St. Mary’s 2018 team maybe Dan Smrekar’s best coaching job of his career.
“Concerns were really just really that we felt we had the talent,” head coach Dan Smrekar said. “Just putting the talent in the right spots.
That was big task as the Saints lost a huge senior class from 2017.
“It’s kind of puzzle when you first start to make sure you got kids in the right spot,” Smrekar said.
St. Mary’s had to replace a quarterback, running back and it’s top wide receiver.
“At the beginning,” Holten Bradley said, “maybe some were a little skeptical.
We figured out that we have a lot of skill players that stepped up, worked hard and prepared well for this season.”
And while they names change, the results have not.
“Every year is similar,” Dan Smrekar said, “but we worry about this year with this group of kids.”
What is weird, is how similar 2018 is to 2017. In both seasons, St. Mary’s posted an 8-1 record in the regular season. They lost to Fargo Shanley and will get a chance at redemption against them in the state title game.
“We’ve had great rivalry with Shanley,” Smrekar said. “We’ve had great games with them. They are all close. They are hard fought. Both teams and both sets of kids leave it on the field.”
The Saints say if they want to win, they cannot make mistakes.
“We can play a lot better than we did at Shanley,” Holten Bradley said. “They are good team and it’s going to be tough matchup.”
St. Mary’s plays at 3:20 p.m. on Friday.
St. Mary’s is undefeated in state title games since the North Dakota High School Activities Association went to four-class system in football.