HS FBall: St. Mary's seeks fourth title in five years

St. Mary's and Fargo Shanley have dominated Class AA over the past eight years. In that time, either the Saints or Deacons have played for the state title each year. This season, the two powerhouses square off against each other.  

For much of the 2017 season, St. Mary's was a rock star with the No. 1 ranking in Class AA.

"I think right away we got off to a good start," head coach Dan Smrekar said. "The schedule was good for us. We had some home games."

But then on, September 29 the Saints lost to Shanley, 17-14, at home.

"Coach Smrekar always stresses doing the little things," quarterback Cole Gendreau said. "We didn't do enough of the little things right to win."

Then St. Mary's followed up the Shanley loss with a defeat to Watford City, 24-22.

"The two-game losing streak taught us that we can't take any breaks," Branden Franchuk said. "Can't take our opponents lightly. We have to respect our opponents."

St. Mary's still secured the No. 2 seed and a first round playoff bye. And after blanking Devils Lake, 30-0 in the semifinals, the Saints are headed back to Fargo.

"We're pretty excited," Gendreau said. "Every year, not matter what game it is, whether it is the state championship, playoff game or regular season, it's always fun to play Shanley."

For the Saints, the school is going for their fourth state title in five years.

"I don't know how much the past has anything to do with it," Smrekar said, "Other than these kids want there own story."

These seniors also have a chance to cement their legacy as the greatest class in school history.

"This year," Grendreau said. "We're all out there on the field. To win it with them would be a good experience."

On Friday, St. Mary's plays Fargo Shanley for the Class AA state championship.

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