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North Border's Jaxen Johnson sparks 9-man East over West at Shrine Bowl

Johnson ran for 45 yards, threw for 43 and accounted for both East touchdowns.

061922 S GFH NDSHRINE9MAN JacksonMeidinger AidenChurness01.jpg
Clearbrook-Gonvick's Aiden Churness, center, is brought down on a second quarter carry by former South Border standout Jackson Meidinger (30) and other members of the West Team during the N.D. Shrine Bowl 9-Man football game at Jerome Berg Field in Mayville on Saturday, June 18, 2022.
Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald
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MAYVILLE, N.D. — North Border's Jaxen Johnson is the reigning 6-man player of the year in North Dakota.

It turns out he remembers how to play 9-man football, too.

Johnson, a 6-foot-4 quarterback with a college commitment to play linebacker at Minnesota State Moorhead, threw for 43 yards, ran for 45 yards and had a hand in both East team touchdowns in a 14-0 win over the West in the North Dakota 9-man Shrine Bowl on Saturday at Jerome Berg Field.

With 39 seconds left in the first half, Johnson capped a scoring drive with a 15-yard out pass to Johnny Gutzmer of Wyndmere-Lidgerwood for a touchdown. The defensive back on the play attempted to jump the route, mistimed the pass and Gutzmer scored easily to make it 6-0.

061922 S GFH NDSHRINE9MAN JohnnyGutzmer RaySteiner01.jpg
Former Wyndmere Lidgerwood football player Johnny Gutzmer (2) makes a leaping reception past former Beach football player Ray Steiner near the end zone during the N.D. Shrine Bowl 9-Man matchup at Jerome Berg Field in Mayville on Saturday, June 18, 2022.
Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald

Johnson powered the East's scoring drive to start the fourth quarter, as well.

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After a West fumble, the East took advantage of a short field with a drive starting on the 35.

Johnson picked up a fourth-and-3 with a 4-yard carry early in the drive and had runs of 7 and 13 yards right after the fourth-down conversion. On second-and-goal from the 2, Johnson used his big frame to bully his way into the end zone for a two-score lead.

Johnson hit Gutzmer for the 2-point conversion for the final margin.

061922 S GFH NDSHRINE9MAN CadeStein01.jpg
Former Nelson County quarterbck Cade Stein (3) is swarmed by the West Team defense on a second quarter carry during the N.D. Shrine Bowl 9-Man football game held at Jerome Berg Field in Mayville on Saturday, June 18, 2022.
Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald

The East dominated ball control, behind the play of Johnson and Clearbrook-Gonvick running back Aiden Churness, a Minnesota all-state pick. Churness ran 19 times for 83 yards.

The West's best chance to threaten the East lead followed thanks to a 14-play drive.

But on first-and-10 from the 13, West quarterback Tucker Schneider of Napoleon-Gackle-Streeter was intercepted in the end zone by Charlie Bowman of LaMoure-Litchville-Marion.

The East was able to milk the remaining clock.

The West was led by wide receiver Dylan Rud of New Salem-Almont, who had five grabs for 46 yards.

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061922 S GFH NDSHRINE9MAN JaxenJohnson SteeleOlson01.jpg
Former North Border quarterback Jaxen Johnson fights to keep his footing after deflecting former Mohall-Lansford-Sherwood player Steele Olson (15) in the second quarter of the N.D. Shrine Bowl 9-Man fotball game at Jerome Berg Field in Mayville on Saturday, June 18, 2022.
Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald

N.D. Shrine Game
9-man

East 14,West 0

Second quarter

E – Johnny Gutzmer 15 pass from Jaxen Johnson (run failed)

Fourth quarter

E – Johnson 2 run (Gutzmer pass from Johnson)

Individual leaders

RUSHING – E: Aiden Churness 19-83, Jaxen Johnson 9-45; W: Easton Frey 7-25

PASSING – E: Johnson 3-4-0, 43 yards; W: Tucker Schneider 10-22-2, 66 yards

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RECEIVING – E: Johnny Gutzmer 3-22, Chad Parisien Jr. 1-24; W: Dylan Rud 5-46

061922 S GFH NDSHRINE9MAN AidenChurness01.jpg
Former Clearbrook-Gonvick tight end Aiden Churness, center, busts through the West Team defensive line on a second quarter carry during the N.D. Shrine Bowl 9-Man football game at Jerome Berg Field in Mayville on Saturday, June 18, 2022.
Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald

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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