No teams in the Class AAA East Region pass for as many yards this season as Fargo Shanley and Grand Forks Red River.
Entering the weekend schedule, Shanley leads the region in pass completions (79) and passing yards (1,121). Red River is second in both categories with 68 completions for 927 yards.
When weather conditions made throwing difficult Thursday, however, Shanley relied on its ground game to score a 10-0 high school football win over the Roughriders at Cushman Field.
In windy, cold conditions -- it rained throughout the first half and the field was covered with snow for most of the final two quarters -- Shanley had 248 yards in total offense. All but three of those yards were on the ground. The Deacons had a balanced running game, with Aidan DeVine rushing for 87 yards, Carter Kochmann for 84 and Cooper Mattern for 71.
Red River managed only 112 yards in total offense, all but eight of those on the ground.
"It was a little slippery,'' Red River coach Vyrn Muir said. "The footballs felt like they were waterlogged. It was tough to throw. That hurts us a lot. We weren't able to utilize our athletes at receiver. But both teams played in the same conditions.
"They were able to ground it out. That's something we generally haven't been able to do.''
The loss dropped Red River to 2-5. The Roughriders are 2-0 when they've scored more than 40 points in games; they're 0-5 when they've scored less than 15 points in games.
The Deacons got all the points they would need when Emmet Kenney hit a 25-yard field goal with 2:40 left in the first quarter.
It stayed that way until 9:10 remained in the game. The Deacons drove 79 yards to score on a quarterback sneak by Mattern from 1 yard. The junior covered the final 24 yards of the drive on four carries.
"We average about 30 pass attempts a game,'' Shanley coach Troy Mattern said. "Obviously, conditions dictated what we did. And the kids battled through the elements.
"We had to run the ball. We have a lot of options. Cooper ran effectively. Any time your quarterback can do that, it opens things up. And I thought we controlled the line of scrimmage. That was the key.''
Red River’s best bid for a score was a first-half drive that reached the Shanley 12-yard line, but was stopped on an interception in the end zone by Talon Hoffer.
"That one really killed us,'' Muir said. "If we could have punched it in and taken a lead on that drive, that could change things that Shanley was trying to do.''
Instead, that turned out to be Red River's only drive to enter Shanley territory.
Tanner Bernhardson rushed for 56 yards to lead the Red River offense.
Shanley improved to 6-1 with the win.