Runner-up Cavalier lands five on North Dakota 9-man all-state football team

Cavalier players Daniel Hinkle, Brannin Cleem and Brodie Cluchie celebrate Cleem's touchdown in the second half Saturday against Beach. Photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

For the second year in a row, the Cavalier 9-man high school football team suffered its only loss in the North Dakota state championship game.

That strong Tornadoes program was reflected in the release of the North Dakota 9-man all-state football team on Sunday, with five players receiving honors.

Senior quarterback Brannin Cleem was a first-team offensive pick, as was senior offensive lineman Daniel Hinkle.

Senior Andre LeTexier was a first-team choice on the defensive line, while sophomore running backs Jacob Steele and Landon Carter were selected to the second team, where positions aren’t designated.

Cavalier coach Sandy Laxdal, who said he will retire after the 2020 season, was named the 9-man Coach of the Year.


Cleem, a first-year starter at quarterback, finished the year with 204 rushes for 1,434 yards and 31 touchdowns. Through the air, he was 95-for-130 for 1,235 yards and 15 touchdowns.

Hinkle paved the way for a rushing attack that averaged 309 yards per game. On defense, he had 69 tackles, four sacks and six tackles for loss.

LeTexier had 101 tackles, five sacks and 21 tackles for loss.

Steele had 130 carries for 949 yards and nine touchdowns, while Carter had 67 carries for 553 yards and nine touchdowns. In the passing game, Carter had 27 grabs for 458 yards and six touchdowns.

Other area selections:

Sawyer Satrom, May-Port-C-G: After receiving first-team all-state honors as a defensive back in 2019, the 6-foot-2 dual-threat quarterback was a first-team offensive pick as he ran 118 times for 1,100 yards and 21 touchdowns. Through the air, he was 73-for-134 for 1,260 yards and 15 touchdowns.

Logan Krueger, May-Port-C-G: The 5-foot-10 wide receiver-cornerback was a second-team selection with 21 catches for 575 yards and seven touchdowns.

Jaden Lee, North Border: The 6-foot-4 first-team defensive pick rushed 179 times for 1,166 yards for an average of 6.5 yards per carry and 116.6 yards per game. He added 12 touchdowns. The cornerback also had 60 tackles, 18 pass breakups, four interceptions and returned one pick for a score.

Jaxen Johnson, North Border: The 6-foot-4 first-team defensive pick had 10 catches for 205 yards and three touchdowns. On defense, he had 109 tackles, four sacks, four interceptions and two defensive touchdowns.


Hunter Gronneberg, Griggs County-Midkota: The 5-foot-10 linebacker was a first-team defensive pick as he had 69 solo tackles, three sacks, seven tackles for loss, six forced fumbles and an interception he returned for a touchdown. At fullback, he carried 185 times for 1,120 yards. He scored 22 touchdowns (15 rushing, three receiving, three on kicks and one on defense). He led an offense that scored 28 points per game -- the program’s second-most since 1990.

Xavier Mitchell, North Prairie: The 5-foot-10 senior running back, who was an all-state second team pick in 2019, was a first-team choice on offense this season after rushing for 1,472 yards on 151 carries and 16 touchdowns. In the passing game, he had 17 catches for 451 yards and five scores. As a linebacker on defense, Mitchell made 54 tackles and grabbed five interceptions.

Ethan McGillis, St. John: The 6-foot running back was a second-team choice as he carried 119 times for 1,231 yards and 17 touchdowns.

Michael Dunn, St. John: The 6-foot-1 quarterback was a second-team pick as he ran 71 times for 508 yards and eight touchdowns, while throwing for 697 yards (37-for-65) and nine touchdowns.

N.D. 9-man All-state

First team offense

Quarterbacks -- sr. Brannin Cleem, Cavalier, sr. Lucas Schumacher, Linton-H-M-B, sr. Sawyer Satrom, Mayville-P-C-G

Running backs -- sr. Trey Jacob, Linton-H-M-B, sr. Brett Wendel, LaMoure-Litchville-Marion, sr. Xavier Mitchell, North Prairie, sr. Payton Cauthon, Kidder County

Tight end -- soph. Colton Ness, LaMoure-Litchville-Marion


Offensive line -- sr. Daniel Hinkle, Cavalier, sr. Caleb Nelson, Divide County

First team defense

Defensive line -- sr. Blake VanHorn, Beach, jr. Christopher Jenner, Surrey, sr. Andre LeTexier, Cavalier, sr. Jon Bogert, Grant County-Flasher

Linebackers -- sr. Noah Schroeder, Ray-Powers Lake, jr. Jaxen Johnson, North Border, sr. Preston Bohnenstingl, Wyndmere-Lidgerwood, sr. Hunter Gronneberg, Griggs County-Midkota

Defensive backs -- sr. Cy Luna, Towner-Granville-Upham, sr. Jaden Lee, North Border, sr. Jonah Harter, Kidder County

Second team

No positions designated

Tri-State -- sr. Derick Carl, sr. Brandon Gruenwald


Wyndmere-Lidgerwood -- jr. Tate Jerdee

LaMoure-Litchville-Marion -- soph. Garrett Hebl

May-Port-C-G -- sr. Logan Krueger

Cavalier -- soph. Jacob Steele, soph. Landon Carter

St. John -- sr. Ethan McGillis, sr. Michael Dunn

New Rockford-Sheyenne -- sr. Hunter Johnson

Ray-Powers Lake -- sr. Noah Frederickson

Divide County -- soph. Wyatt Caraballo


Surrey -- jr. Randall Polum

Towner-Granville-Upham -- sr. Cody Frounfelter

Beach -- sr. Tyson Mattern

Napoleon-Gackle-Streeter -- jr. Tucker Schneider

Grant County-Flasher -- jr. Jace Friesz

Mott-Regent -- sr. Sam Huether

Linton-H-M-B -- sr. Nathan Schatz, jr. Dean Vetter

Kidder County -- sr. Blake Pfaff, sr. Tristan Patzner


Outstanding Senior Athlete of the Year

Lucas Schumacher, Linton-H-M-B

Coach of the Year

Sandy Laxdal, Cavalier

Miller has covered sports at the Grand Forks Herald since 2004 and was the state sportswriter of the year in 2019 and 2022.

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, or on Twitter at @tommillergf.
What To Read Next
Get Local