FARGO — Fargo Davies head coach Wayne Werremeyer told his team to do one thing heading into Friday night’s “25th Street Showdown” against Fargo Shanley — have fun. He wanted his team to embrace stepping out onto the grass field at Davies High School. Friday’s regular-season finale could’ve been the last home game for 23 Davies seniors.
“I said go out and have fun and put a smile on your face,” Werremeyer said. “Fans didn’t get to come tonight, but we’re pretty lucky we got to come out here. I just thank the athletic directors, Fargo Public Schools, the activities association for letting these kids play.”
Davies held off a Shanley comeback to down the Deacons 42-27 and nab the “25th Street Showdown” traveling trophy for the second year in a row. But there was more on the line than just hardware. It was a game with big playoff implications.
The win secured Davies the No. 2 seed from the East Region. The Eagles will play at home in the opening round of the Class 3A football playoffs.
“It feels awesome knowing we’ll have a home playoff game here and we can play here at our home field,” said Austin Harmsen, who put up two scores for Davies. “It gives us a lot of confidence. I love this field.”
The team's outdoor locker room erupted into chants of celebration following the game as "The Final Countdown" blared. The classic hit summed up Friday's matchup, which was a classic battle between two rivals on the gridiron.
Davies struck first and didn't look back. The Eagles ate up almost eight minutes in the 65-yard opening drive, with every inch picked up on the ground. Reid Hartness scored on a quarterback sneak in the possession that featured two fourth-down conversions.
Hartness completed 2 of 2 passes for 62 yards Friday.
Two bobbled snaps led to back-to-back turnovers for the Eagles. Harmsen gave Davies a momentum shift late in the second quarter on a two-yard touchdown run. Harmsen tallied 26 carries for 158 yards and two TDs in the matchup.
As if it was needed, the Eagles got another boost heading into the second half. Oliver Lucht picked up a Shanley fumble and returned it for 35 yards, setting Davies up at the 3-yard line. Wayne's son, Truman Werremeyer, a North Dakota State football commit, plowed his way into the end zone to record Davies' third unanswered score.
Shanley entered the second half with a 21-point deficit.
"I told them at halftime Shanley wasn’t gonna quit and they definitely didn’t," Wayne said. "They’re a well-coached football team and they play hard. That’s the kind of game you want, both teams battling. Fortunately we came up on the right side tonight."
Shanley scored in the opening drive of the third quarter. Carson Dean hauled in an 11-yard touchdown strike from Shanley quarterback Cooper Mattern in the first of three third-quarter Deacons TDs.
After back-to-back scores by both teams, Shanley was down by 14 (28-14) at the midway point in the third quarter.
Shanley capped the 21-point quarter thanks to some trickery. Shanley kicker Emmet Kenney, who broke the state record for longest field goal in high school this season, lined up like he was going to fake punt on 4th-and-10. He connected with John Gores, who racked up 220 yards on nine catches and two scores for Shanley, to grab the first down and set the Deacons up at the 19. Mattern sealed the drive with an 11-yard TD strike to Carter Kochmann.
That same Deacons duo scored a buzzer-beater to close out the game. Mattern threw all four of Shanley's touchdowns.
"We knew they were gonna put the ball in the air. That’s what they do and they do it well," Wayne said. "We just told the kids to keep matching scores, and for the defense get a stop. And if we could get a stop we felt like we could score and we were gonna turn the tides that way."
Truman Werremeyer put the bow on the win, bulldozing his way into the end zone with four minutes left. Truman had 11 carries for 84 yards and two scores.
After hoisting the trophy for a few seconds, Davies ran over to thank their fans who were standing outside the fence. Fargo Public Schools is one of the growing number of school districts not allowing fans to athletic events for the time being because of the state's COVID-19 uptick.