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Fargo Shanley football preview

FARGO - The group of players and coaches that led the Fargo Shanley football team to North Dakota Class 2A state titles the last two years will likely be remembered for revitalizing one of the state's flagship programs.

FARGO - The group of players and coaches that led the Fargo Shanley football team to North Dakota Class 2A state titles the last two years will likely be remembered for revitalizing one of the state's flagship programs.

And last year cemented their legacy.

The Deacons outscored opponents by an average of 33.4 points a game en route to a perfect season. The team averaged 45 points per game on offense.

Teams had a hard time figuring out Shanley's spread offense. And the Deacons had weapons at every position.

Quarterback Myles Montplaisir and running back Stefan Weber are now at NCAA Division II Minnesota State Moorhead. Former Shanley head coach Steve Laqua is the head coach of the Dragons.

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Receiver Dylan Dunn is at Division I North Dakota State and receiver Josh Rodenbiker will play basketball at Division III St. Thomas.

Offensive lineman Connor McGovern is at Missouri.

There aren't many recognizable names remaining on offense.

"We did lose a lot of skill people," said first-year head coach Rod Oksendahl, who led Cavalier to four Class A state titles. "That is probably our biggest challenge right now."

The biggest thing Shanley has going for it is Oksendahl. He was an assistant under Laqua for four seasons, so he knows the players. And, of course, there are the four state championships.

Oksendahl takes the job at an interesting time.

Coming off two titles in a row and with the loss of several key athletes, many will be wondering if the program may take a hit.

Oksendahl went through the same thing following Cavalier's second consecutive state championship in 2003.

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"There is a parallel there," he said. "That group of seniors at Cavalier came out, played well and had a tremendous season in 2004. I think this senior class at Shanley has the same road ahead of them."

Senior Nick Salentine will likely replace Montplaisir as the quarterback. Senior running back Tyler Rivard has carried the ball plenty the last two seasons.

Senior cornerback and receiver Brandon Nelson could be ready for a breakout season.

Oksendahl said the Deacons will look to establish the run.

"The focus of our offense will be running the ball," he said. "But I am a firm believer that you can't just run the football. The better teams that I had at Cavalier were those that could run and pass."

Compiled by Heath Hotzler

Related Topics: FOOTBALL
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