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WATCH: 'This team wants it bad'; Shanley football seeks redemption after last year's semifinal loss

After falling to eventual champs West Fargo Sheyenne in the 2021 11AA semis, Shanley is working toward a Dakota Bowl appearance.

Shanley Football
A Fargo Shanley running back goes through drills during a fall practice<br/>
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It's not unusual to see Shanley make a deep playoff run, but for this year's group, their goals are beyond the semifinal round.

Fargo Shanley came closer than any other team to beating eventual 11AA champion Sheyenne, but fell to them in the state semifinals.

“Ever since we met that Monday after the state semis, these kids were focused," said head coach Troy Mattern.

This year’s goal is a trip to the Dakota Bowl.

“We were all really close with those seniors that graduated," said senior Jack Haldis. "We all felt really bad for not giving them the championship they deserved."

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There were 20 players in the class of 2022, including all-state backfield duo John Gores and Aiden DeVine.

“Last year we were a very up-tempo team," Mattern said. "We had a lot of very good athletes on the field. This year we’re going to be more of a power team."

The Deacons do return St. Thomas commit Michael Rostberg at quarterback. He’ll play behind four returning starters on the offensive line.

“In our offense everything starts with the quarterback," Mattern said. "The transformation from junior year to senior year is always remarkable."

Shanley has high expectations and they're using the pain of their playoff loss as motivation.

“It just comes down to how bad you want to win and this team wants to win bad," Rostberg said. "I’m really excited for it."

Related Topics: PREP SPORTS
Cullen Holt is a sports anchor and reporter for WDAY News, while handling play-by-play duties for high school and select college sports.
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