Shanley Deacons Football: “Everyone is Just There for Each Other”

Despite the Shanley senior's love of sports, he has only been able to watch and support his friends and classmates from the sideline

FARGO, ND — This season was filled with memorable moments for the Class 2A runners-up.

Running the table during the regular season is an impressive feat, but no moment was bigger than what happened in the final quarter of the regular season finale against Devils Lake.

Sports usually comes down to the x’s and o’s.

Wins and losses.

Who has scored the most points on the scoreboard.

But Shanley Deacon Super Fan, Joe Keller, thinks sports are more than that.

“The first game that I came to, I was pretty impressed by the brotherhood,” Keller said. “Everyone is just there for each other.”

At a young age, Keller was diagnosed with muscular distrophy.

Despite the Shanley senior’s love of sports, he has only been able to watch and support his friends and classmates from the sideline.

That was until Shanley’s last regular season game a couple of weeks ago.

“The parents were on the field for Senior Night, said Head Coach Troy Mattern. “I had mentioned to his mom and dad before the game that come fourth quarter, ‘your son might have an opportunity to score a touchdown.’ For Joe, we kept it pretty secret. I told his dad to be ready to come down to the field in the fourth quarter, just in case he got an opportunity.”

“I was pretty excited,” said Keller’s dad, Gary. “Right away, from my standpoint, I was kind of getting emotional about it. My focus, even though I was taking a lot of pictures, was watching the score. Obviously, the scoring situation had to be right, so I was watching that closely.”

With seconds left in the regular season for the Deacons, Keller rolled his way to the end zone for more than just a touchdown.

“It was very special,” Keller said.  “Everyone came and celebrated with me. It always makes it more fun when the team comes and celebrates with you. That is just the way we are. We celebrate each others’ successes.”

“It is truly what high school athletics are,” said Coach Mattern. “We get caught up in wins and losses so many times. An opportunity for Joe Keller to experience this, it is something that will last a lifetime for not only him, but all of us that are a part of the Deacon community.”

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