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Tom Mix, Published August 28 2013

Fargo Shanley football preview

Fargo Shanley’s season began with a loss to Fargo Davies and ended with a

14-8 win over Grafton in the North Dakota Class 2A state championship game.

The victory over the Spoilers marked Shanley’s 23rd state title and third 2A championship in the last four years.

A balanced offensive attack keyed the Deacons’ success in 2012.

“We were able to mix it up with the running and passing game,” Shanley head coach Rod Oksendahl said. “That’s what we were able to do last year, and that was a big reason for the numbers we put up and the success we had.”

Quarterback Chase Montplaisir stepped into a starting role and flourished, finishing with 2,571 passing yards and 26 touchdowns.

Shanley’s backfield was led by sophomore Danny Stasch and senior Joe Laske. Stasch rushed for 1,435 yards and 18 touchdowns.

Transfer wide receiver/linebacker Dan Arnold made an immediate impact on both sides of the ball.

Arnold caught 48 passes for 1,211 yards and 16 touchdowns.

“We had the ability to throw the ball, and that’s not always easy in high school football,” Oksendahl said. “We were able to throw the ball to a very good group of receivers with a kid (Montplaisir) that we found out as the year went along was a pretty good thrower.”

Shanley outscored its opponents 385-167. Other than its loss to Davies in the opener, Shanley’s only other loss came on the road to Central Cass.

The Deacons won home playoff games against Rugby and Beulah prior to clinching their fourth straight trip to the Dakota Bowl since joining Class 2A in 2009.

Joe Berg, Brett Hettenbaugh, Arnold, Montplaisir and Stasch all earned all-state first team honors. Senior Grady Meyer was an all-state second team selection.

Outlook

Despite returning a healthy number of players from last season’s Class 2A championship team, the Deacons aren’t counting on that to mean an automatic trip to the playoffs.

Shanley’s all-state running back (Stasch) and quarterback (Montplaisir) highlight the lengthy list of returners who are eager to play their way to a deep run into November.

“We have a lot of people coming back, but that doesn’t mean a lot,” Oksendahl said. “We still have to go out every week and play. Our kids understand that. They know what is at stake and I think they’ll do well.”

An area that Shanley needed to fortify in the offseason was the offensive line.

“That was the biggest concern heading into camp, but I think we have done a good job there,” Oksendahl said of Shanley’s front five. “We feel we are good up front, and in the backfield we are five or six guys deep.”

The Deacons lose Arnold on offense, but Oksendahl said he feels several players are ready to step up and contribute to the receiving game.

Shanley’s running attack will be led by Stasch, a

6-foot junior, along with senior Peter Simon.

“Offensively, things are starting to come around for us,” Oksendahl said.

Players to watch

Danny Stasch, Jr., RB/LB

Chase Montplaisir, Sr., QB

Trey Fort, Jr., WR/DB

Peter Simon, Sr., RB/LB

Blake McGovern, Sr., RB/WR

Nick Kjera, Jr., OL/DL

Aaron Bubach, Jr., OL/DL

Patrick Strom, Sr., P/K