MAYVILLE, N.D. — The ball exchange is a little different for Marcus Hughes and Nick Reck this week.
For the last two years at Thompson High School, Cadyn Schwabe was the quarterback, Reck the workhorse running back and Hughes the top receiver. All three were all-state picks in leading Thompson to an undefeated season and the 9-man state football championship last fall.
But at the annual Shrine Bowl, with teams practicing here for Saturday, July 13, games in Grand Forks, it is Reck at running back, Hughes at receiver and new quarterbacks.
Teddy Allmaras of New Rockford-Sheyenne and Reese Hanson of Mayville-Portland-CG are quarterbacks for the 9-man East team; Schwabe is playing basketball at the annual North Dakota Lions all-star basketball series.
"It is different,'' Hughes said. "We don't have as much chemistry with the quarterbacks yet. The timing is different. It was second nature for us at Thompson with Cadyn.
"Right away when we started practicing we would run 10-yard routes and the quarterbacks were throwing 7-yard outs, so the passes would be behind you. But we're getting it figured out.''
The Shrine Bowl matches outstanding seniors from the eastern part of North Dakota against their western counterparts, with players from western Minnesota added to all four rosters. The games will be played Saturday at Cushman Field, with the 11-man game at 4 p.m. and the 9-man game to follow.
Hughes had 96 receptions for 1,671 yards over the past two seasons, most of those on Schwabe passes. Reck had 387 carries for 2,913 yards, most of those on handoffs from Schwabe.
"We're running close to our same Thompson offense,'' Reck said. "But it is different. I won't be surprised if we fumble a few option plays. The timing is different.''
The Thompson alums don't question the abilities of their new quarterbacks. Allmaras, like Schwabe, was a first team all-state quarterback. Hanson was an all-region pick. The difference is in familiarity, after all the game connections and practice repetitions they had with Schwabe.
"You can tell (Allmaras and Hanson) are good quarterbacks,'' East coach Brady Schwab of Thompson said. "They're just a little different than Cadyn. Initially, there is some adjustment to a new quarterback. There are little nuances, things you learn after playing next to the same guys for years. We don't have that.
"They both have big arms and throw well on the run. Cadyn was faster and a good runner. He was good at ad-libbing. We'll have to have our quarterbacks moving in the game. We're undersized up front compared to the West team, so we have to use our speed.''
For all the players, Hughes said, there are adjustments after nine months away from football. "It's getting the kinks out,'' he said.
Hughes and Reck are among the Shrine players who will be playing football for the last time.
Reck plans to attend North Dakota State University. He'll be done with athletics. "I'm ready to move on,'' he said. "But it is nice to play one more time.''
Hughes is practicing at his future home. He plans to play baseball at Mayville State University. "I'm getting a sneak peek at dorm life here,'' he said. "There will be mixed emotions, taking the pads off for the last time.''