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Tom Mix, Published October 27 2012

Shanley advances to the 2A football semifinals with win over Rugby

FARGO – It is how well a football team finishes in the postseason that often determines whether it fails or succeeds.

Fargo Shanley put together a strong finish after a sluggish opening quarter in a 46-20 win over Rugby on Saturday during the North Dakota Class 2A state quarterfinals at Sid Cichy Stadium.

West Region, No. 4-seeded Rugby outscored the No. 1-ranked Deacons 14-0 in the first quarter. Shanley recovered to score the next 40 points of the game to clinch the win.

“We probably needed that start to wake us up a little bit and realize it was the playoffs,” Shanley junior quarterback Chase Montplaisir said. “After we realized that, we got rolling. The snow started coming, but I thought we responded well and Danny (Stasch) had a big game.”

Stasch totaled 126 yards on 22 carries and scored five touchdowns for the Deacons (8-2). Shanley hosts West Region, No. 2-seeded Beulah at 2:30 p.m. Saturday in the semifinals.

Rugby jumped out to its early lead when sophomore quarterback Bradley Heidlebaugh connected with Chris Hamilton for a 24-yard touchdown on its first drive. The Panthers second drive ended with Heidlebaugh throwing a 40-yard touchdown strike to Kyle Lovcik.

Heidlebaugh was 8 of 17 passing for 135 yards and was a perfect 6-for-6 to start the game.

“We finished pretty well,” Fargo Shanley head coach Rod Oksendahl said. “We didn’t start very well. … Our kids hung in there and persevered through the 14-0 first quarter. We outscored them 46-6 after that. They could have folded the tent there, but they didn’t.”

The Panthers finish the season 5-5. After Rugby dominated the first quarter, costly mistakes started to pile up.

On its third drive, the Panthers had a punt attempt blocked giving Shanley the ball in the red zone. The Deacons cashed in with a 1-yard touchdown by Stasch six plays later.

Rugby had four more drives in the first half, which resulted in three punts and interception.

“We got a little momentum at the beginning,” Rugby head coach Scott Grochow said. “We had the blocked punt and a couple things go against us. Our youth started to show through and then they got the momentum. They are a good team. We just couldn’t get the momentum back.”

Montplaisir finished 12 of 21 passing for 229 yards and two touchdowns, including one for 51 yards to Kelvin Caga.

R 14 0 0 6–20

FS 0 20 20 6–46

R–Hamilton 24 pass from Heidlebaugh (Heidlebaugh kick)

R–Lovcik 40 pass from Heidlebaugh (Heidlebaugh kick)

S–Stasch 1 run (Strom kick)

S–Caga 51 pass from Montplaisir (Strom kick)

S–Stasch 5 run (kick failed)

S–Stasch 21 run (Strom kick)

S–Stasch 6 run (Strom kick)

S–Stasch 14 run (kick failed)

R–Lovcik 42 run (kick failed)

S–Arnold 22 pass from Montplaisir (kick failed)


RUSHING: R, Lovcik 18-62, Heidlebaugh 11-(34), Halvorson 1-0, Koenig 2-3. S, Stasch 22-126, Fort 2-(-5), Conner 3-6, Simon 9-44, Montplaisir 1-(-5), Burd 1-4, Arnold 1-6, Hettenbaugh 1-1, Laske 1-14, Indergaard 1-3, Erholtz 1-2, Klieman 2-2.

PASSING: R, Heidlebaugh 8-17-1–135. S, Montplaisir 12-21-1–229.

RECEIVING: R, Michels 2-26, Hamilton 1-24, Koenig 1-17, Miller 1-15, Lovcik 3-54. S, Arnold 3-61, Caga 2-92, Stasch 2-23, Simon 2-21, Laske 1-18, Fort 1-2, Meyer 1-12.

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