FARGO — All season long, the Valley City football team has been one of the state's most dominant defensive teams, limiting opponents to an average of less than two touchdowns per game.
Friday night's game with Fargo Shanley was no different, as the Hi-Liner defense stopped nearly everything the defending state runner-up threw at it.
The only miscue came on a 90-yard reverse to the left side by Danny Stasch. It was the play that made the difference as the Hi-Liners fell 6-0 to the No. 2 ranked Deacons.
"I'm proud of the effort our guys gave," said Valley City coach Scott Roehrich. "The difference in the football game was one play."
It was a play that seemed to catch the Hi-Liners off-guard as Shanley quarterback Chase Montplaisir faked a few handoffs to his right, shifting Valley City's defense, before pitching it to Stasch on the right, who broke free and ran it all the way. The Deacons failed to convert the two-point conversion following.
The win puts Shanley in a tie for first place in the AA Eastern Division with Grafton and leaves Valley City in a three-team tie for third place with Wahpeton and Central Cass.
Throughout the game, the Valley City defense caused plenty of problems, but the Hi-Liner offense had minor issues of their own.
After returning the opening kickoff to their own 40, the Hi-Liners used four running plays to get the ball to the Shanley 37.
On the next play, the Hi-Liners fumbled and lost the ball to Shanley.
The next drive ended the same way as the Hi-Liners worked the ball across the field and into the red zone before losing a fumble at the Shanley nine-yard line.
Roehrich said minor mistakes like the fumbles aren't as minor in a close game.
"When you play a good team, that margin for error just isn't very big anymore," he said.
The Hi-Liners continually kept Shanley's offense at bay, including a stop on a fourth-and-two late in the first half, but couldn't get the ball within Shanley's 10.
The Hi-Liners eventually got a break, recovering a fumble at Shanley's 34-yard line with seven minutes left
But Shanley's defense stayed strong and allowed only two rushing yards on the next drive, which included a false start against Valley City. Shanley got the ball back after two straight passes by Austin Svenningsen were knocked down by Shanley's Alex Berg.
The Hi-Liners remain in the hunt for a playoff spot with two games left in the regular season. The Hi-Liners play their final regular season home game Thursday night against Central Cass.
GBC 12, Kindred 6
Griggs/Barnes County got its first win of the season, beating Kindred 12-6 Friday in Cooperstown.
The Titans fell behind in the second quarter on a 3-yard run by Fletcher Andel. GBC then had a two-yard touchdown run by Wyatt Steckler in the third quarter and a 58-yard pass from Tim Erker to Jacoby Kramlich in the fourth.
The Titans play their home finale Thursday against Wahpeton in Wimbledon.
LLM 50, Sargent Central 20
The LaMoure/Litchville-Marion football team, which received votes in the latest 9-Man football poll, beat Sargent Central 50-20 in Forman Friday.
The Loboes end the regular season at 7 p.m. Friday at home against Richland.