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Grand Forks Herald 10 teams to watch in area high school football

The Herald selected 10 teams from the area to watch ahead of the 2022 high school football season.

KCC's Kaden Vig (88), Teddy Webster (80), and Chisum Schmiedeberg (21) celebrate their victory over BGMR with Bearcat fans Thursday at the Fargodome. Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald
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GRAND FORKS — The Herald selected 10 teams from the area to watch ahead of the 2022 high school football season.

The teams are listed in alphabetical order.

Cavalier running back Trevor Hinkle gets a little help from Jacob Steele (5) and Andre LeTexier as a MayPort/CG defender tries to tackle Hinkle. Photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

Cavalier: The Tornadoes, who finished runner-up in the 9-man state playoffs last year, have made the postseason 11 straight years.

Cavalier will have to replace starting quarterback Brysen Cleem (1,246 passing yards last year), but the Tornadoes have replaced a senior starter for many seasons now.

Sterling Enerson will step in at quarterback. The senior was a quarterback at the junior varsity level in the past. He’s a dual-threat athlete with a big arm who played some tight end last season after recovering from a sophomore injury.


The Tornadoes will be led by a pair of two-time all-state players in wide receiver Landon Carter and running back Jacob Steele.

Carter had a touchdown in all but one game last season, while Steele’s numbers will be boosted by a strong offensive line anchored by all-region honorable mention Colton Hurst.

The Tornadoes will have a unique schedule in 2022, facing off against two 11-man teams in Northern Cass and Turtle Mountain.

East Grand Forks' players cheer on Caleb Schmiedeberg as he runs down the sideline for a big gain in the first half against Pequot Lakes during Thursday's game in East Grand Forks. Photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

East Grand Forks: The Green Wave will have to replace quarterback Tanner Campos and will look to a dual-quarterback setup to start with senior Landon Woidtke and junior Drew Carpenter.

Woidtke has more of a physical running presence, while Carpenter is more of a typical passer.

East Grand Forks returns its top rushing threat in senior Caleb Schmeideberg, who had 31 carries for 367 yards and three touchdowns last season.

Schmeideberg, a tough-nosed runner, pairs with senior wide receiver Cooper Smith, who had 11 grabs for 259 yards and two touchdowns last season.

The Wave will be relatively new at offensive line, losing Spencer Egeland but returning Caleb Zejdlik.


Hillsboro Central Valley 2.jpg
Hillsboro-Central Valley quarterback Riley Olsen looks for yardage with the help of blocking from Jaime Martinez (70) and Immanuel Suhardi as Central Cass defender Myles Vance closes in during their game Friday, Aug. 20, 2021, in Hillsboro. (Korrie Wenzel/Grand Forks Herald)

Hillsboro-Central Valley: The Burros lost an incredible 22 seniors to graduation but Hillsboro-Central Valley has the kind of strong program that can rebuild quickly.

Riley Olsen at quarterback (860 passing yards and 11 touchdowns) and Cole Hebl at fullback (552 rushing yards and seven touchdowns) return as starters. In the Burros’ option offense, the quarterback-fullback comfortability is important.

The Burros will have three new offensive linemen and will be new at wide receiver and defensive back.

The anchor of the defensive line returns in all-state pick Jake Swanson, who will be asked to play on both sides of the ball this season.

The Burros also have questions at tailback, where 2021 senior Jace Leshuk (1,069 rushing yards in 2021) handled the carries a season ago.

Dylan Mitzel will move from quarterback to wide receiver-safety in hopes of filling some of the void at the outside skill positions.

LeRoy-Ostrander's Tanner Olson (50) carries the ball during a 9-Man State Football Semifinal game against Kittson County Central Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021, at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. KCC's Ozzie Meyer-Rice (7), Teddy Webster (80) and Chisum Schmiedeberg (21) defend on the play. Traci Westcott / Post Bulletin
Traci Westcott

Kittson County Central: The Bearcats reached the state semifinals a year ago and return a number of key pieces to that run.

KCC will have to replace a big cog in running back-linebacker Ozzie Meyer-Rice, but the Bearcats return his running back mate Chisum Schmiedeberg, who was an all-state pick in 2021.


Perhaps most importantly, KCC returns most of its bodies in the trenches led by Isaac Folland in the middle.

Tight end and defensive end Kaden Vig and three-year starting quarterback Braden Faken also return.

With Meyer-Rice’s absence at running back and linebacker, KCC will turn to Morgan Muir, who played extensively as a sophomore and is ready for a bigger role.

Langdon-Edmore-Munich defenders swarm to the ball to tackle Lisbon's Hunter Schultz for a loss in the first half of their game Saturday in Langdon. Photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

Langdon-E-M: The Cardinals’ 44-game winning streak came to an end in 2021 and the program bowed out of the 11B playoffs in the state quarterfinals to Kindred.

However, Langdon-Edmore-Munich will have a more experienced group in 2022 and returns a number of all-state caliber players.

Langdon-E-M quarterback Rayce Worley, who’s 6-foot-3, will be a junior now and is expected to progress from typical sophomore growing pains.

The Cardinals return three players with all-state honors in running back Carter Tetrault, defensive lineman Jack Romfo and wide receiver Marcus Kingzett.

Mason Romfo will also be a junior this year and, like Worley, is expected to make strides as he matures. After playing on the offensive line early in his career, Mason is expected to move to the slot offensively.

Nickolas Kingzett is another junior ready to make a bigger impact for the Cardinals at wide receiver and free safety.

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Polk County West running back Josh Wagner is swarmed under by Mahnomen-Waubun defenders Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018, during the Minnesota Class 1A, Section 8 football championship at the Fargodome. David Samson / Forum News Service

Mahnomen-Waubun: Mahnomen-Waubun loses some of the big names from a Section 8A title team that won nine games a year ago, but the Thunderbirds typically reload.

Fortunately, the Thunderbirds return all but one offensive lineman for a run-heavy offense. The top three returners are Kasey Wadena, Brok Spalla and Braylen Heisler.

Mahnomen-Waubun loses the experience of 2021 stars Justin Littlewolf, Will Starkey and Tanner Pazdernik. Those three started a combined 13 years, with Littlewolf and Starkey starting since the eighth grade.

In the backfield, senior Dennis Ashley will take over at quarterback for Pazdernik. Ashley, a smaller, quicker athlete, filled in some a year ago and has experience with the ball in his hands. Ashley ran 75 times for 658 yards (8.8 yards per carry) and eight touchdowns in 2021. He completed all four of his passes for 133 yards and a touchdown. He also caught nine passes for 110 yards and a touchdown.

A potential rising star is physical sophomore fullback Curtis Mehr, who started at linebacker for Mahnomen-Waubun a year ago before suffering an injury. Mehr had 16 carries for 105 yards in 2021.

Mayville-Portland-Clifford-Galesburg quarterback Sawyer Satrom looks to pass Oct. 24, in a playoff game against North Prairie in Mayville. Photo by Cole Short, Hillsboro Banner.

Mayville-Portland-Clifford-Galesburg: In May-Port-C-G’s final season as a 9-man program (the Patriots move to 11-man in 2023), the program will have experience with about 12 seniors.

May-Port-C-G also receives a boost with a first-year co-op with Finley-Sharon, landing some nice pieces, especially the addition of Xyler Carlson, the region’s leading rusher last year.

Carlson, who’s 5-foot-11 and 175 pounds, ran for 950 yards and seven touchdowns last year at Finley-Sharon-Hope-Page.

He joins all-state second team pick Ethan Bergstrom in the backfield. Bergstrom, who’s 5-9 and 155 pounds, ran for 930 yards last year.

The Patriots have 6-foot-6 all-region pick Landon Koenig back at quarterback. Koenig threw for 965 yards and seven touchdowns last year.

Thompson's Reece Berberich breaks a tackle by Grafton's Alex Ibanez in the second half of their game Friday, September 24, 2021 in Grafton. Photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

Thompson: The Tommies have a new head coach but one familiar to the program and the area in Alex Starcevic.

Thompson will look to break through this year as the Tommies will need to transition at quarterback with the graduation of Kyle Odenbach.

All-state wide receiver Jake Starcevic, the son of Alex, will be an option at quarterback, although the team will work through a few different looks behind center.

Reece Berberich returns in the backfield as a 1,000-yard rusher (1,300 total yards) from a year ago. Wide receiver-defensive back Max Roller brings speed to the mix, while sophomore Thomas Schumacher, junior Brody Gibson and sophomore Josh Juve all present athletic options.

With plenty of capable playmakers at the skill positions, the key for the Tommies will be at the line of scrimmage where Isaac McHugo, Trevin Applegren and Jacob Brend return as seniors.

Warren-Alvarado-Oslo players celebrate their 2019 MN Section 8 9-man championship Thursday at the Fargodome. Photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald


The Ponies were 6-3 last year and return a good group especially in the receiving corps.

Warren-Alvarado-Oslo used two quarterbacks a year ago when now-sophomore Kaden Pierce threw for 1,120 yards (67-for-105) and 11 touchdowns to five interceptions. Tyson Mortimer was more of the running threat, as he threw for 15 yards on five attempts but ran 110 times for 716 yards (6.5 yards per carry).

Mortimer, who’s 6-foot-3, is also one of the Ponies’ standout wide receiver trio. He caught 23 passes for 360 yards and three touchdowns.

Jackson Woinarowicz, who’s 6-5, caught 19 balls for 424 yards and seven touchdowns. Nathan Sedlacek, who’s 6-1, caught 16 passes for 219 yards and three touchdowns.

Defensively, W-A-O will need to replace conference defensive MVP in linebacker Conner Mercil.

Warroad football
Warroad quarterback Ross Merriman carries the football against Hawley in a 2017 game in Hawley, Minn. David Samson / The Forum

Warroad: Warroad will be led by returning all-section running back Gabbi Boucha, a powerful runner, and all-section offensive lineman Landon Thompson.

Boucha ran for more than 700 yards and 11 touchdowns last year for an offense that ran for roughly 1,900 yards on the season.

Boucha also caught four passes for 123 yards and a touchdown for an average of more than 30 yards per catch.

Boucha added three interceptions defensively, as well as 45.5 tackles.

The Warriors graduated quarterback Jack Jones (528 yards, 4 touchdowns, 4 interceptions) from 2021 but are excited about the potential of new signal caller Liam Grover.

Miller has covered sports at the Grand Forks Herald since 2004 and was the state sportswriter of the year in 2019.

His primary beat is UND football but also reports on a variety of UND sports and local preps.

He can be reached at (701) 780-1121, tmiller@gfherald.com or on Twitter at @tommillergf.
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