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Tom Mix, Published November 01 2012

Arnold's arrival proves to be a big haul for Shanley football team

Fargo - Fargo Shanley senior wide receiver Dan Arnold has played like a seasoned veteran of the Deacons football program this fall.

However, Arnold’s official time spent on the Shanley varsity is only three months.

The 6-foot-5 standout transferred from Boylan Catholic (Rockford, Ill.) this summer after his father – Luke Arnold – accepted a job at Moore Engineering in West Fargo.

The move meant Arnold – a member of Boylan’s 2011 Illinois Class 7A state championship team – would end his prep football career at an entirely new school.

“Transferring was really tough,” Arnold said. “It is probably the hardest thing I have ever done, but coming to Shanley has been fantastic. I have really acclimated myself well. All the guys have been really great and helped me transition.”

Change has been good for Arnold, who has caught at least one touchdown in eight of Shanley’s 10 games this season. He also has a chance to get back to a state championship game this weekend.

The No. 1-ranked Deacons host Beulah in the North Dakota Class 2A semifinals at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Sid Cichy Stadium.

“He has been a very pleasant surprise,” Shanley head coach Rod Oksendahl said. “We did not know what we were getting when we got Dan. We could see in the summer workouts that he was going to be a special player for us, and he certainly has been that.”

Arnold eclipsed the 1,000 receiving yards mark this season, catching three passes for 61 yards and a touchdown in Shanley’s

46-20 win over Rugby in the quarterfinals last week.

He’s averaging 100.1 receiving yards per game and 25 yards per catch this season.

“He is somebody the other team has to pay attention to,” Oksendahl said. “That has made a difference in our offense. It has made the other guys in our passing game better, because they have to spend so much time on what he is doing. It certainly has opened up our running game a little bit as well.”

Arnold and junior starting quarterback Chase Montplaisir have connected 13 times for touchdowns.

“You get a guy coming in at

6-foot-5 and matchup-wise, with any defensive back, you are not going to see any 6-5 defensive backs,” Montplaisir said. “You always have a mismatch with him no matter who he is on.

“If you put it up high, he is going to come down with it. He is long, he can jump high and his threat (as a receiver) is one of the best.”

Arnold, who is considering playing football at the college level, said the play of sophomore running back Danny Stasch has led to many of the Deacons big play-action passes.

When those big plays have presented themselves, Montplaisir and Arnold have taken full advantage.

“Most of it is just trust,” Arnold said. “You have to go as fast as you can and try to get behind the defenders. You have to trust that he is going to put the ball right where you need it.”

Arnold’s services have not been limited to offense. He also starts on defense playing primarily at linebacker.

He played both sides of the ball at Boylan Catholic as well and said defense was where he started getting playing time his freshman and sophomore seasons. A growth spurt led to him giving wide receiver a shot.

“He is not only playing two ways, but he is playing two to three positions for us on defense,” Oksendahl said. “We have had him at defensive end and we have had him at outside linebacker and he has played every one of the positions very well.

“He has not complained a bit. We ask him to do this and he does it. We are very pleased with how we have accepted him and how he has accepted us.”

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