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Devils Lake RB ready for 'the big boys' at Shrine Bowl

MAYVILLE (FNS) — The last time Joey Hornstein played against a large-school, Class AAA football program, he was a sophomore and a reserve running back for Devils Lake.

That was three seasons ago. And, after back-to-back all-state seasons, the Devils Lake High School product is looking forward to a chance to again go against the big schools, this time in the North Dakota Shrine Bowl.

The annual games will be played today at Cushman Field, with the 11-man game at 4 p.m. followed by the 9-man game. The Shrine Bowl matches standout seniors in the 2018 season from eastern North Dakota against their western counterparts, with some players from western Minnesota added to all four rosters.

Hornstein will be on the 11-man West team, a mix of players from the Class AAA, AA and A ranks. Devils Lake played in the Class AA division each of the past two seasons.

“It will be fun to get out and see what it’s like playing against the big boys again,” Hornstein said.

“I want to prove that AA players can play with the big boys, the AAA boys. You’re here playing with the best of the best in the state. I feel I have the same style as our other running back. We’re both tall, not built big, and we’re quick.”

Last fall, Hornstein became the first Devils Lake player since John Traynor in 2010 to earn back-to-back first team all-state honors.

He’s been a 1,000-yard rusher each of the past two seasons — 1,087 yards as a senior (4.9 per-carry average, 108.7 per game) and 1,172 as a junior (5.7 per carry, 106.5 per game).

Jake Wateland, the Devils Lake coach and an assistant on the West 11-man team, isn’t surprised that Hornstein looks at the Shrine Bowl as a challenge.

“There’s always incentive to show you’re the best and can compete with the best,” Wateland said. “(Hornstein) looks like a wide receiver, tall and thin. But he’s a physical runner. He’s actually a better runner working inside. But he has the speed and moves to be a good outside runner, too.”

Here are players to watch on the four Shrine teams today:

East 11-man: East coach Josh Krivarchka is known for his wide-open, passing style on his Class A 11-man champion Langdon-Edmore-Munich team. “I like to throw,” Krivarchka said. “But we’re really big up front. We have to utilize our size and run the ball, too.” Jesse Forknell (Fargo Davies) and Jonah Lietz (Central Cass) will share quarterbacking duties. Braeden Knutson (Central Cass) will be the primary ballcarrier. Top receivers figure to be Josh Martinson (Milnor-North Sargent), Jacob Halverson (Central Cass) and Dawson Weisenberger (Fargo South). Adam Zavalney (Park River/F-L) will be used as a weapon in wildcat formations.

West 11-man: Bismarck High was Class AAA state champion and Demons coach Mark Gibson will rely heavily on players from his team. That group includes quarterback Will Madler, receiver Matt Trolliey and Izzy Olsen sharing carries with Hornstein in the backfield. Jamestown’s Marcus Hochhalter and Bismarck’s Chase Dockter anchor the line units.

9-man East: Running the offense will be Reese Hanson (Mayville-Portland-CG) and Teddy Allmaras (New Rockford-Sheyenne) splitting time at quarterback. There’s depth at the receiver positions in Marcus Hughes (Thompson), Hunter Lentz (Richland), Conley Carrier (Cavalier), Jayden Laxdal (Cavalier) and Isaac Durand (Stephen-Argyle). The primary ballcarriers will be Nick Reck (Thompson) and Shay Ness (LaMoure-Litchville-Marion).

9-man West: Evan Henke (New Salem-Almont-Glen Ullin) gives the team a strong run/pass combination at quarterback. His primary receivers will be the athletic Ethan Dorman (Clearbrook-Gonvick) and Keaton Nelson (Benson County). Braden Zuroff (New Salem-A-GU), a speed/power combo runner, and power back Shayden Luna (Towner-Granville-Upham) head the running game.