By Tom Mix
NDHSAA Media Specialist
FARGO – Opting up to play NDHSAA Division 11AA football has paid dividends for Fargo Shanley High School.
The Deacons have played in the highest division of NDHSAA Football for four seasons now since opting up following their 2018 state championship in what was then known as Division AA and Shanley climbed to the top of the highest pinnacle of the state’s highest division of football on Friday, November 11 at the FARGODOME.
Shanley defeated Bismarck Century 48-7 in the NDHSAA Division 11AA football state championship game.
Leading the way for the Deacons was senior quarterback Michael Rostberg who was 20-for-28 passing for 259 yards and four touchdowns. Rostberg, a University of St. Thomas recruit, also rushed for 70 yards and two touchdowns in the game.
The state championship is Fargo Shanley’s 10th since NDHSAA began sponsoring and organizing official state championships in football. The Deacons won Class A state titles in 1975, 1976, 1977, 1981, and 1983 (the program’s previous state title playing in the state’s highest division of football). Shanley played Division AA football from 2009 to 2018. During that 10-year span, Shanley won four NDHSAA Division AA football state titles (2009, 2010, 2012, 2018).
Shanley scored on the game’s opening drive when Rostberg scored on a three-yard keeper.
Century’s first drive stalled with a fumble – the first of three turnovers for the Patriots in the first quarter.
Shanley capitalized on the Patriots’ miscues and would lead 21-0 at the quarter break.
Rostberg scored on a 4-yard keeper with 10 minutes, three seconds to play in the first half to put Shanley up 28-0 after a extra point kick from Matthew Berg.
Century’s lone score of the game came in the second quarter when Gavin Lill hauled in a 14-yard touchdown pass from Kyan Barth with 3:53 left to play in the first half.
Shanley won the turnover battle 5-0 and just before the first half ended junior defensive back Sam Ovsak intercepted a pass from Barth and returned it 65 yards for a highlight-reel worthy touchdown. In total the Deacons snatched three interceptions – the other two being hauled in by Jordan Leininger.
Ovsak, Kaden Christmann, Adam Leininger, and Luke Hollcraft all scored receiving touchdowns for the Deacons.
Shanley finishes the season 10-2. Bismarck Century, a squad that started the season 0-5 and clawed its way to playoff contention earning the No. 8 seed in the 11AA playoffs. The Patriots then proceeded to upset No. 1 seed West Fargo Sheyenne in the quarterfinals and shutout Fargo Davies on the road in the semifinals. Century ends the season 5-7.