GRAND FORKS — Grand Forks Red River entered Friday night’s high school football season opener with a lot of question marks on offense. Legacy, on the other hand, had returning first team all-state quarterback Jason Hoekstra to run its offense.
Hoekstra accumulated more than 200 yards in total offense and had a hand in all four touchdowns as the Sabers beat Red River 26-0 at Cushman Field.
The Roughriders managed only 101 yards in total offense with a unit that didn’t have a single skill-position player back who saw extensive playing time last season.
“I think we found some things,’’ Red River coach Vyrn Muir said of the offense. “Our running backs ran hard. Our run blocking got better as the game went along. But we still have a lot of things to work on. I don’t think we solved any riddles. We just got something we can build off.
“We looked good at times. Then we turned around and did some things poorly. We looked like a very inexperienced team at times.’’
While Red River barely surpassed 100 yards in total offense, Hoekstra rushed for 102 yards and was 11-of-20 passing for 158 yards.
Hoekstra scored on a 20-yard run in the first quarter. He threw touchdown passes of 17 yards to Patrick Doan and 4 yards to Austin Wolf in the second quarter, then hit Wolf for a 26-yard score in the fourth.
And the senior wasn’t at his best, according to Sabers coach Chris Clements.
“He didn’t play real well,’’ Clements said. “He missed some open receivers. But it wasn’t all on him; we had some drops, too.
“He makes plays with his feet. He makes plays with his arm. He’s a dynamic player. We go as Jason goes.’’
Muir agrees. “He’s probably the best quarterback we’ll see this year,’’ Muir said. “We made some nice plays. He made more.’’
A key play came late in the second quarter. Red River started a drive on its own 30 and lost 17 yards on a first-down bad snap. Red River wound up punting on the possession. Legacy had a long return to the Riders’ 19 and took two plays to score. Diamonte Stugelmeyer ran for 15 yards, then Hoekstra hit Wolf for a 4-yard TD and a 19-0 lead with 1:22 left in the first half.
“That took some wind out of (Red River’s) sails,’’ Clements said. “Any time you can get a score right before halftime, and to go up from two scores to three, that’s a big momentum thing.’’
Red River’s offense was led by Landon Haagenson (44 yards rushing) and Sam Schumacher (8-of-17 passing for 49 yards).