Tom Mix, Published November 03 2012
Fargo Shanley defeats Beulah in Class 2A football semifinals
The Deacons outlasted Beulah to take a 27-14 victory in the North Dakota Class 2A state semifinals on Saturday at Sid Cichy Stadium.
The win sets up a rematch of last season’s 2A state final. No. 1-ranked Shanley plays Grafton in the championship game at 3 p.m. Friday at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks.
It’s a destination the Deacons wanted to return to after falling to the Spoil-ers a year ago.
“We had a saying at the beginning of the season called ‘Project Alerus,’ ” said junior running back Peter Simon. “We have been reiterating that all season long and it feels good to be going back there.”
Shanley topped the No. 3-ranked Miners despite committing three turnovers and losing the services of standout sophomore running back Danny Stasch in the second quarter after going down with an ankle injury.
Beulah scored first when senior running back Mark Muscha capped off a 10-play drive with a 4-yard touchdown run. The Miners’ drive was set up when Patrick Becker inter-cepted a pass from Shanley quarterback Chase Montplaisir on a fourth-and-4 at Beulah 6-yard line.
Shanley scored on its next drive when senior Josh Berg punched in a 1-yard touchdown with 37 seconds left in the first quarter.
After Stasch left the game, Shanley found its offense from a variety of sources. Simon and senior Joe Laske filled the run-ning game void.
Simon led all rushers with 115 yards on 18 carries. Laske added 33 yards on the ground and scored a 9-yard touchdown on Shanley’s second pos-session of the second half.
“Peter (Simon) stepped up big time for us in the second half,” Shanley head coach Rod Oksendahl said. “It definitely was a team effort. There were a lot of guys picking up their game and picking up the slack after we lost Danny.”
Oksendahl said that he was told by the trainers that Stasch was done for the game soon after his injury. Stasch’s injury will be evaluated next week.
The game took a bounce the Miners’ way early in the fourth quarter when Shanley punter Patrick Strom was unable catch a high snap. Strom smoth-ered the errant snap at the Deacons 22-yard line.
One play later Beulah’s Trevor Zacher found Brett Koch wide open for a touchdown. After a suc-cessful 2-point conversion, Shanley’s lead dwindled to 20-16.
A lost fumble by Simon on the Deacons’ ensuing drive gave the Miners the ball back at their 49.
Beulah drove as far as the Deacons’ 24 before Zacher had a pass inter-cepted by Grady Meyer, who had two picks on the day.
Shanley drove 99 yards and scored on a 36-yard touchdown reception by Dan Arnold.
“We saw that their cor-nerback was playing way up,” Oksendahl said. “It is pretty hard to catch Dan when he is in the open field. We knew it was there and it was just a matter of timing it right. He was wide open.”
B 6 0 0 8–14
S 7 3 10 7–27
B–Muscha 4 run (pass failed)
S–Berg 1 run (Strom kick)
S–Strom 20 field goal
S–Laske 9 run (Strom kick)
S–Strom 34 field goal
B–Koch 22 pass from Zacher (Nelson pass from Zacher)
S–Arnold 36 pass from Montplaisir (Strom kick)
RUSHING: B, Muscha 6-16, Hintz 9-17, Zacher 4-6, Nelson 3-16. S, Stasch 14-53, Simon 18-115, Laske 7-33, J. Berg 3-3, Arnold 1-5, Montplaisir 1-(minus 4), Conner (1-minus 2), Fort 1-34, Team 1-(minus 1).
PASSING: B, Zacher 8-22-4–123. S, Montplaisir, 16-24-2–236.
RECEIVING: B, Nelson 5-98, Hintz 2-3, Koch 1-22. S, Arnold 4-118, Simon 1-3, Meyer 3-26, Laske 5-69, McGovern 1-15, Fort 1-5.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Tom Mix at (701) 241-5562