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Fargo Shanley return to the highest classification of high school football in 2019. And now the transition is complete. The Deacons are state champions again. Shanley rolled to a big win over perennial power Bismarck Century in the AA Dakota Bowl on Friday, Nov. 11. It was Shanley's first crown at the highest level since 1983. Century, meanwhile, ended quite a postseason run just a win short. The Pats were playing in their first Dakota Bowl since 2020. The team entered the playoffs as the No. 8 seed.

Photos courtesy of Jon Jablonski, WDA SID, Forum Communications, NDHSAA, Dave Samson, Lyle Ripplinger

 AA Playoffs

Oct. 28


(8) Bismarck Century 28, (1) West Fargo Sheyenne 7
(5) Fargo Davies 35,  (4) Bismarck Legacy 7

(2) Mandan 38, (7) West Fargo 18

(3) Fargo Shanley 42, (6) Minot High 14

Nov. 4


(8) Bismarck Century 12 (5) Fargo Davies 0

(3) Fargo Shanley 38, (2) Mandan 27

Nov. 11

Dakota Bowl, Fargodome

(3) Fargo Shanley 48, (8) Bismarck Century 7

 A Playoffs

Oct. 28


(1) Fargo South 38, (8) Dickinson 12

(2) Jamestown 49, (7) G.F. Central 20
(3) G.F. Red River 40, (6) Wahpeton 7

(5) Fargo North 30, (4) Valley City 28

Nov. 4


(5) Fargo North 26, (1) Fargo South 7

(2) Jamestown 27, (3) G.F. Red River 13

Nov. 11

Dakota Bowl, Fargodome

(2) Jamestown 46, (5) Fargo North 28

Team of the Week

Flying high

Jamestown gave a dominant performance to win back-to-back Class A Dakota Bowl titles. The Blue Jays soared past Fargo North, 45-21 on Friday, Nov. 11. Jamestown finished 10-2 and won its last five games, including two over the Spartans. North was making its first Dakota Bowl appearance since 2000.

Photos courtesy of the  Forum Communications, NDHSAA, Bismarck Tribune

A Past Champions

2021: Jamestown 41, St. Mary's 27

AA Past Champions

2020: St. Mary's 17, Beulah 7

2019: Hillsboro-CV 35, Beulah 12

2018: Shanley 28, St. Mary's 21

2017: St. Mary's 31, Shanley 12

2016: St. Mary's 47, Kindred 6

2015: Beulah 33, Shanley 18

2014: St. Mary's, 21, Shanley 7

2013: St. Mary's 24, Wahpeton 22

2012: Shanley 14, Grafton 8

2011: Grafton 33, Shanley 6

2010: Shanley 24, Devils Lake 21

2009: Shanley 31, Devils Lake 30 (OT)

2008: Watford City 40, Valley City 20

2007: Oak Grove 28, Devils Lake 0

2006: Watford City 20, Dick. Trinity 14

2005: Dick. Trinity 21, Beulah 7

2004: Cavalier 36, Lisbon 12

2003: Cavalier 28, Dick. Trinity 7

2002: Cavalier 18, Dick. Trinity 0

2001: Dick. Trinity 48, Hazen 6

2000: Dick.. Trinity 42, Rugby 28

1999: Bishop Ryan 43, Lisbon 13

1998: Watford City 42, Rugby 14

1997: Bishop Ryan 33 Watford City 14


Friday, Nov. 11

(8) Bismarck Century vs. (3) Fargo Shanley, Fargodome, 6:30 p.m.

How they got here: Bismarck Century upset top seed and defending state champion West Fargo Sheyenne in the quarterfinals and defeated No. 5 Fargo Davies in the semifinals. Fargo Shanley rolled past Minot High in the quarterfinals and rallied past No. 2 Mandan on the road in the semifinals.
Last meeting: Sept. 23: Fargo Shanley 14, Century 7; Last Playoff meeting: 2020: Century 49, Fargo Shanley 28 (Quarterfinal)
About Century: Well, the Patriots (5-6) have been here before. In fact, the program has reached the Dakota Bowl six times in the past eight seasons.
This season has taken a far different path to the championship, however. Century dropped its first five games, but it wasn’t all doom and gloom. Several of those contests were close, including a seven point loss at Shanley in week four. Eventually, the wins started to come and the Patriots qualified for the postseason on the final week of regular season play.
Although the offense took some time to mesh, defensively the team was turning in some good performances. And the defense has especially shined in the playoffs. where it held WF Sheyenne and Fargo Davies to a combined eight points. Those two teams scored 76 points, collectively, against Century in the regular season. Some of the key leaders on the defense include Mason Riegel, who has a team-leading 76 tackles. Jacob Burckhard, Cole Radenz, Jaxson Walz, Tyler Birst and Joe Edland are others who have been big contributors.
The Deacons will pose a challenge, however, as the possess an impressive passing attrack.
Offensively, the team has 2,335 yards of total offense and has displayed a good balance of run and pass. Senior quarterback Kyan Barth (99 for 213 for 1343 yards and eight TDs) is playing his best right now and he a solid performance in the semifinals where he threw for one score and ran for another. Senior Peyton Arndt has rushed for just over 720 yards. Senior Ryan Brynjolfson has 544 yards receiving and RB Gavin Lill has been a good all-purpose player with the ability to run and catch. The junior has just under 500 total yards.
It was a defensive battle in the earlier meeting against the Deacons. All 21 points were scored in the first half. Century tied the game late in the second quarter before Shanley registered the game-winning TD just moments later. Both teams combined for just 469 yards of offense (219 for Century and 233 for Shanley).
About Fargo Shanley: After over a decade of dominance in the Class A division and that featured a handful of state titles, the Deacons (9-2) elected to return the highest classification of 11-man football in the state in 2019. And now the team is in the title game.
Just a quick browse at the Deacons’ game results and its evident the offense is a big strength of the team. It has over 3,000 yards of total offense and a good majority coming in the air. The program has scored 35 or more points in a game seven times this season. It’s averaging 40 in the playoffs, but will face a stiff test against Century.
The playmaker in the lineup is quarterback Michael Rostberg. The senior was outstanding in the semifinals, throwing for 302 yards. Receivers Sam Ovsak, a junior; Conner Kraft, a senior, and Vuciri Hakim, senior; provide a number of targets. Junior RB Adam Leininger has been the workhorse in the backfield and Rostberg is also capable of running.
Shanley showed resolve in its semifinal win at Mandan, rallying from a 21-6 deficit to eventually win, 38-27. It would prefer to get off to a better start this week.

Fries at the bottom of the bag: Century is the first team with a losing record to reach the Dakota Bowl...The last time Fargo Shanley won a state title at the highest classification level was 1983 (31-17 vs. St. Mary’s)...Century is 4-3, all-time, in Dakota Bowl games...Shanley is 8-2 against playoff teams this season...WDAY (ABC) will televise the game statewide.


2022 AA and A Football Playoffs

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 The official site of the Western Dakota Association

AA Past Champions

2021: WF Sheyenne 27, West Fargo 7

AAA Past State Champions

2020: Century 34, WF Sheyenne 0

2019: Century 10, WF Sheyenne 0

2018: Bismarck 21, Century 16

2017: W. Fargo 56, Minot 28

2016: Century 27, Bismarck 12

2015: Century  28, Minot 21

2014: F. Davies 41, Minot 10

2013: F. South 42, Bismarck 34

2012: Bismarck 21, Century 0

2011: Bismarck 21, Century 3

2010: F. South 26, Bismarck 14

2009: Bismarck 28, F. South 10

2008: Bismarck 28, F. South 19

2007: F. South 40, Bismarck 14

2006: F. South 21, Minot 7

2005: GF Central 39, F. South 29

2004: F. South 34, GF Central 27

2003: W. Fargo 45, Bismarck 21

2002: W. Fargo 51, Minot 14

2001: Bismarck 21, F. South 9

2000: F. North 42, Bismarck 22

1999: W. Fargo 24, Minot 14

1998: W. Fargo 12, Wahpeton 7

1997: Dickinson 28, Bismarck 26


Friday, Nov. 11

(5) Fargo North vs. (2) Jamestown, Fargodome, 3 p.m.

How they got here: Fargo North rallied past No. 4 Valley City in the quarterfinals and upset top seed Fargo South in the semifinals. Jamestown rolled past No. 7 G.F. Central in the quarterfinals and defeated No. 3 G.F. Red River in the semifinals.
Last meeting: Oct. 20: Jamestown 49, Fargo North 21; Last Playoff meeting: 2021: Jamestown 41, Fargo North 24 (Semifinal)
About Jamestown: It’s hard to get to the top. It’s even more difficult to stay there.
Yet, here the Blue Jay program is just a win away from repeating as Class A champions.
The journey hasn’t been easy, however. The squad opened the campaign with four relatively easy wins, but met defeat in week five in Wahpeton. Two weeks later the defending champions were humbled by a good Valley City squad on the road.
Since then, the focus and solid play has returned. The ’Jays have won their last four games, including two in the postseason. It overwhelmed G.F. Central in the quarterfinals and then turned a tight battle with a good G.F. Red River team in the semifinals into a comfortable win.
QB Payton Hochhalter is one of the top players in Class A. The senior has over 2,300 yards, completing 140 of 259 pass attempts. He has at least on TD throw in every game and 31 on the second. Jackson Walters has been the primary target. The senior has 865 yards on 41 catches and 13 TDs. Senior Preston Gall has 499 receiving yards and junior Tyson Jorissen had 372. Nate Walz is another receiver in the mix.
Jamestown’s ground game is not as impressive as Fargo North’s but it strong. Junior Josh Robertson has rushed for 475 yards while senior Aden Braun has 440. Hochhalter can also do damage with his feet and has run for 378 yards.
Jamestown’s defense often gets overshadowed by its big-play offense but the D has been solid. Seven times the team has allowed 14 or less points in a game. The Blue Jays have surrendered an average of 252 yards per game and forced 30 turnovers, including five in the win over North.
About Fargo North: The Spartans (7-4) have benefited from the restructuring of the top two classifications of high school football by NDHSAA.
The program moved down one level, beginning in 2021 and posted its first winning record in more than a decade. The year also included its first playoff victory and first appearance in a semifinal game since 2000. The success continued this season as the squad again posted an above .500 mark and now has reached its first Dakota Bowl since 2000.
FN heads into this championship on a quite a high note, knocking off rival Fargo South, 26-7, in the semifinals.
The squad trailed 7-3 heading into the final quarter before erupting for 23 points. The squad turned in its most complete defensive effort against a quality opponent, holding the Bruins to just 142 yards of total offense and just a first quarter touchdown. The squad capped off its showing with a safety in the final minutes.
Offensively, the Spartans have over 3,600 total yards and are at their best when they can control the ground game. Peder Haugo produced his second 100-plus rushing game of the postseason in the semifinal win. It’s no secret the game plan vs. Jamestown will feature getting the junior standout plenty of carries. Junior QB Ethan Welk hasn’t needed to produce much in the air. He had just 89 yards passing in the win over the Bruins. The primary target is Jeremiah Sem. He has over 500 yards receiving.
Fargo North and Jamestown met in the final regular season game and it produced plenty of second half fireworks. After playing to a 7-7 draw at halftime, the teams combined for 56 second half points. The Blue Jays scored 42 of them in turning a close game into a blowout. The squads combined for 765 yards of total offense (Jamestown, 384; Fargo North, 381).
Games often get tighter in the postseason as each play gets magnified with so much on the line. Jamestown was on the championship stage a season ago and handled it well. Can Fargo North find comfort on it as well. We’ll see.
Fries at the bottom of the bag: This is just the second, all-time, playoff meeting between the teams (first was last year)...Fargo North trailed in the second half in both of its road playoff games...Jamestown is seeking its  first back-to-back state titles...WDAY (ABC) will televise the game statewide.

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