CAVALIER, N.D. — In a typical season, junior Daniel Hinkle would be the big man, literally, on the Cavalier offensive line.
This isn’t typical, however. The 235-pound Hinkle is the lightweight among the four players sharing time on the interior of the offensive line of the undefeated Tornadoes.
Cavalier (11-0) plays host to Linton-HMB on Saturday, Nov. 9, the semifinal round of the North Dakota 9-man high school football playoffs.
The big numbers on the field for Cavalier have been compiled by running back Tanner Urlaub and quarterback Colton Ratchenski.
The big numbers they’ve been working behind have been the blocking unit of Hinkle at center, junior Andre LeTexier (240 pounds) at right guard, senior Isiah LeTexier (255 pounds) at tight end and senior Cole Strauss (250 pounds) at left guard.
“That’s the biggest line we’ve had here in a long time,’’ Cavalier coach Sandy Laxdal said. “I don’t think I’ve had a bigger group than this.
“Our offensive lines have probably averaged around 200 pounds. We’ve tended to have average-sized kids up front.’’
Urlaub has rushed for 1,152 yards and Ratchenski 875 this season. As a team, the Tornadoes average 268 rushing yards a game and 8.7 yards a carry. In addition, Ratchenski is 85-of-113 passing for 1,429 yards. His top target is another big body, 6-foot-6, 215-pound Andre Carrier (41 catches-765 yards).
“We haven’t played against anybody our size,’’ Isiah LeTexier said. “That’s allowed us to get a big push. Tanner will be 4-5 yards downfield before he gets touched.
“A lot of times we’ll have 40-pound advantages over guys. You can move people farther when you’re that much bigger.’’
Laxdal said the blockers aren’t just big. They’re athletic.
All have competed in other sports. Carrier was all-region in basketball last season. Andre LeTexier was a state wrestling tournament qualifier.
“We can go smash mouth or speed things up,’’ Laxdal said. “They (linemen) do a lot of pulling, getting out in front of the backs. They’re on the move a lot. They seem to take the most pride in getting a solid running game going.’’
The linemen do go against guys their own size — in practices.
“”We go one-on-one in drills to see who’s the best,’’ Isiah LeTexier said. “It’s fun. We go full contact and don’t take it easy on each other. It gets pretty chippy at times.’’
Not quite as much as in games, however.
The blockers have protected Ratchenski, who has been sacked only once all season. Hinkle, Strauss and the LeTexier brothers all start on the defensive line. But it is blocking for the running game where they’ve excelled.
“Tanner is a hard-nosed running back and Ratchenski is a good running threat, more so than our typical quarterbacks have been,’’ Laxdal said. “And we’ve had success up front. This year our offense has gotten back to more of our traditional running game.’’
N.D. 9-man quarterfinals
Coach -- Sandy Laxdal
Record -- 11-0, Region 2 No. 1 seed.
Saturday’s 9-man state semifinal game -- The Tornadoes play host to Linton-HMB (9-1) at 2 p.m.
Tornadoes’ starting offense -- Sr. QB Colton Ratchenski, sr. RB Tanner Urlaub, jr. WR Brannin Cleem, soph. WR Trevor Hinkle, sr. TE Andre Carrier, sr. TE Isiah LeTexier, jr. LG Andre LeTexier, sr. RG Cole Strauss, jr. C Daniel Hinkle.
Tornadoes’ starting defense -- DE I. LeTexier, DE Strauss, DT D. Hinkle, DT A. LeTexier, OLB fr. Landon Carter, OLB Cleem, MLB Urlaub, CB Carrier, S T. Hinkle.
Rushing leaders -- Urlaub 143-1,152, 15 TDs; Ratchenski 80-875, 13 TDs; Cleem 37-248, 5 TDs.
Passing leader -- Ratchenski 85-113-1, 1,429 yards, 23 TDs.
Receiving leaders -- Carrier 41-765, 14 TDs; Cleem 15-285, 5 TDs; T. Hinkle 15-224.
Coach -- Larry Fontaine.
Record -- 11-0, Region 1 No. 1 seed.
Saturday’s 9-man state semifinal game -- The Spartans play host to Kidder County (9-1) at 2 p.m. Saturday at Hope.
Spartans’ starting offense -- Jr. QB Owen Zerface, sr. RB Jack Ihry, soph. RB Cody Reimer, sr. FB Philip Platt, sr. WR Tate Zerface, sr. WR Evan Christian, jr. G Will Erickson, soph. G Haiden Huschka, sr. C Carter Rings.
Spartans’ starting defense -- DE Platt, jr. DE Dalton Stein, DT Rings, DT Huschka, LB Ihry, LB Christian, LB Reimer, DB T. Zerface, DB fr. Xyler Carlson.
Rushing leaders -- Ihry 251-2,378, 33 TDs; soph. Blake Jacobsen 53-460, 6 TDs; O. Zerface 78-312, 8 TDs; Reimer 50-153, 2 TDs.
Passing leader -- O. Zerface 42-80-5, 696 yards, 6 TDs.
Receiving leaders -- T. Zerface 15-241, 3 TDs; Ihry 13-162, 1 TD; Platt 8-140, 1 TD.
N.D. Class A playoffs
Coach -- Josh Krivarchka.
Record -- 11-0, Region 2 No. 1 seed.
Saturday’s Class A state semifinal game -- The Cardinals play host to Lisbon (10-0) at 2 p.m. Saturday.
Cardinals’ starting offense: Jr. QB Simon Romfo, jr. FB Grant Romfo, sr. HB Noah Anderson, sr. WR Jackson Delvo, sr. WR Sean Gette, jr. TE Cooper Zimmer, sr. LT Sid Ullyott, fr. LG Carter Tetrault, sr. C Jesse Fetsch, jr. RG Alex Cluchie, sr. RT Brett Myers.
Cardinals’ starting defense: DE Myers, DE Zimmer, DT Cluchie, fr. DT Jack Romfo, LB Tetrault, LB Fetsch, LB S. Ullyott, CB Delvo, CB sr. Peyton Ullyott, S G. Romfo, S S. Romfo.
Rushing leaders: G. Romfo 100-746, 18 TDs; S. Romfo 69-721, 11 TDs; Anderson 48-291, 3 TDs; soph. Zach Rostvet 26-208, 1 TD.
Passing leader: S. Romfo 164-235-1, 2,395 yards, 34 TDs.
Receiving leaders: Delvo 48-775, 13 TDs; Getts 43-560, 9 TDs; G. Romfo 45-540, 6 TDs; Zimmer 13-306, 4 TDs; Anderson 14-212, 3 TDs.
N.D. Class AA playoffs
Coach: Scott Olsen.
Record: 10-0, East Region No. 1 seed.
Saturday’s Class AA state semifinal game: The Burros play host to Bismarck St. Mary’s (6-3) at 2 p.m. Saturday at Hillsboro.
Burros’ starting offense: Sr. QB Micah Gallagher, sr. HB Oscar Benson, sr. FB Isaac Luithle, sr. WR Gavin Wright, sr. WR Carson Henningsgard, sr. TE Landen Reed, sr. LT Joey Camrud, jr. LG Cody Huot, sr. C Mason Richter, sr. RG Zach Nelson, jr. RT Kaden Pastian.
Burros’ starting defense: DE Camrud, DE Reed, NG Richter, OLB Benson, OLB jr. Luke Dryburgh, MLB Pastian, MLB Luithle, CB Wright, CB sr. Ezra Longthorne, S Henningsgard, S jr. Sam Preston.
Rushing leaders: Benson 142-969, 15 TDs; Gallagher 81-383, 5 TDs; Longthorne 35-210, 4 TDs; Luithle 37-187, 4 TDs; soph. Gavin Mitzel 33-158, 2 TDs.
Passing leader: Gallagher 40-80-5, 734 yards, 10 TDs.
Receiving leaders: Wright 17-365, 6 TDs; Henningsgard 13-182, 2 TDs; Benson 4-133, 2 TDs; Reed 6-89, 1 TD.