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SUGAR BEET CLASSIC: Daunting challenge

Brady Terrill is familiar with Brandon Metz from the wrestling mat. He has a lot of respect for the West Fargo standout. "He's really strong, really muscular,'' Terrill, a senior lineman for the Grand Forks Central football team, said. "He's a go...

Brady Terrill is familiar with Brandon Metz from the wrestling mat. He has a lot of respect for the West Fargo standout.

"He's really strong, really muscular,'' Terrill, a senior lineman for the Grand Forks Central football team, said. "He's a good athlete. You try to compete against him as best you can.''

For Central, Metz and Zach Willis provide a big challenge. The West Fargo seniors line up side-by-side on the Packers' offensive and defensive lines. And both are Division I football recruits, as they verbally committed last summer to play for North Dakota State.

That status could be an incentive when Central plays the Packers at 4:30 p.m. Friday in the first Sugar Beet Classic at the Alerus Center.

"It definitely will be tough,'' Central tight end/defensive lineman Aaron Knutson said. "It's a good opportunity to show what we can do. It will be a fun challenge.''

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The Bison recruits have helped West Fargo to a 6-0 start and a No. 1 ranking in the Class AAA state poll. Central counters with a 1-5 record. It is a rare opportunity to test power and skills against a pair of Division I-bound linemen on one team.

"I can't tell you the last time we've seen that,'' Central coach Bill Lorenz said. "We've gone against some DI recruits, but not two DI line recruits on the same team, not that I remember. And their other linemen aren't slouches, either.

"I'd like to think it will be a good challenge for our kids. But it's tough to tell until we get on the field. It's got to be somewhat intimidating, looking at the success NDSU's football program has had, and here are two kids recruited by that program. But I think our kids will embrace the challenge. They won't back down.''

Knutson remembers playing as a sophomore against Fargo South running back James Johannesson, who was a University of Minnesota recruit. "That was crazy playing against him,'' Knutson said. "I tackled him a few times. I was intimidated at that time because he was older. But these guys (Metz and Willis) are our age.''

For Terrill, once the game starts, all that matters is the game, not who is being recruited by what football program. "I'm sure some people could be (intimidated). But I look at it as just two guys I'm going against,'' Terrill said.

"You don't think about (the recruiting) on the field. You're out there doing your thing, doing the best you can do.''

In addition to the two DI recruits, West Fargo also has a standout in senior Chuck Teiken, an all-state running back last season.

Central's key to success might be turning around the second half. In the Knights' five losses, they've trailed by no more than 11 points at halftime in each game. But they were outscored 75-14 in the second half in those setbacks.

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"It does get frustrating,'' Lorenz said. "We've been in the red zone in a lot of those games, but we haven't finished drives. We've had turnovers, or have been a few chain links short of converting on fourth downs.

"That has an effect, both physically and mentally, on the kids. It drains you.''

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