Prep football practice is underway for GF Central, GF Red River

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Aug. 4—GRAND FORKS — Not surprisingly, the energy and enthusiasm at Grand Forks Central's first football practice of the season perhaps was on a higher level than usual Thursday at Purpur Arena.

A new coach may be the reason for that.

The Knights' first practice was led by Jake Schauer, who begins his first season as the Central coach. It's the program's third coach in the past 43 years. Schauer takes over from Bill Lorenz, who retired after last season.

"The energy was high," said Schauer, who spent the past three seasons as the Thompson head coach. "We put in a lot of work over the summer."

The number of players was impressive as well. There will be 90 Central players this season in grades 9-12.

"Our coaching staff really worked hard over the summer, having camps for our guys coming up," said the Central coach. "It was really nice to see that."

Central is coming off a 2-7 season as the Knights played their first season at the North Dakota Class A level. Central opens its season Aug. 19 at home against Watford City. Kickoff is set for 4 p.m.

Central's style of play this season likely won't change drastically.

"Offensively, we like to spread it out," said Schauer. "But at the same time, you still have to be able to play some smash-mouth football."

At Cushman Field, meanwhile, Red River also held its first practice of the season in preparation of its Aug. 19 season-opener against Williston.

The numbers at Red River are good as well.

Red River coach Vyrn Muir said 95 players are in the program this season, an improvement over past years.

"We haven't been plus-85 for at least the past four seasons," said Muir.

With the Class AA season opening on Aug. 19, Red River adjusted its practices a bit.

"We ran a skills camp twice a week over the summer in addition to weightlifting," said the Red River coach. "We have an idea of what our kids can do. We're a little bit further ahead of the game in all of my years here."

Red River finished 4-6 last season and qualified for the Class A playoffs. The Riders lost at Jamestown in the opening round.

Red River's Aug. 19 opener against Williston is set for a 7 p.m. kickoff at Cushman Field.