Separation at the top
There was a distinct separation in talent between the top four and bottom four teams in Region 2 a year ago.
This season it appears the divide is between the top team and the rest.
Cavalier, which was the preseason favorite to win the region title, has proven thus far its the most complete team in the conference, boasting a high-powered offense and solid defense.
At 5-0, and ranked No. 3 in Class A, the Tornadoes are the lone unbeaten team and have scored 40 or more points in their first three conference games, including a 44-20 win over previously-undefeated Larimore.
Many of the points the Tornadoes have allowed have come in the second half when the outcome was no longer in doubt.
Rugby coach Scott Grochow, like many other Region 2 coaches, is not surprised by the play so far of the Tornadoes.
“With so many kids coming back, you knew they were going to have a strong team,’ he said. “That’s why they were picked to win the region.”
Logjam in Region 2
While Cavalier appears to be on its way to a region title, there is quite a battle brewing for the remaining top three spots in the region, and more importantly, a second place finish. The team that can finish in second will host at least one playoff game.
As of Sept. 23, there was a four-way tie for second as Rugby, Larimore, North Prairie and Park River-Fordville-Lankin all have a 2-1 record.
The standings should look a little more clear by this time next week as a number of those teams will face each other.
Rugby appears to be in the best position to grab the No. 2 spot.
“It’s nice to know our destiny is in our own hands,’ Grochow said. “If we win-out, we’ll finish second.”
Of course the Panthers have some challenging games ahead against a few of those teams in that logjam, including Park River-Fordville-Lankin this Friday, Oct. 1 and Larimore on Oct. 15.
Both games will be played in Rugby, and the Panthers are hoping that will give them an edge.
QB spot to be filled by Olsen
Rugby started the season by rotating senior Riley Olsen and junior Zach Leer at the quarterback spot, but the position is Olsen’s for now. That’s because Leer suffered a broken arm in the Cavalier game earlier this month and will likely miss the rest of the regular season.
Lervik leading North Prairie
North Prairie has a go-to player in the backfield in Everett Lervik. The junior has provided a spark since he returned to the lineup two weeks ago after missing games due to an illness and rushed for three scores in a victory over Hatton-Northwood on Sept. 17.