Playing at 160 to 170 pounds, Tyler Sadowsky was an economy-sized Class AAA inside linebacker during his football days at Mandan High School.

However, the 2013 Mandan graduate packed the wallop of a Mack truck.

Many an opposing ball carrier can attest to that.

Mandan football coach Todd Sheldon said Sadowsky’s jarring stops over the past two seasons would make for one lengthy highlight reel.

“Tyler always had a nose for the football, and when he hit somebody he wanted to make sure it wasn’t going to be a pleasant experience for that ball carrier,” Sheldon said. “He made so many hits that made you step back and say, ‘Wow!’ Tyler’s a linebacker through and through. He plays the position with so much energy and so much emotion. He’s the kind of kid every coach would want on his team.”

Sadowsky impressed many during his two-year stint as a starter with the Braves, enough to garner first-team all-state honors in 2011 and 2012 and be selected to play in today’s Shrine Bowl 11-man all-star game at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks. Sadowsky is a member of the West all-stars.

The 11-man game begins at 4 p.m., followed by the 9-man game.

Sadowsky played in the Badlands Bowl in Miles City, Mont., last month and is looking forward to another all-star outing.

“It’s a great feeling being in these types of games. Everybody around you is an all-star and really competitive,” Sadowsky said. “It’s always a lot of fun going up against the best. That brings out the best in you.”

Sadowsky has always been on the small side, but Sheldon said his heart, determination and instincts made him a giant among Class AAA linebackers.

“I haven’t seen many high school football players with hearts bigger than Tyler’s. He absolutely loves the game of football and he puts everything he has into it,” Sheldon said. “He’s such an aggressive player, and he’s a smart player ... he reads things so well. He was a tremendous leader for us ... the other kids really looked up to him. He’s definitely going to be missed.”

Sadowsky was in on a combined 18 stops (assisted and unassisted) per game.

“That’s an impressive number,” Sheldon said. “What makes that even more impressive is the fact that opposing teams focused so much on him. Still, he made the stops.”

Sadowsky first began playing linebacker when he was in third grade, and immediately took to the position.

“I like everything about it,” Sadowsky said. “You’re able to move around, see things develop, and make plays. And of course, I love the contact.”

In 2011, Sadowsky was a key figure in Mandan’s most successful football season in years. The Braves advanced to the state semifinals, where they lost a heart-breaker to eventual state champion Bismarck High on a last-second field goal. Mandan defeated the Demons during the regular season and finished in a three-way tie for first place in the West Region.

“That year was definitely the highlight for me. Mandan was pretty excited about its football team,” Sadowsky said. “We didn’t reach our goal, but we still accomplished a lot. It was just a fun year.”

Sadowsky is taking his talents to the University of Mary. He plans to redshirt this fall and hopes to continue playing linebacker.

“I know I’m going to have to get bigger and stronger. It’s a whole different game in college,” Sadowsky said. “But I’m willing to do everything it takes to succeed at that level. I love football.”

Also on the West roster are Alex Spilman of Mandan; Brennan Doan, Deion Volk and Jared Fischer, all of Century; Brett Schreiner and Zach Hruby of Southern McLean; Brock Pittsley and Konner Chinn of Killdeer; Cody Nelson and Karson Hintz of Beulah; Cole Hecker and Seth Ewoniuk of Heart River; Dustin Iverson of Grant County-Flasher; Isiah Binstock and Jesse Kubik of Dickinson Trinity, Kasey Dressler of Richardton-Taylor-Hebron, and Michael Maas and Stetson Carr of Hazen.

The East roster includes Clay Jacob of Linton-HMB.

Shrine Bowl Rosters

West

Abe Roehrich and Blake Harstad, Stanley-Powers Lake. Alec Steig, Dickinson. Alex Haaland, Williston. Alex Spillman and Tyler Sadowsky, Mandan. Brennan Doan, Deion Volk and Jared Fischer, Century. Brett Schreiner and Zach Hruby, Southern McLean. Brock Pittsley and Konner Chinn, Killdeer. Bryan Doerr and Tanner Gust, Minot. Casey Murphy, Cordell Schroeder and Tysen Rosenau, Carrington. Chase Fugere and Isaac Tagelmyer, Minot Ryan. Cody Nelson and Karson Hintz, Beulah. Cole Hecker and Seth Ewoniuk, Heart River. Dustin Iverson, Grant County-Flasher. Isiah Binstock and Jesse Kubik, Dickinson Trinity. Jake Pavek, Mahnomen (Minn.). Josh Edlund, Crookston (Minn.). Josh Michels and Kris Leier, Rugby. Kasey Dressler, Richardton-Taylor-Hebron. Keenan Holdenfield, Williams County. Logan Gunderson, Lewis & Clark-Our Redeemer’s. Matt Schindler, Red Lake County (Minn.). Michael Maas and Stetson Carr, Hazen. Taylor Barstad, Velva. Trevor Wettlaufer, Bottineau.

Head coach: Brad Borkhuis, Minot Ryan.

Assistants: Jim Dooley, Beulah. Lou Dobitz, Killdeer. Jason Simpfenderfer, Beulah.

East

Andrew Brown, Detroit Lakes (Minn.). Austin Wicklund, Josh Verghis, Trevor Raymond, and Zach Reich, Fargo South. Austin Winnegge and Colter Pritchard, Langdon. Brody Mertz, Caleb Mattila, and Drew Johnson, West Fargo. Chad Jelinek, Park River. Chase Johnson and Shane Ebertz, Devils Lake. Christian Lunde and Zach Peterson, Grafton. Clay Jacob, Linton-HMB. Eric Peterson, Fargo Davies. Jeremiah Goodman and Matt Connelly, Fargo North. Karlic Hancock, Westhope-Newburg-Glenburn. Loren Bothun, Grand Forks Red River. Martin Ausk and Ross Radermacher, Central Cass. Michael Waltz, Kindred. Nathan Mangin, Lisbon. Nick Erickson and Skyler Schroder, East Grand Forks (Minn.). Nick Schmitz, Midway-Minto. P.J. Peterson and Wyatt Morton, Larimore. Ryan Ust, Mayville-Portland-Clifford-Galesburg. Rylie Devier, Grand Forks Central. Steven Horner and Tayler Lentz, Valley City. Trent Ptacek, Oakes. Trevor Anderson, Griggs-Barnes County. Tyler Ringdahl, Wahpeton. Zach Drevlow, Milnor-North Sargent.

Head coach: Josh Krivarchka, Langdon.

Assistants: Paul Peterson, Larimore. Patrick Metzger, Central Cass.

Reach reporter Mike Weber at  701-355-8839 or mike.weber@bismarcktribune.com.