Shanley and Kindred set to meet again
Wednesday, November 2, 2016
Posted by: Administration
FARGO—The last time the Fargo Shanley Deacons played the Kindred Vikings in high school football, a few yards of artificial turf proved to be the difference. Kindred was three yards short of two touchdowns in a nine-point road loss in late September.
"We were very fortunate to win that first game I felt," Shanley head coach Rod Oksendahl said. "They took it right to us and we were able to keep them out of the end zone."
Shanley (9-1) hosts Kindred (8-2) at 3 p.m. Saturday in the North Dakota Class 2A state semifinals at Sid Cichy Stadium.
In the first meeting, the Deacons stuffed the Vikings on a fourth-and goal play from the 1-yard line near the midway point of the third quarter. In the fourth quarter, the Vikings faced a third-and-goal from the Shanley 2 and were dropped for a loss and then missed the ensuing field-goal attempt. The Deacons earned a 16-7 victory.
"We need to be able to convert the short yardage because that's something we didn't do the last time," Kindred head coach Matt Crane said. "When you come up empty, it's deflating."
The Deacons have been stingy on defense all season, allowing 9.2 points per game with two shutouts. The most points Shanley has given up was in a 18-7 home loss to start the season against unbeaten and top-ranked Bismarck St. Mary's. The Deacons have won nine consecutive games since.
Kindred had success moving the ball against Shanley in the regular-season meeting, but that didn't translate into points.
"We did great work defending the red zone," said Shanley senior linebacker Justin DeKeyser. "We haven't had a lot of teams that have been able to put big plays on us, but Kindred definitely scares you."
The Vikings have won three in a row heading into the state semifinals on the heels of back-to-back losses. Kindred has averaged 41 points per game in its previous three games. Vikings senior quarterback Ethan Lingen has played well during the current winning streak.
"The last three games we've been able to establish our run," Crane said. "It really open things up for Ethan Lingen. He's been very, very efficient the last few games."
In his third year as head coach, Crane said his team has improved on the offensive and defensive lines this season. Senior Darryn Hoppe and juniors Nick Mathias, Nick Eggmann and Jared Palluck have been strong performers on the offensive line and the defensive front seven.
"We've been vastly, vastly improved in the offensive and defensive lines," Crane said. "We're able to be a lot more physical. We've had some guys that have really grown."
Oksendahl added the Vikings likely have the best skilled players in Class 2A, East Region.
"They do a lot of things that can trip up a defense," DeKeyser said.
DeKeyser and the Deacons have played in the past two Class 2A state title games and lost. DeKeyser will be playing in his fourth consecutive state semifinals.
"As you keep winning that excitement builds," Oksendahl said.
A win against the Vikings would get DeKeyser one step closer to his ultimate goal.
"I've been so close to the state championship. I've been in six state championships by my count and I haven't won one," said DeKeyser, referring to football and summer baseball teams.
What: Class 2A state semifinals
Who: Kindred at Fargo Shanley
Where: Sid Cichy Stadium
When: 3 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 5