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Eric Peterson, Published November 08 2013

St. Mary's eliminates Deacons in Class 2A football semifinals

FARGO – Bismarck St. Mary’s linebacker Noah Krebs was still trying to absorb reality just moments after his team rallied for victory Friday night.

“I’m still not processing it,” Krebs said. “I’m dreaming right now.”

Krebs made a dream defensive play in the final two minutes that helped the Saints rally for a 12-10 victory against Fargo Shanley in the North Dakota, Class 2A state football semifinals at Sid Cichy Stadium.

“There was a lot of doubt,” Krebs said. “Honestly, we thought it was over. I knew the team needed a spark, and I just didn’t know it would come from me.”

Krebs forced and recovered a fumble that set up the game-winning St. Mary’s touchdown, which came with 34 seconds to play. Shanley (9-2) had its nine-game winning streak snapped and missed a chance to advance to the state title game for a fifth consecutive year. St. Mary’s (10-1) beat the Deacons twice this season.

“It’s been a crazy four years,” Shanley senior quarterback Chase Montplaisir said of his prep career. “This senior class has had a lot of success. I couldn’t have asked for anything more in my time here. I can’t complain, really. This was quite a ride.”

With less than two minutes remaining, Shanley held a 10-6 lead and the ball at the St. Mary’s 45-yard line when Krebs made his big play. On second-and-13, the Deacons ran a quick pitch to junior Tre Fort. Krebs exploded into the Shanley backfield and hit Fort as he was catching the pitch near midfield. The ball came loose and Krebs scooped it up and then returned it to the Shanley 30-yard line.

“It’s a great play by their kid,” Shanley head coach Rod Oksendahl said. “They played the play very well and probably a play we shouldn’t have been running at the time.”

St. Mary’s started the ensuing possession with 1 minute, 51 seconds left. The Saints got a key fourth-and-5 conversion with a little less than a minute to play. Junior quarterback Gus Smrekar completed a 9-yard pass to senior Brian Obritsch to move the ball to the 1-yard line. One play later, Jacob Heinert scored on a run to give the Saints a 12-10 lead with 34 seconds remaining.

“I saw him go in, and I went crazy,” Krebs said.

Shanley moved the ball past midfield in the closing seconds. The Deacons faced a second-and-15 from the St. Mary’s 47 with 8 seconds to play. Montplaisir heaved the ball to the end zone, but Obritsch intercepted the pass near the goal line on the game’s final play.

“You just chuck it up,” Montplaisir said. “It wasn’t meant to be.”

The Deacons scored the first 10 points in the second half and took a 10-6 lead with 10:21 remaining after Dusty Stasch scored on a 3-yard touchdown run. Shanley’s defense controlled play for most of the second half. The Saints didn’t get their first, first down of the second half until less than 6 minutes to play in the fourth quarter.

Shanley finished with five turnovers, including three in the final 2:08 of the fourth quarter.

“It was just one too many balls that didn’t bounce our way today,” Montplaisir said. “We shot ourselves in the foot a lot. It’s tough to swallow, but now you can’t do anything about it. We can’t go back. We will deal with it and move on.”

St. Mary’s advanced to its first state championship game since 1995.

“To St. Mary’s, this means the world,” Krebs said.

Shanley finished with 261 yards, while limiting St. Mary’s to 122 yards.

“We couldn’t have asked for a better effort from our kids in the second half,” Oksendahl said. “Our kids hung in there and played liked champions. Give credit to St. Mary’s. We felt we had things going until the last couple minutes.”

SM 0 6 0 6–12

SH 0 0 3 7–10

SM-Obritsch 17 pass from Smrekar (kick blocked)

SH-Strom 27 FG

SH-Stasch 3 run (Strom kick)

SM-Heinert 1 run (kick failed)

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING: SM, Heinert 15-59, Krebs 2-7, Smrekar 10-(-2), Reiner 1-(-6). SH, Stasch 29-127, Fort 14-26, Simon 4-18, Conner 1-5, Berg 2-3, Montplaisir 4-(-2), Team 1-(-1).

PASSING: SM, Smrekar 6-18-1 64 yards, Reiner 0-1-1 0. SH, Montplaisir 6-16-2 85.

RECEIVING: SM, Obritsch 4-35, Reiner 2-29. SH, Fort 2-34, Berg 3-26, Simon 1-25.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.

Peterson’s blog can be found at peterson.areavoices.com