This certainly wasn’t the most productive season in Devils Lake football history, but on Friday night, the Firebirds ended it on a high note, putting in their best 2013 performance en route to their first EDC victory.
Devils Lake was the superior team from the beginning, evidenced by the ease in their rushing attack as they went on to claim a convincing 34-0 victory over Grand Forks Central at Roller Field. The Firebirds finished the game with 323 yards on the ground, more than five times the output of their opponent.
It was an admittedly emotional circumstance for head coach Jay Schneider and his players after the game, many of them with tears in their eyes, not wanting the season to end.
While the wins haven’t quite been there for the Firebirds this season, the care that these players and coaches have for each other has never been brought into question. It really is a close group, and that was evident on Friday night.
Devils Lake head coach Jay Schneider couldn’t say enough about his players after the win.
“They’re all great kids,” Schneider said. “It’s tough, because everyone measures success by wins and losses, and granted, we probably didn’t have the most wins this season.
“But I’ll tell you what. Our success this season was how great this group of kids worked together, how hard they worked in practice even after losing heartbreaking games, how they always kept a positive attitude for the next opponent.
“That’s the one thing I’m going to always take away from this group. They worked hard. Things didn’t quite fall their way, but they never had a bad attitude toward the game, and it’s great for them to finish off this season with a win.”
Friday night’s win accomplished a good few things for Devils Lake. Not only was it the team’s first district win of the season, but the win also propelled them out of last place in the EDC, a feat that Schneider said his team was anxious to achieve ahead of its clash with Grand Forks Central.
The Firebirds came out fighting right off the bat on Friday night, and it was evident from the beginning that the team’s offensive strategy was going to revolve around running the football, which has been a strength of the team all season.
Bradley Davidson got the Firebirds on the board first with a 14 yard scamper to give the home team the advantage late in the first quarter.
And the Firebirds didn’t look back.
Page 2 of 2 - Devils Lake went on to score 28 unanswered points, four touchdowns, all points secured by the team’s potent rushing attack.
Senior running back Austin Schall, who has been the focal point of the Firebirds rushing game since the beginning of the season, led the team in carries and yardage once again, finishing the contest with 160 yards on 26 attempts.
Sophomore Bradley Davidson, the fastest player on the team, put in an extremely productive performance, carrying the ball just four times for 74 yards. Out of those four attempts, three were run in for touchdowns.
Schneider was quick to credit the offensive line for his team’s proficient ground attack.
“We ran the ball well, and that’s attributed to the line,” Schneider said. “I’ve always said that if your offensive line controls the line of scrimmage, you’re going to be in very good shape, and we did that tonight.
“Our backs also ran really hard,” Schneider added. “We were able to mix in the passing game early on, but our backs finished their runs well all night.”
Now with the season at an end, Schneider will miss his players as they enter the offseason, especially his seniors.
“When they’re all together on the football field, it only makes this team feel more like a family,” Schneider said. “They’re all such good friends off the field as well as on the field. They all worked and did their job to the best of their ability, and I will always be thankful for what they gave to our program over the last 3-4 years.
“I applaud them. They’re very good kids. I’m expecting them to go on and do great things after high school.”