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Tom Mix, Published September 21 2012

No. 1 Deacons shine in fourth quarter of victory

WAHPETON, N.D. – Four weeks ago, Fargo Shanley saw a comfortable halftime lead slip away in its season-opening loss to Fargo Davies.

Deacons head coach Rod Oksendahl has preached the importance of playing a full four quarters ever since. And on Friday, the Deacons needed a big fourth quarter to earn a victory on the road.

Shanley defeated Wahpeton 34-20 in North Dakota Class 2A football at Skip Bute Alumni Stadium.

The No. 1 Deacons led 20-6 at halftime – just as they had in the loss to Davies – but the

No. 3 Huskies tied the game with two scoring drives in the third quarter.

“We had a game earlier this year with the same score at halftime 20-6 and we blew that,” Oksendahl said. “There was some fear of that happening in the third quarter with the way we came out. They came out strong and we were reeling.”

Wahpeton opened the second half with a nine-play drive that was capped by a 12-yard touchdown run by Tyler Gripentrog. Gripentrog ran for a 2-point conversion to cut the Deacons’ lead to 20-14.

The Huskies’ defense then forced the Deacons to punt on their next series and then proceeded to rattle off another eight-play scoring drive, this time highlighted by a 7-yard touchdown by Brock Lingen. A 2-point run was no good, making the score 20-20 heading into the fourth quarter, which belonged to Shanley.

Shanley’s offense – led by junior quarterback Chase Montplaisir – came alive in the final quarter, first with a 11-play drive that ended with sophomore running back Danny Stasch running for a 4-yard touchdown.

Then came the home run play when Montplaisir hooked up with senior wide receiver Dan Arnold for a 68-yard touchdown. Stasch ran in the 2-point conversion, and the Huskies never answered.

“We kind of got roughed up in the third quarter, but we started to make some plays in the fourth,” said Arnold, who finished with 146 yards receiving and two touchdowns.

Montplaisir said he thought the big play to Arnold might be there and gave it a shot.

“It comes off of a run play,” said Montplaisir, who was 10 of 16 passing for 223 yards and three touchdowns. “When you run it enough, the play action is going to be there. I thought it was a good call, and when we get that kind of protection, that play is going to work every time.”

The fourth-quarter play of the Deacons was to Oksendahl’s liking.

“The big pass to Dan, that really made the difference,” Oksendahl said. “That was a game breaker, and we a good drive set up our first score of the second half. I thought those two things really showed our character of our kids. We could have wilted and we didn’t.”

Stasch totaled 150 yards on 27 carries and two touchdowns to lead the Deacons (4-1, 3-0 East Region) on the ground.

Wahpeton (4-1, 2-1) was paced by Alex Lunneborg, who rushed for 102 yards on 12 carries. Lingen totaled 85 yards rushing and two touchdowns

“We came out and challenged them in the second half after being down two scores at halftime,” Wahpeton head coach Brian Dokken said. “Their big plays in the fourth quarter are what hurt us.”

S 7 13 0 14– 34

W 0 6 14 0 – 20

S–Stasch 2 run (Strom kick)

W–Lingen 25 run (run failed)

S–Caga 7 pass from Montplaisir (pass failed)

S–Arnold 25 pass from Montplaisir (Strom kick)

W–Gripentrog 12 run (Gripentrog run)

W–Lingen 7 run (run failed)

S–Stasch 4 run (kick failed)

S–Arnold 68 pass from Montplaisir (Stasch run)

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING: S, Stasch 27-150, Laske 3-25, Simon 8-36, Montplaisir 3-14. W, Gripentrog 18-63, Lingen 20-85, Lunneborg 12-102.

PASSING: S, Montplaisir 10-16-0–223. W, Lunneborg 0-8-0–0.

RECEIVING: S, Arnold 4-146, Fort 3-64, Caga 1-7, Simon 1-4, Stasch 1-2. W, none.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Tom Mix at (701) 241-5562