Firebirds look to edge Red River in home finale at Roller Field

Staff Writer
Devils Lake Journal
Journal Photo
The Devils Lake football team will take on Grand Forks Red River in its final home game

By Harry Lipsiea

Journal Sports

On Friday evening, the Devils Lake football team will take Roller Field for the last time this season. It would be a feather in the cap of the Firebirds if they were able to knock off one of the EDC's top teams in their home finale.

It won't be easy, however, as Red River comes into the contest as one of the hottest teams in AAA. The squad is coming off of a 28-20 triumph over No. 3 ranked Fargo Davies.

Despite coming into the matchup with the Firebirds with a 2-2 record, the Roughriders have showed themselves to be on of the state's top teams as evident in their early season 33-28 loss at the hands of defending AAA champions Fargo South.

"They have been playing very well as of late," Jay Schneider, Devils Lake head football coach stated about Grand Forks Red River.

Devils Lake enters the contest with a 1-3 conference record and 2-4 mark overall. The Firebirds have had several close balls and have played competitive football throughout the season.

When Devils Lake is at its best, the team is probably the most balanced in the EDC. Junior Bradley Davidson averages 89 yards per game and 5.3 yards a carry. Throughout the season, he has racked up 534 yards and seven touchdowns on 101 carries.

In addition to being able to run the ball, the Firebirds have often boasted a strong passing attack. Sophomore gunslinger Jacob Mertens has thrown for 671 yards and five touchdowns on 49-101 passing. He is third in the conference for yards and second in completions.

The Firebirds are looking to rebound from a hard-fought 27-14 loss at the hands of Fargo North. A win would put Devils Lake right in the hunt for a playoff spot.

This week, Devils Lake is facing a squad that also features the ability to a number of things on the offensive side of the football. On the ground, Roughrider runningbacks Austin Reynolds and Casey Schumacher form a nice one-two punch. Reynolds has 360 yards and five touchdowns. Amazingly, he averages 15 yards per carry. Schumacher has carried the ball 44 times for 268 yards and three touchdowns.

The strength of Red River's offense, however, lies in the passing game. Derek Murph is extremely efficient completing 70-110 passes this season for 812 yards and 13 touchdowns. His favorite target is 6-foot-6 junior Braeden Hanson who has 30 catches for 358 yards and seven touchdowns.

"Red River will be large and physical on the offensive and defensive lines and very athletic in the skilled positions. They will run a 3-5 defense and bring pressure from many different angles throughout the evening," Schneider stated. "It will be a tough test for our guys on Friday."