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Nine St. Mary's players named to Class AA all-state football team

Nine St. Mary's players named to Class AA all-state football team

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St. Mary's and Beulah proved to be the cream of the crop in Class AA football this season.

The Saints capped their perfect 11-0 season with a memorable 17-7 victory over the Miners at the Dakota Bowl on Nov. 13 at the Fargodome.

Befitting their seasons, St. Mary's and Beulah highlighted the Class AA all-state team. The Saints and Miners combined for 16 selections, including nine from the state champs.

St. Mary's had four players named first team all-state on both sides of the ball.

Leading the way was senior Cullen Curl. The Saints' tailback accounted for 22 touchdowns on the season, including 20 on the ground. In all, he rushed for 1,146 yards on 175 carries. He also caught five passes for 82 yards and a score in being named the Class AA Senior Athlete of the Year.

Quarterback Jackson Uhler, wide receiver Brit Senftner and Zach Haas also were named to the first-team offense.

In his lone season as a starter, and coming off an injury in his junior campaign, Uhler had to earn the QB job for the Saints in fall camp. He did, and then excelled. Uhler threw for 1,059 yards and 12 touchdowns, but also was dangerous when he tucked and ran. Uhler averaged 6.7 yards a pop -- good for 432 yards and three touchdowns -- as a dual threat for the Saints.

Senftner and Haas were both two-way standouts for the Saints.

Senftner, a junior, was named to the all-state team as a wide receiver, where he led the Saints in receptions (22), yards (328) and TD catches (3). The 6-foot-3, 185-pounder also was a stalwart defensively with 27 tackles, three for loss, and one interception.

Haas also excelled both ways. On offense, he played tackle for the Saints' offense, which averaged 35.5 points and 355 yards of offense per game. Defensively, Haas had three sacks, including a game-winning take down of Kindred quarterback Max McQuillan in the Saints' 20-15 semifinal victory on Nov. 7.

The Saints' statistics offensively were depressed comparatively based on so many of their games being blowouts. For the season, St. Mary's outscored their opponents 391-53, including 292-15 in the first half.

Reece Barnhardt, who led the Saints' defense in tackles (68), tackles-for-loss (22) and sacks (3), was one of four St. Mary's players named to the first team defense. Barnhardt also had a pair of defensive touchdowns.

Barnhardt, a senior linebacker, was joined by D-linemen Jack Weikum, Chase Russell and defensive back Thomas Jackson.

Weikum, a 6-0, 245-pound junior, had 11 tackles-for-loss among his 30 tackles. Also a starter on the offensive line, he also forced four fumbles.

Russell ranked third on the Saints in tackles with 43. He also had eight tackles-for-loss and eight quarterback hurries.

Jackson excelled at his cornerback position. The 6-0, 185-pound senior had a whopping 13 pass break-ups and two interceptions. A two-way starter, Jackson had two receiving touchdowns and one rushing as the Saints' fullback.

Isaac Felchle, a junior linebacker, was named to the second team. Felchle ranked second on the St. Mary's roster with 55 tackles, including eight for loss. He also forced three fumbles and had an interception. 

St. Mary's head coach Dan Smrekar was named the Class AA Coach of the Year after leading the Saints to their eighth state championship.

Beulah (8-3) played St. Mary's tough twice during the season, losing 21-13 during the regular season.

Senior offensive linemen Jacob Klaudt and Aaron Ripplinger were named to the first team offense from coach Jim Dooley's Miners.

Tackling machine linebacker Trapper Skalsky was named to the first team defense. Skalsky returns for his senior season in 2021 for Beulah. 

Also named to the first team defense was versatile senior Nate Battest, who played multiple positions on both sides of the ball for Beulah, including quarterback, running back, linebacker and defensive back.

The Miners had three players named to the second team in senior running back/cornerback Dawson Zuroff, senior tight end/linebacker Carson Weigum and junior lineman Tayton Vondra. 

Hazen had two players honored.

Senior tight end/linebacker Austin Richter was named to the first team. Junior wide receiver/cornerback Dawson Bruner earned second-team designation.

Reach Tribune sports editor Dave Selvig at (701) 250-8246 or david.selvig@bismarcktribune.com

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