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Standout season without playoffs

Of the 21 players on the North Dakota 9-man high school all-state football first team, 20 were on teams that played in the state playoffs.

The one exception is Ben Johnson. The Hatton-Northwood senior was named a first team defensive lineman on the all-state team, as selected by the state coaches association.

"Ben had a tremendous year,'' Thunder coach Dave Smith said. "That showed by the way opposing coaches talked him up at the all-state meeting.

"Ben did his talking on the field. He has good size and good footwork. And he has a motor that doesn't quit. He's always looking for somebody to hit.''

Johnson was in on 50 tackles (28 solos) for the 3-5 Thunder. He had 11 tackles for losses and five quarterback sacks, forcing one fumble and recovering two. He was a second team all-state pick as a junior.

Here's a look at the other area all-state selections. Positions aren't designated for second-team picks.


Austin Urlaub, first-team quarterback: The senior is a repeat first team quarterback. Urlaub was 51-of-80 passing for 1,003 yards and 11 touchdowns and rushed 115 times for 806 yards and 15 TDs. On defense, he made 31 solo tackles, with four sacks and seven tackles for loss.

Tristen Sott, second team: The senior rushed for 1,415 yards, averaging 8.3 yards per carry, and scored 21 touchdowns. He added 120 yards on nine receptions. On defense, Sott had 61 solo tackles, with six sacks and five tackles for loss.

Gabe Hartje, second team: The senior was in on 40 solo tackles, with 53 assists. He had 5.5 sacks and seven tackles for loss. On offense, Hartje caught 17 passes for 299 yards and five touchdowns.

North Border

Carter Brown, first-team running back: The senior carried 233 times for 2,024 yards. He scored 23 touchdowns. On defense Brown made 101 tackles (70 solos). Brown was a second team all-state pick in 2016.

Nelson County

Hunter Sand, first team defensive back: The senior intercepted seven passes, returning two for touchdowns, and was in on 58 tackles (40 solos). On offense, he was 39-of-74 passing for 905 yards and rushed for 509 yards.

Michael Wall, second team: The senior lineman made 35 tackles (seven solos) with three sacks. His blocking helped the offense average 366 yards in total offense and 36.1 points per game.


Cadyn Schwabe, second team: The junior completed 80-of-160 passes for 1,282 yards and 19 touchdowns. He rushed 94 times for 780 yards and nine TDs. On defense Schwabe made 43 tackles (31 solos) with two interceptions.

North Prairie

Gabe Leonard, first-team defensive back: The senior made 107 tackles (47 solos) and had three interceptions. Leonard also was a big offensive threat, rushing 105 times for 1,015 yards and 14 touchdowns and catching 15 passes for 448 yards and 11 TDs.

Tucker Boucher, first team offensive lineman: Boucher was a second-team all-state pick as a junior. The senior anchored a line on an offense that averaged 40.3 points a game. On defense, he was in on 105 tackles (55 solos) with five sacks.

Austin Soukup, second team: The senior rushed 92 times for 1,158 yards and 21 touchdowns while completing 36-of-55 passes for 643 yards and 16 TDs.


Jack Ihry, second team: The sophomore rushed for 1,387 yards on 173 carries, scoring 15 touchdowns. He paced the defense with an average of 10.9 tackles per game.