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


(2) Jamestown (9-2) vs. (1) Bismarck St. Mary’s (10-1), 2:30 p.m., Fargodome, Fargo

How they got here: Bismarck St. Mary’s advanced to the Dakota Bowl with a hard-fought 19-14 win over (5) Dickinson in the semifinal at home. It marked the seventh time in the past nine seasons the program reached the championship, and second in a row. Jamestown had a far easier path to the final. The Blue Jays jumped out to a commanding lead over (3) Fargo North en route to a  41-24 blowout. The Blue Jays are making their first finals appearance since 1994. Ironically, Jamestown’s opponent that season was St. Mary’s.
Introductions: Both schools are members of the Western Dakota Association, but their series history is somewhat brief. The teams have met just 19 times, dating back to 1975. The reason for that is Jamestown spent many years in the Eastern Dakota Conference before moving back over to the WDA in 1997. St. Mary’s moved from Class AAA to AA in 2008, and therefore, missed out on playing Jamestown annually for several more years. SM is 3-1, all-time, vs Jamestown in the postseason. Two of those victories have come in the championship (1991 and 1994).
About St. Mary’s: The Saints have won 21 of their last 22 games and they are making a habit at finishing the season at the Dakota Bowl. SM is an experienced team and will be seeking its sixth state championship since 2013.
The adage success breeds success fits St. Mary’s. It’s been one of the best football teams in North Dakota over the past 10 seasons. Attention to details, sound fundamentals, depth and talent at the skilled positions and good defensive play have been a big reason the team finds itself contending for titles each fall. It doesn’t hurt to have continuity in the coaching staff as well. Dan Smrekar is in his 44th season as head coach. He is joined by many long-time assistants.
St. Mary’s did not play its best in the semifinal win over Dickinson. Part of that was the strong play of the Midgets as well as the Saints simply not being assignment sharp at times. The offense struggled to run the ball and the defense uncharacteristically gave up some big plays. And the squad didn't take advantage of several turnovers.. A much better performance will be needed against Jamestown.
Offensively, the Saints have used a balanced attack. The squad has averaged nearly 200 yards rushing and 190 yards passing a game. Senior QB Nick Schumacher’s leadership has been a strength. He is 128 for 233 and 1989 yards and 17 TDs. Senior Nate Fedorchak has been the top receiver. He has 36 catches for 701 yards. Landon Gerving has 35 catches for 514 yards. Brit Senftner has 25 for 422 yards.
The run game is led by senior Isaac Felchle. He had a relatively quiet night in the win over Dickinson. He was held to just 27 yards. He did, however, make some big plays. A 94-yard kickoff return produced the game-winning TD in the third quarter. He also had an interception that set up his rushing TD right before halftime. For the season, he is just shy of 900 yards. Isaac Vandal has also been an option with 341 yards rushing. Schumacher can also scramble for yards. The running game benefits from an experienced and big offensive line.
Defense has been a pillar of strength. SM has allowed an average of just 10 points per game and given up an average of 225 yards of total offense. It has been able to adapt to teams that are heavy on the run and those who like to spread it out and pass. A couple of victories came over Class AA playoff qualifiers Fargo Shanley and Mandan. Teams that have explosive offenses. The Blue Jays will present a similar challenge, so the D-line will need to get into the backfield and disrupt Jamestown’s pass game. Seniors Jack Weikum and Nick Winsdor and junior Jaxsyn Richter will be looked on to provide leadership there.
St. Mary’s has won its last six games, but as mentioned, it’s semifinal performance was not its best effort. Perhaps the squad is saving its best effort for the title game.
About Jamestown: The Blue Jay program moved from Class AAA to the newly-formed Class A division  this season and the change has been more than good. It’s been great! Jamestown is making its first championship appearance since 1994.
The program started the season on a four-game win streak. It lost two of its next three games, both coming to Class AA playoff participants in Fargo Shanley and Mandan. The loss to the Braves came on a field goal as time expired. The squad also was without its starting quarterback. It has bounced back to win its last four. And received a boost with the return of junior Payton Hochhalter to the QB spot.
Jamestown had an unexpectedly easy time in its semifinal win. It got off to a fast start, scoring 20 first quarter points fueled by three big pass plays for score. Hochhalter threw for 276 yards and five scores. Four receivers had 50 or more yards passing. The defense held a good FN offense to just 13 yards rushing and produced two turnovers. The Spartans did get 24 points in the final fourth quarter but by then most of Jamestown’s starters were on the sidelines.
Offensively, the team has been averaging 317 yards of offense and getting a good balance of run and pass. Hochhalter has been sharp in his return from injury, and as mentioned, is coming off a 5 TD pass performance in the semifinal. He is 72-118 for 1167 yards and 14 TDs and just two interceptions thrown. Adam Kallenbach has been one of the main receiving targets. The senior has a team-high 609 yards on 38 receptions and seven TDs. Senior Preston Kroeber has 30 catches for 387 yards and eight TDS. Senior Devin Beach has 356 yards on 11 receptions. The run game is led by senior Jakob Schempp. He has 565 yards on 114 carries and 4 TDs. Aden Braun has 363 yards on 62 carries. The junior rushed for over 100 in the win last week. A big part of that success has been the guys in the trenches. They include seniors Luke Van Berkom, Evan Prescott, Blayke Simmers, Thomas Allmer and Daniel Skavroneck.
Defensively, the Blue Jays are just as impressive. The team is surrendering less than 70 yards on the ground per game. Shutting down opponents’ run game means the ’Jays secondary can key on the pass. The team has 21 interceptions to go along with seven fumble recoveries. Kallenbach has nine of those INTs. Schempp and Kroeber have three each. The D-line is anchored by junior Ethan Gall and seniors Damien Krebs and Ethan Holmquist, Allmer and Prescott. Junior linebacker Colton Mewes has 76 total tackles to lead the squad.
In the Sept. 10 meeting, SM jumped out to a 7-0 lead after one quarter before Jamestown scored 20 unanswered points en route to the 20-7 victory. The key stat of the game was the Blue Jays’ defense holding SM to just 35 yards rushing. Jamestown will attempt to bottle up the SM ground game again.
Jamestown is playing its best football right now and enters the Dakota Bowl feeling confident. It’s starting quarterback is back and its offense put up 35 and 41 points in its two playoff victories. It handed SM its only loss of the season.
St. Mary’s, meanwhile, has yet to put a complete four-quarter performance together in the postseason. However, it does have something the Blue Jays don’t have: Dakota Bowl experience.
Indeed, it’s not just another game playing indoors under the bright lights of the Fargodome. And SM has played well in these games.
Nerves can show up early in a championship, so the team that can score first, or make a big play will likely settle down faster. With both teams offense and defensive prowess, it could be a high-scoring affair or a defensive battle
Fries at the bottom of the bag: This will mark the first time in the series history the two have played twice in the same season…The last time Jamestown played a game at the Fargodome was on Oct. 23, 2009 vs. West Fargo (20-34 loss)...St. Mary’s has made the postseason nine seasons in a row…Jamestown has allowed an opponent eight points or less seven times, including St. Mary’s on Sept. 10...SM has averaged 32.2 points per game in its last five state title games.



That elusive football title is finally in the hands of West Fargo Sheyenne! The third time was the charm for the Mustangs at the Dakota Bowl. WFS defeated rival West Fargo 27-7 to claim the school's first Class AA championship. The Mustangs were in the finals the past two years, but had to settle for runner-up status. WFS finished with a 12-0 record and lost just one game over the past two seasons. West Fargo was making its first title game appearance since 2017 when they won it.  Photos courtesy of Jon Jablonski, WDA SID, Forum Communications, NDHSAA, Dave Samson

 A Playoffs

Oct. 29

Quarterfinal results

(1) Bismarck St. Mary's 37, (8) Devils Lake 13

(5) Dickinson 9, (4) Fargo South 7
(2) Jamestown 35, (7) G.F. Red River 0

(3) Fargo North 41, (6) Wahpeton 12

Nov. 5

Semifinal results

(1) Bismarck St. Mary's 19, (5) Dickinson 14

(2) Jamestown 41, (3) Fargo North 24

Nov. 12

Dakota Bowl, result

(2) Jamestown 41, (1) Bismarck St. Mary's 27

 AA Playoffs

Oct. 29

Quarterfinal results

(1) West Fargo Sheyenne 28, (8) Minot 6
(4) Fargo Shanley 35, (4) Mandan 20

(2) Bismarck Century 28, (7) Bismarck High 0

(3) West Fargo 31, (6) Bismarck Legacy 0

Nov. 5

Semifinal results

(1) West Fargo Sheyenne 35, (4) Fargo Shanley 21

(3) West Fargo 15,  (2) Bismarck Century 0

Nov. 12

Dakota Bowl, result

 (1) West Fargo Sheyenne 27, (3) West Fargo 7

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Team of the Week

A long-time coming

It's been a long time coming, but Jamestown captured its first football state title since 1933 with a 41-27 victory over WDA foe Bismarck St. Mary's in the Class A championship on Friday, Nov. 12 in Fargo. The Blue Jays downed defending champion St. Mary's twice this regular season. The game was tied at 20 at halftime before Jamestown pulled away for the win

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


(3) West Fargo (9-2) vs. (1) West Fargo Sheyenne (11-0), 6:40 p.m., Fargodome, Fargo

How they got here: WF Sheyenne advanced to its third consecutive championship with a 36-21 semifinal win over (4) Fargo Shanley. (3) West Fargo upended two-time defending champion (2) Bismarck Century, 15-0. It was the Packers’ first-ever semifinal road win and avenged an early season loss to the Patriots.
Introductions: For years West Fargo had just one high school, but that changed in 2014 when WF Sheyenne came onto the varsity scene. The two have played nine times with WF Sheyenne holding a 5-4 advantage, including a 28-7 win earlier this season. This will be second time in three seasons the programs have met in the postseason.
About WF Sheyenne: The Mustangs have been one of the top programs in the state in recent history. The team has a 46-8 record since the start of the 2017 season and have won or shared three EDC titles en route to three state title game appearances. All that’s left on that impressive resume is a state title.
In the semifinal win over Shanley, WFS led 7-0 before the Deacons scored 21 points to take a 21-14 halftime advantage. It was all-WFS in the second half, however. The Mustangs put up 22 unanswered points. The difference maker for the Mustangs was senior quarterback Grant Warkenthien who rushed for 224 yards on 23 carries and four TDs. He was also seven of 14 passing for 84 yards. Despite giving up 21 points, WFS held Shanley to just 189 yards of total offense.
The Mustangs have been a two-headed monster this season for its opponents. A stingy defense and an impressive offense that can chew up yards in a hurry.
Offensively, WFS has a formidable ground attack which has over 3,000 yards in 11 games. It’s led by running back Josh Henricks who rushed for over 1,200 yards on 236 yards. Junior Kaden Rahr has over 700 yards while Warkenthien has nearly 600 yards. The team hasn’t had to rely much on its passing game. Senior Zander Newton has been a frequent target.
Defensively, the team has been dominant. Throw out its two games against Shanley, and WFS has allowed just 33 points in nine games. Among that total, just seven against West Fargo.
About West Fargo: The Packers are back in the Dakota Bowl for the first time since 2017. WF is coming into the finals having won its last eight games. The defense has not allowed a point in two playoff games. This will be WF’s seventh title game appearance.
In its semifinal victory, WF held Century to just 75 yards of total offense and forced three turnovers. The victory avenged an early season defeat to the Pats. WF didn’t have a ton of offensive stats but did just enough to get the win. Running back Parker Nelson had a game-high 62 yards on 27 carries. Carson Hegerle had three receptions for 50 yards. QB Peyton Jantz was 6 for 17 for 74 yards.
WF has one of the top offenses in Class AA, averaging around 30 points per game. It has racked up over 3300 yards in 11 games. Nearly 2000 on the ground. Nelson, a senior, has been the workhorse in the backfield. Jantzi has been a steady passer with a couple of proven targets in Hegerle and Caden Zepeda. The team is going to have to rely on that passing game to move the ball against WFS.
Defensively, the team has really locked it down since the playoffs began and it will have to play superbly again to pull the upset.

In the early meeting, WFS rolled to a 21-point victory, dominating on both sides of the ball. Sheyenne racked up over 335 yards rushing and held the Packers to just 118 yards of total offense. Both teams have veteran players so nerves shouldn't be an issue playing on the big stage of a state title game.
The matchup to watch is whether West Fargo’s defense can do a better job against that vaunted Mustang ground game.
Fries at the bottom of the bag: For the first time since 1993, two Fargo/WF teams are in the championship (Fargo South over WF, 6-2)…WF Sheyenne has won the last five meetings…The last time two EDC teams met in the championship was 2005 (GF Central 39, Fargo South 29).


2021 AA and A Football Playoffs

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