Red River knocks off defending state champ Bismarck High

Red River's Brady Dvorak runs back a kickoff for a touchdown late in the first half against Bismarck High School Friday at Cushman Field. Photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

Vyrn Muir reached into his pocket and pulled out his watch. It was broken into three pieces.

Then, the Grand Forks Red River football coach held up his left arm to show a three-inch, black-and-blue mark. The welt was only about 10 minutes old, but it was already swelling up.

"I'll take it," he said before breaking into a smile.

Muir will take any lasting memories of what happened Friday night.

The damage occurred in a justifiably exuberant celebration after Red River, winners in just three of its last 21 games, stunned defending North Dakota state champion Bismarck High 44-35 at Cushman Field.


The victory was sealed by back-to-back pass breakups by lineman Jayden Remz, who sprinted to the sidelines, chest-bumped his coach and took out his watch and forearm in the process.

"I'm speechless," Remz said, "just speechless right now."

"I'm kind of awestruck," Muir said," because Bismarck is Bismarck."

Bismarck has been among the state's most dominant programs. It has reached the state semifinals in 15 of the last 16 years, playing for 10 state championships and winning five of them.

Red River hadn't beaten Bismarck since the 1991 playoffs, the last time the Roughriders have reached the state semis.

Since then, Red River had lost nine in a row to Bismarck -- and none of them were particularly close. Bismarck's average margin of victory was 27.4 in those games. None were within two touchdowns. Since 2000, the defeats have been by 25, 23, 28, 28, 32, 29, 39 and 28.


That changed Friday night as Red River used four touchdown passes by senior quarterback Parker Monette to race past the Demons.

Two of those scores went to 6-foot-3 senior wide receiver Bryce Enerson. One went to 6-foot-5 senior Cole Benson and another to 6-foot senior Brady Dvorak, who also returned a kickoff 91 yards for a score.

Monette's final numbers: 18 of 25 for 244 yards.

Connor Arel also rushed for 94 yards on 18 carries and a key score in the final 10 seconds of the first half.

The 44 points tied the most Bismarck High has allowed since its 55-49 win over Fargo South in 2013.

"It's incredible," Lotysz said. "All the boys played to the max tonight. We gave it our all and it shows on the scoreboard."

Red River, which lost 14-12 to Minot in the first week, improved to 1-1. Bismarck High, which lost to West Fargo Sheyenne in the opening week, dropped to 0-2 for the first time since 2005.

After the game, Red River players stayed on the field celebrating and posing for pictures.


"It's crazy," Remz said. "It's crazy to know that we were just doubted from the start and that (everyone) thought we were going to come out here and lose. For us to come in and show them that we're more than that, it's amazing.

"To know it's been like 25 years since we've beaten Bismarck High, it's just a surreal feeling."

Schlossman has covered college hockey for the Grand Forks Herald since 2005. He has been recognized by the Associated Press Sports Editors as the top beat writer for the Herald's circulation division four times and the North Dakota sportswriter of the year once. He resides in Grand Forks. Reach him at
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