3) will meet Friday at 7 p.m. For the third year in a row, Green Wave coach Ryan Kasowski knows his focal point for the Pirates is a special player in Ethan Boll.
Boll, who's committed to play college football at UND, has 110 carries for 721 yards and 12 touchdowns this season. He had more than 40 carries last week.
The Pirates have attempted 28 passes all season with no passing touchdowns and five interceptions. Jack Doda leads the passers with 144 yards.
"He's a Division I athlete, and they know he needs the ball in his hands," Kasowski said. "We've played against him the last three years. We know he's a very talented player. We've got to get to him before he gets a head of steam."
Although the Wave have been hit with the injury bug lately, Kasowski said he's been impressed with some of his first-year starters such as Drew Carpenter at quarterback, Ryan Taylor at safety and Damian Bushaw at cornerback.
One of the Green Wave's top offensive options, Caleb Schmiedeberg, is expected to miss the Crookston game with an injury.