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Johnson helps power Deacons into the Class 2A state semifinals

Sunday, October 30, 2016   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Administration
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FARGO—Fargo Shanley senior Kolby Johnson is usually the one opening running lanes for his teammates, but that changed Saturday, Oct. 29, at Sid Cichy Stadium.

Johnson rushed for two touchdowns in the first half to spark the Deacons to a 31-0 victory against Watford City in the first round of the North Dakota Class 2A football playoffs.

"It's all about the front line," Johnson said. "It's all about the blocking. Normally, I'm doing the blocking, but today it was our front line."

The Deacons (9-1) have won nine consecutive games. They host Kindred (8-2) next weekend in the state semifinals. Shanley defeated Kindred 16-7 during the regular season.

"It's the best Kindred team I've seen since I've been here," said Deacons head coach Rod Oksendahl, who is in his sixth year as Shanley head coach. "They're a talented bunch."

The Deacons scored touchdowns on their first four possessions against Watford City, building a 28-0 lead less than 14 minutes into the game. Johnson scored both his touchdowns during that opening stretch.

The 5-foot-10, 175-pound Johnson scored on a 33-yard run that gave the Deacons a 7-0 lead with 9 minutes, 44 seconds to play in the first quarter. He added a 1-yard touchdown run that gave Shanley a 28-0 lead with 10:46 to play in the second quarter.

"I thought we blocked well up front," Oksendahl said. "I thought our backs ran well. It was a combination of a lot of positive things."

Shanley's first three touchdowns were 33 yards or longer. Junior running back Josh Johnson scored on a 45-yard run that gave Deacons a 14-0 lead. A little more than three minutes later, sophomore wide receiver Haley Bucholz caught a 34-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Matt Burd that gave Shanley a 21-0 lead with 3:04 to play in the first quarter.

"With our speed, we felt we had to utilize it," Oksendahl said. "I think it's opened up our offense."

Burd completed his first four passes for 69 yards. He finished 7 of 13 for 83 yards. Kolby Johnson rushed for 61 yards on eight attempts, including his two touchdowns. Josh Johnson rushed for 108 yards and a touchdown on 11 attempts. The Deacons rushed for 240 yards on 40 attempts.

"It's getting off that first hit and just keep going, running those feet and keep pushing," Kolby Johnson said.

The Deacons took a 31-0 lead into halftime after senior kicker Jake Reinholz booted a 33-yard field goal with 11 seconds to play in the second quarter. Shanley limited Watford City to 37 rushing yards on 27 attempts. The Deacons also intercepted two passes.

"I thought we defended the run very, very well," Oksendahl said. "We were concerned with their size up front."

Shanley is set to face a Kindred team that has won three consecutive games. The Vikings are averaging 41 points per game during that stretch.

"They have a lot of talented people," Kolby Johnson said. "We're going to have to play our hardest."

WC 0 0 0 0--0

Shanley 21 10 0 0--31

SH--K. Johnson 33 run (Reinholz kick)

SH--J. Johnson 45 run (Reinholz kick)

SH--Bucholz 34 pass from Burd (Reinholz kick)

SH--K. Johnson 1 run (Reinholz kick)

SH--Reinholz 33 FG

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