The Devils Lake Firebirds will face one of their toughest tests of the season on Friday night as they prepare to travel to Grand Forks to take on the Roughriders of Red River in their first EDC game of the 2013 season.
The Firebirds (1-0) are hoping to rebound from the performance they exhibited last season against Red River. The Roughriders rolled Devils Lake 35-0 en route to 8-2 overall record and their second consecutive co-regional title.
Red River shared one of those titles with Devils Lake in 2011, a season that saw them lose to the Firebirds in a hotly contested 14-12 defeat.
Schneider and his team are hopeful that they can return to the form that saw them fend off the Roughriders in 2011, but it will be no easy task.
Red River promises to be a tough EDC test yet again this season, but they haven’t gotten off to the best start. Granted, they were handed a tough draw. Their first game of the season matched them up against the defending state champions: Bismarck, the team that bounced the Firebirds out of last season’s playoffs 41-0.
The Roughriders were shut out by the reigning champs 28-0, giving them a less-than-ideal 0-1 record to kick off the 2013 campaign. This should make Red River an even more difficult opponent this Friday night as they will be hungry for their first win of the season and desperate to avoid a dreaded 0-2 start.
The Firebirds will be hoping for another strong performance from their defense, who went the entire game against Williston without conceding a single point.
Special teams could also be a useful ally for Devils Lake as Bradley Davidson will return to the field only a week removed from his two-touchdown performance against the Coyotes in the season opener. In that game, Davidson returned the opening kickoff for an 83-yard touchdown, and two minutes later, took a punt back 76 yards for another score.
The one concern for the Firebirds will be on the offense, a unit which only managed 143 total yards against Williston and scored it’s only points with less than four minutes remaining in the game. They’ll need an improved effort if they aspire to start their EDC schedule off with a win.
The game kicks off at 7 p.m. tonight at Red River High School.