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Shanley gets redemption for last season, heads to Dakota Bowl

Sunday, November 5, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Administration
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FARGO -- Fargo Shanley senior tight end and linebacker Jake Kava spent the end of his birthday weekend last year on a couch in his basement watching Netflix. It was the Sunday after Shanley’s football team lost in the North Dakota Class 2A football semifinals to Kindred. The Deacons led by 22 midway through the third against the Vikings.

“That was tough,” Kava said. “I tried to seclude myself. It was definitely tough. It’s never fun to lose that way. You never think you’re going to lose that game. You hear about stuff like that, and we ended up on the wrong side. I just locked myself in the basement, getting my gear ready for basketball season.”

Basketball season will have to wait this year. On Saturday, Kava celebrated his birthday with a touchdown reception and a 17-6 Shanley victory over Watford City in the state semifinals. The Deacons will play Bismarck St. Mary’s on Friday at 3 p.m. at the Fargodome in the state championship.

Kava is going to celebrate his birthday weekend this year a bit differently.

“I’m going to take a nice warm shower because it’s cold out here, and then probably celebrate with my teammates and family,” Kava said. “Maybe go get something to eat, and get my knee healthy for St. Mary’s.”

The day after the loss to Kindred last season, Shanley junior running back and quarterback Cade Busek was in the weight room. He made the screensaver on his phone the quote “every champion was once a contender who refused to give up.”

“That was the most crushing feeling I’ve ever felt,” Busek said. “I was in the weight room the day after and I was thinking about this.”

Shanley opened the scoring late in the first quarter on a 2-yard touchdown run from Austin Manuel. The score capped a 13-play, 42-yard drive for the Deacons, in which they converted two fourth downs.

“Today’s conditions were tough,” Shanley coach Troy Mattern said. “We went against a very physical football team. They’re the most physical team we played all season. They took a lot away from us. Under the conditions, I thought our kids responded well. You’d expect this from a state semifinal game. Couldn’t be more proud of these kids to get back to the Dakota Bowl. Last year, after the Kindred game, this is what they worked for, and they’re back.”

On the second play of the ensuing drive, Watford City fumbled and Cole Friederichs recovered at the Watford City 23-yard line. The Deacons settled for a 27-yard field goal from Emmet Kenney for a 10-0 lead with 10 minutes, 42 seconds left in the first half.

The Deacons (10-0) marched 64 yards on 11 plays for a touchdown and a 17-0 lead on the opening drive of the second half. Busek found Kava for an 8-yard touchdown pass, and the Deacons had a cushion. Kava had missed the previous three games with an MCL sprain in his left knee. He came out of the game in the third quarter Saturday, but went back in at linebacker a couple plays later.

“Kava is our leader,” Mattern said. “To have him back is very exciting because he’s our leader and he made big plays for us. It was just a great day for him and for him to get back to the Dakota Bowl.”

Watford City (7-4) didn’t go away quietly, as Jacob Juarez stripped Shanley quarterback Kaden Kueneman and recovered the fumble in the end zone to cut the lead to 17-6 with 8:16 remaining. The next two Watford City drives ended with Kava breaking up a pass and forcing a fumble.

His birthday weekend will be spent thinking about St. Mary’s instead of what to watch on Netflix.

“I’ve played against those guys quite a few times, so we know each other quite well,” Kava said. “There’s respect between the two teams, but there’s bad blood. We (both) are the class of Class 2A. Every time we get together there’s a lot of respect between the two teams, and it’s going to be a great game on Friday.”


WC 0 0 6 0--6

FS 7 3 7 0--17

FS-Manuel 1 run (Motschenbacher kick)

FS-Kenney 27 field goal

FS-Kava 8 pass from Busek (Motschenbacher kick)

WC-Juarez fumble recovery (pass failed)

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