ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Fargo Shanley wins 11AA football state championship as 5 first-half turnovers doom Bismarck Century

The Deacons took a 35-7 lead into the locker room and ultimately clinched their first state championship since 2018.

111222.s.ff.Dakota.Bowl.Shanley.Century11AA
Fargo Shanley's John Haldis celebrates a fumble recovery against Bismarck Century during the North Dakota 11AA championship game at the Fargodome on Friday, Nov. 11, 2022.
David Samson/The Forum
We are part of The Trust Project.

FARGO — When the Fargo Shanley football team moved up to the highest division in North Dakota high school football, it was questioned whether or not the Deacons could compete with the state’s largest schools.

They appeared to put that debate to bed quickly on Friday night. Forcing five first-half turnovers against Bismarck Century, No. 3 seed Shanley rolled past the No. 8 seed Patriots 48-7 in the Class 11AA championship game at Dakota Bowl XXX at the Fargodome.

With the win, the Deacons secured their first state title since 2018, 17th overall, 10th in the modern era (1975-present) and first in the state’s highest division since 1983. Shanley finished the season 10-2.

“All the hard work we put in the offseason, everything — it’s just come and hard work has paid off,” said senior quarterback Michael Rostberg, who finished the day with six total touchdowns. “We’ve dreamed about this moment since last year when we lost to (West Fargo) Sheyenne, and now we’re here and it’s awesome.”

111222.s.ff.Dakota.Bowl.Shanley.Century11AA
Fargo Shanley players celebrate their win over Bismarck Century after the North Dakota 11AA championship game at the Fargodome on Friday, Nov. 11, 2022.
David Samson/The Forum

It was Rostberg who steered the team on an 11-play, 80-yard opening drive and capped it off with a 4-yard TD run before junior kicker Matthew Berg’s extra point made it a 7-0 game early.

ADVERTISEMENT

On Century’s first offensive snap, the ball was fumbled on the handoff and recovered by senior linebacker Jack Haldis at the Patriots' 38. Shortly after, Rostberg proceeded to find junior running back Adam Leininger in the end zone for a 5-yard score.

Now down 13-0, the Patriots needed a response but instead gave the ball to Shanley again when senior quarterback Kyan Barth threw his first of three interceptions to Deacons junior linebacker Jordan Leininger. Moments later, Rostberg connected with junior receiver Kaden Christmann for 28-yards and the two-point conversion made it 21-0.

The Patriots fumbled again on the next possession and it was recovered by Shanley senior defensive end Luke Hollcraft, though Century managed to keep the Deacons off the board after the turnover.

After the teams traded touchdowns later on, Barth was intercepted again with under two minutes to play in the first half — this time by junior defensive back Sam Ovsak who took it 65 yards to the house for the pick six. Jordan Leininger added an interception with 50 seconds remaining in the first half and the score was 35-7 at the break.

Shanley added two more touchdowns in the second half — with Rostberg finding Hollcraft on a 10-yard scoring pass and Ovsak on a 30-yard TD pass to pull away if there was still any doubt.

111222.s.ff.Dakota.Bowl.Shanley.Century11AA
Fargo Shanley's Samuel Ovsak twists away from Bismarck Century's Tyler Birst during the North Dakota 11AA championship game at the Fargodome on Friday, Nov. 11, 2022.
David Samson/The Forum

The dominant performance finished off a remarkable season for a Deacons team that seemed to fire on all cylinders throughout the year.

“It’s obviously a very special moment,” Shanley head coach Troy Mattern said. “After we lost to Sheyenne last year, we got back together that Monday after that loss and it was just a different vibe from that day. It was crazy the amount of time these kids put in the offseason through the summer and into fall camp. They really deserved what they got and I couldn’t be more proud of them.”

Mattern said scoring on the opening drive was the tone-setter.

ADVERTISEMENT

“To be able to score that first drive, that was huge,” Mattern said. “And then to get the ball back and go up 14-0, it allowed our defense to pin their ears back and we did that. To create five turnovers in the first half, wow — and it just set the stage for the whole game.”

Mattern was voted as the Class 11AA Coach of the Year by the North Dakota High School Coaches Association.

111222.s.ff.Dakota.Bowl.Shanley.Century11AA
Fargo Shanley quarterback Michael Rostberg crashes through Bismarck Century defenders Peyton Arndt, Ryan Brynjolfson and Blake Ersland to score during the North Dakota 11AA championship game at the Fargodome on Friday, Nov. 11, 2022.
David Samson/The Forum

Rostberg finished 20-of-28 passing for 259 yards and four touchdowns while rushing for 70 yards and two touchdowns. Ovsak led Shanley receivers with 6 receptions for 90 yards and a touchdown while senior receiver Conner Kraft added five catches for 82 yards.

Barth went 9-of-17 through the air for Century with 89 yards and a touchdown. Senior running back Peyton Arndt led the Patriots’ ground game with 27 yards on 14 attempts. Senior receiver William Ware caught two passes for 51 yards. Junior running back Gavin Lill had the lone touchdown for the Patriots on a 14-yard pass from Barth.

Century finished the season 5-7 after a year it began 0-5 before winning three of its final four regular season games to squeak into the playoffs as the eighth seed. The Patriots upset top-seeded Sheyenne and fifth-seeded Davies to advance to its fourth Dakota Bowl in five seasons.

“We knew that Century was a good team and if we didn’t come to play, things would happen badly,” Rostberg said. “Our team came to play (today), we knew what kind of team they were like and we came out and found a way to win.”

BC 0 7 0 0—7
FS 21 14 7 6—48

FS — Rostberg 4 run (Berg kick)

ADVERTISEMENT

FS — A. Leininger 5 pass from Rostberg (kick failed)

FS — Christmann 28 pass from Rostberg (Kraft pass from Rostberg)

FS — Rostberg 4 run (Berg kick)

BC — Lill 14 pass from Barth (Jangula kick)

FS — Ovsak 65 yard interception return (Berg kick)

FS — L. Hollcraft 11 pass from Rostberg (Berg kick)

FS — Ovsak 30 pass from Rostberg (Berg kick)

111222.s.ff.Dakota.Bowl.Shanley.Century11AA
Fargo Shanley players celebrate with the student body after the win over Bismarck Century in the North Dakota 11AA championship game at the Fargodome on Friday, Nov. 11, 2022.
David Samson/The Forum
111222.s.ff.Dakota.Bowl.Shanley.Century11AA
Bismarck Century head coach Ron Wingenbach and Fargo Shanley head coach Troy Mattern shake hands after the North Dakota 11AA championship game at the Fargodome on Friday, Nov. 11, 2022.
David Samson/The Forum
111222.s.ff.Dakota.Bowl.Shanley.Century11AA
Fargo Shanley's wide receiver Kaden Christmann scores against Bismarck Century during the North Dakota 11AA championship game at the Fargodome on Friday, Nov. 11, 2022.
David Samson/The Forum
111222.s.ff.Dakota.Bowl.Shanley.Century11AA
Fargo Shanley's William Mehus hits Bismarck Century quarterback Kyan Barth to cause a fumble during the North Dakota 11AA championship game at the Fargodome on Friday, Nov. 11, 2022.
David Samson/The Forum
111222.s.ff.Dakota.Bowl.Shanley.Century11AA
Fargo Shanley's Joseph Dukart hits Bismarck Century's Peyton Arndt during the North Dakota 11AA championship game at the Fargodome on Friday, Nov. 11, 2022.
David Samson/The Forum
111222.s.ff.Dakota.Bowl.Shanley.Century11AA
Fargo Shanley takes the field before kickoff against Bismarck Century during the North Dakota 11AA championship game at the Fargodome on Friday, Nov. 11, 2022.
David Samson/The Forum
111222.s.ff.Dakota.Bowl.Shanley.Century11AA
Fargo Shanley kicker Matthew Berg hits a point after attempt against Bismarck Century during the North Dakota 11AA championship game at the Fargodome on Friday, Nov. 11, 2022.
David Samson/The Forum
111222.s.ff.Dakota.Bowl.Shanley.Century11AA
Fargo Shanley quarterback Michael Rostberg reaches for the football after scoring against Bismarck Century during the North Dakota 11AA championship game at the Fargodome on Friday, Nov. 11, 2022.
David Samson/The Forum
111222.s.ff.Dakota.Bowl.Shanley.Century11AA
Fargo Shanley's Damon Hospidales and Kaden Christmann rock Bismarck Century quarterback Kyan Barth during the North Dakota 11AA championship game at the Fargodome on Friday, Nov. 11, 2022.
David Samson/The Forum
111222.s.ff.Dakota.Bowl.Shanley.Century11AA
Fargo Shanley's Conner Kraft hauls in a reception against Bismarck Century during the North Dakota 11AA championship game at the Fargodome on Friday, Nov. 11, 2022.
David Samson/The Forum
111222.s.ff.Dakota.Bowl.Shanley.Century11AA
Fargo Shanley's Jordan Leininger picks off a pass intended for Bismarck Century's Ryan Brynjolfson during the North Dakota 11AA championship game at the Fargodome on Friday, Nov. 11, 202.
David Samson/The Forum
111222.s.ff.Dakota.Bowl.Shanley.Century11AA
Fargo Shanley's Adam Leininger fends off Bismarck Century's Mason Riegel during the North Dakota 11AA championship game at the Fargodome on Friday, Nov. 11, 202.
David Samson/The Forum

Ryan Spitza joined The Forum in December 2021 as a sports reporter. He grew up in Marquette, Mich., a city of 20,000 on the southern shore of Lake Superior. He majored in multimedia journalism and minored in public relations at Northern Michigan University, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in May 2019. While attending college, Spitza gained real-world experience covering high school and college athletics for both The Mining Journal and The North Wind.

Spitza can be reached at 701-451-5613 or rspitza@forumcomm.com. Follow him on Twitter @ryspitza.
What to read next
Area recreation scores and schedules.
Regional and local scores and schedules.
The Blue Jays and Jimmies each claimed championships in separate sports.
The senior defenseman represented the German women's national team at the Euro Hockey Tour's Five Nations Tournament in Vierumäki, Finland last month.