The only certainty in Minnesota high school football this fall is the possibility that the schedule will change at any moment.

Hopkins was scheduled to play Armstrong earlier this season, but that game was canceled due to a COVID-19 outbreak at Armstrong.

As fate would have it, the two teams both had an opening this week, so the Falcons will host Hopkins in a 6 p.m. game Friday, Oct. 30, at Armstrong Stadium.

“Armstrong is a good team, and I am expecting a close game,” Hopkins head coach John DenHartog said. “[Coach] Jack Negen does a great job. They have a quick quarterback who makes tacklers miss.”

In its game Oct. 23, Hopkins relied on a solid ground game in improving to 2-1 with a 26-18 victory over Forest Lake at Hopkins High Stadium.

Coming off a 48-7 loss to Farmington the previous week, Hopkins was determined to replace that memory with a better one.

Hopkins’ star of the game, senior wide receiver A.J. Reeves, scored a pair of touchdowns, one on an 11-yard run and the other on a 15-yard pass play from senior quarterback J.T. Zell. The other Royal touchdowns came on short runs by Zell and senior halfback Ricky Dixon.

A.J. Torfin, a 6-1, 255-pound senior, led a strong performance by Hopkins’ offensive line.

“A.J. played an exceptional game,” coach DenHartog observed. “I was super happy with our defensive line play. Kacey Anderson and Bryce Buckingham had good games. Lee Hutton, our junior corner, was good in 1-on-1 pass coverage.”

As always, senior captain R.J. Chakolis led the defense at inside linebacker along with junior Aaron Aune.

As the season moves ahead and the weather becomes colder, DenHartog said one emphasis for the Royals is improved special teams play.

The special teams had trouble in the Farmington game, but were much sharper in the win over Forest Lake.

Hopkins enters the Armstrong game with a 2-1 record, while Armstrong, which missed one game due to COVID-19, stands 1-1.

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