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Knights roll; Class AA playoff remain in sight

Central scores early and often in 49-14 win over West Fargo Horace

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Grand Forks Central wide receiver Tray Kuntz, center left, leaps past the West Fargo Horace defense to haul in a long distance throw from Knights quarterback Dylan LaMont, not pictured, in the first quarter of a home football game at Cushman Field in Grand Forks on Friday, September 30, 2022.
Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald
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GRAND FORKS – The high school football season in North Dakota is beginning its stretch run.

And, despite a 2-4 record, Grand Forks Central realizes there remains a lot at stake heading into the next few weeks.

The Knights picked up their second win of the season Friday night when they rolled past West Fargo Horace 49-14 at Cushman Field.

Two years ago, a 2-4 record heading into the stretch run wouldn’t have carried the weight it does this season. The North Dakota High School Activities now select playoff teams by its QRF ranking system. Coming into the night, Central was rated No. 8 in the latest Class AA QRF standings. The top eight ranked teams in the QRF make the playoffs.

“We have the playoffs on the line for sure,” said Central first-year coach Jake Schauer. “That’s been the goal since Day 1. This is a top eight team in the state; our guys know that and they want to get the best seeding they can. But first things first; we have to make the playoffs.

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“This team is hungry for the playoffs. They deserve the playoffs because they’ve worked their tails off all summer.”

Not surprising, the Knights were in control throughout against Horace, a first-year Class AA program without any seniors.

The Knights were led by junior running back Jack Simmers, who scored three touchdowns, including an 85-yard kickoff return late in the fourth quarter. He also scored on a 48-yard reception from quarterback Dylan LaMont and also on a 6-yard run in the second quarter.

LaMont threw for 169 yards, with Simmers and tight end Tray Kuntz combining for 124 receiving yards.

“We did a lot of things right tonight; we were able to run the ball a little bit better but we were a little sloppy, too," said Schauer. There are some ticky-tack things we need to work on.”

Simmers’ big plays kept the Knights rolling for four quarters.

“We started moving Jack around a little more and he did a nice job,” said Schauer. “Jack is a really good athlete. And it’s on us coaches to get him in the right spots to succeed.”

The Central coach also liked the demeanor his team had as the Knights bolted to a big lead and continued solid play even when the game went into running time in the second half.

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“It was a nice, well-rounded effort. In a game like that, when you go up early, I’m glad our receivers didn’t start pouting. They kept blocking, grinding and good things happened,”

Both West Fargo Horace touchdowns came from junior running back Dylan Johnson, who scored on runs of 7 and 12 yards. He also finished with 111 yards rushing.

Central hits the road next week with a game at Wahpeton. The Knights then close the regular season with games against Valley City and Devils Lake.

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Knights linebacker Cole Barta (9) tries to catch a West Fargo Horace pass intended for Hawks running back Mason Johnson (30) by Grand Forks Central defensive back Tristan Raymond (15) in the first quarter of a prep football game at Cushman Field in Grand Forks on Friday, September 30, 2022.
Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald
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Knights running back Jack Simmers (2) sprints along the Grand Forks Central sideline on a first quarter touchdown run during a home football game against the West Fargo Horace Hawks at Grand Forks' Cushman Field on Friday, September 30, 2022.
Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald

Related Topics: PREP SPORTS
Wayne Nelson is the sports editor at the Herald.


He has been with the Grand Forks Herald since 1995, serving as the UND football and basketball beat writer as well as serving as the sports editor.



He is a UND graduate and has been writing sports since the late 1970s.



Follow him on Twitter @waynenelsongf. You can reach him at (701) 780-1268 or wnelson@gfherald.com.
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