Grand Forks Central football finally gets the monkey off its back

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The Grand Forks Central football team hoists the Cushman Classic trophy with the Central student section after blanking the Red River Roughriders 23-0 Friday night at Cushman Field. Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald

GRAND FORKS -- Two years of coming up short sits with players for a long time.

On Friday, the Grand Forks Central football team finally rid themselves of those feelings.

"It's still pretty exciting, still pretty happy with the win," said Central senior quarterback Ty Lorenz two days after beating Red River, 23-0.

The shut out win over the Roughriders was the first time the Knights earned a win since Sept. 7th, 2018.

A long absence in the win column can make teams and players doubt themselves.


"It's not much fun, but you have to keep working at it, you have to keep working in the weight room," said Central junior wide receiver Sam Strandell. "I've always been a fan of Central football since I was a little kid, every Friday night was going to Central football games."

"There was always that stretch of games that we weren't able to win, so we just always got to focus on the next one."

It's fitting, Strandell believes, that the streak was broken in the Cushman Classic.

"I wouldn't say hate, but we've got a big dislike for them," Strandell said. "We don't want to lose that one, we want to win that one."

The Knights took a 9-0 lead into halftime and things began to look like they might go there way. Instead of getting overconfident or anxious, head coach Bill Lorenz did not let his team slide.

"He said, "It's a 0-0 game,'" Ty remembered his father saying during the break. "'We won the first half, big deal. It's not going to mean a lot if we don't win the second half.'"


Central never took it's foot off the gas, scoring two more times in the 2nd half to ice the victory. Strandell scored on the first drive of the fourth quarter, and felt like weight of the world starting to come off his shoulders.

"I felt like this one's in the bag, we just got to secure it," Strandell said. "It was like, this is pretty awesome, we got this one finally, this is pretty cool."

For Ty, he not only ended a streak that stayed with him for so long, he also helped get his father the win that evaded the program.

"I think the boulder was off my shoulders," Ty said. "It was a really special moment for him and I to share together and an awesome experience."

Now the opportunity to win a game gives the Knights the understanding of what it means to get the result you wanted.

"Experience really does matter a whole bunch," Standell said.

Zach Staton joined WDAY as a sports reporter in 2018. He grew up in Salem, Virginia loving any sport he could play or watch. Staton graduated from Bridgewater College with a degree in Communication Studies before getting his Master's in Broadcast and Digital Journalism with a Sports Communication Emphasis from Syracuse University.
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