Bishop Ryan's scout team quarterback on Thursday resembled a burly lineman in a highlight reel read by ESPN announcer Chris Berman more than Kindred's senior signal-caller Eric Bachmeier.
What's Berman's catch-phrase? "Rumblin', stumblin', bumblin'."
Lions assistant Justin Wieseler, an all-conference offensive lineman a dozen years ago at Valley City State University, attempted to replicate Bachmeier's play, but to no avail.
Preparing for Bachmeier, a first-team all-state selection in 2011, is anything but easy.
The main challenge for top-ranked Ryan (1-0) in its non-region game against Kindred at 6 p.m. tonight at Herb Parker Stadium will be stopping the Vikings' 6-foot-2, 175-pound star.
"Their quarterback is a freak athlete," Bishop Ryan senior quarterback-linebacker Austin Eggl said. "We're going to have to try to contain him."
Bishop Ryan senior Austin Eggl delivers a pass during practice Thursday at Hogan Field. The 5-foot-11, 185-pound quarterback completed 8 of 10 passes for 90 yards and a touchdown last week in the Lions’ 20-0 win over Velva.
Said senior receiver-cornerback Brody Bosch: "He likes to get outside. If he's in space, he's pretty hard to stop."
Bachmeier has received interest from University of Minnesota, University of North Dakota and North Dakota State University, among other schools.
In Ryan's 28-22 loss at Kindred last season, he rushed 27 times for 210 yards and three touchdowns against a depleted Lions roster, which missed all-state lineman Mason Kramer due to appendicitis. Bachmeier recorded the Vikings' other score on a 70-yard kickoff return.
"They beat us last year," Eggl said, "one we were disappointed in giving away, so we want some revenge for that."
Kindred (1-0) runs a spread offense similar to Ryan's, which made for simple game-planning - aside from preparing for Bachmeier.
"Seeing that offense every day helps a bit," Bosch said. "Some of the things are similar so we can work off that."
Defensively, the Vikings blitz regularly and employ an aggressive scheme.
Eggl is tasked with getting rid of the ball quickly to avoid Kindred's pressure, just like he did last week against Velva when he completed his final six passes.
"That's always the staple of our offense, throwing in rhythm," said Eggl, who passed for 90 yards and a touchdown.
Senior running back Braden Kalamaha had six carries for 35 yards and two scores in the Lions' 20-0 rout of the Aggies, which lasted barely one quarter due to recurring lightning. Bosch and Nick Berentson caught three balls apiece and Jake Magnuson had two receptions and a touchdown.
Ryan coach Brad Borkhuis said he has stressed the importance of starting quickly again because with a No. 1 ranking, he knows the Lions will get their opponents' best shot.
"That's one thing we've really talked about is getting out of the gates and really focusing on doing the little things early," Borkhuis said. "That puts us in an advantageous position late in the game.
"If we want to dominate we have to start out fast, we have to be intense and we have to be very disciplined."
And they'll have to contain Bachmeier.
Notes: Ryan junior running back Brendan Backes is out with a sprained medial collateral ligament. Borkhuis expects him to return in three weeks. ... The Lions are tied with St. Mary's atop the Class AA media poll. The No. 1 ranking is the second of Borkhuis' tenure at Ryan. Said the fourth-year coach: "We really emphasize the fact that it doesn't mean anything unless you have the (No. 1) at the end of the year."
Ryan Holmgren covers high school sports and general assignments. Follow him on Twitter @ryanholmgrenMDN.