HOL Football Friday preview - Mid-season jockeying
The midway point of the football season provides set-up matches for the stretch run in the Heart O’ Lakes-North Conference tonight.
Crookston (1-2, 0-2) travels to Perham (2-1, 1-0) for a crucial game with Perham looking to stay undefeated in conference play and the Pirates trying to get back on track after two North losses.
Perham is coming off a game they would like to forget at HOL-Classic D-G-F, where the Rebels’ line and double-wing offense controlled the line of scrimmage and built a lead allowing clock management in the Rebels' favor for a 21-7 victory. D-G-F held a near 10-minute advantage in ball possession.
D-G-F also kept the Heart O’ Lakes second most prolific running back Payton Jordahl to less than 100 yards for the first time this season.
Jordahl has 343 yards rushing after three games, second to Pelican Rapids’ Ryan Bruggeman’s 487 on 35 carries, averaging a wicked 13.9 yards per rush. Bruggeman (48) and Jordahl (43) are second and third in conference scoring behind DL's Michael Herzog's 66 points on 11 rushing touchdowns. Herzog has thrown for two scores, as well.
Crookston has dropped two straight after an opening 25-0 shutout win at Warroad (1-2, 1-1). Both Pirate losses were big: a 40-6 drubbing at Detroit Lakes (3-0, 2-0) and last week a 38-7 loss to Park Rapids (2-1, 1-0) at home. The Panthers led Crookston 26-0 at the half.
Crookston’s junior running backs Brandt Delage and Mikey Hajosteck combined to rush for more than 200 yards last week. Delage had 148 on 17 carries.
Keep an eye on Cole Schmitz tonight. He leads the Yellowjacket defense and is second in the HOL with 22 tackles. Pequot Lakes’ Justin Mackenthun is the only defender ahead of Schmitz with four more stops (26).
Detroit Lakes will improve to 4-0 overall, barring an unrealistic upset, when they host Staples-Motley (0-3, 0-2) in a cross-conference game with the HOL-Classic Cardinals. According to DL Newspapers' Brian Wierima, Herzog is eight points away from the all-time scoring record at Detroit Lakes. He enters the game having scored 270 points.
Park Rapids (2-1, 1-0) hosts Pequot Lakes (2-1, 1-1) in a North matchup where the Panthers will try to remain one of three undefeated teams in the conference with DL and Perham. Friday night wins by Perham and Park Rapids will create a three-way logjam atop the North at 2-0 with the Lakers.
Thief River Falls (2-1, 1-1) travels to struggling East Grand Forks (0-3, 0-2) in the final North game Friday. East Grand Forks is averaging only two points per game in scoring after consecutive road shutouts at Perham and Pequot Lakes.
The HOL-North is set up for fireworks the final three weeks of the season, should all three teams remain undefeated.
Weeks six and seven, DL travels to Park Rapids Oct. 4 and hosts Perham Oct. 11. Perham and Park Rapids square off the final week, the short week, on Wednesday, Oct. 16 in Park Rapids. The Lakers will be in Pequot Lakes.
Thief River Falls hung with Detroit Lakes losing last week 29-21 in DL for their first North loss. Thief makes it a four-team race with the Prowlers still to play games versus Park Rapids at home and in Perham.