Stillwater County goes 4-0 during big homecoming week
Nothing was going to ruin Absarokee’s homecoming. Not the constant, mist-like rain, not the 37 degree weather, and certainly not the Broadview-Lavina Pirates.
With a palpable energy that endured the entire game, the Huskies brought home their first win last Friday.
It began with a Broadview-Lavina safety about two and a half minutes into the game, when the ball was snapped out of the end zone.
Two first downs and about two minutes later, Senior Jonas Williams found the end zone on a 17-yard run for the first Husky touchdown of the night.
After the Absarokee defense held the Pirates to a three-and-out possession, it only took two first downs for the Huskies to make it back to the end zone, this time on a quarterback keep by Joaquin Pilcher.
Going into the second quarter the Huskies were up 16-0, and they were just getting warmed up.
Before halftime, Absarokee added 30 more points to the scoreboard.
Williams scored three more touchdowns – one passing and two rushing. Pilcher ran in another touchdown, and the Husky defense forced another Pirate safety.
At halftime, Absarokee went into the locker room up 46-0.
The second half began with a bang for the Huskies when Zacc Degele ran back the opening kick-off for a 75-yard touchdown.
After that, play slowed as both teams failed to move the chains.
At the end of the quarter, Absarokee capitalized after recovering a Broadview-Lavina fumble – Logan Finley ran in an 8-yard touchdown.
During the fourth quarter, the Pirates finally reached the end zone, but the touchdown was called back due to a holding penalty.
There would be no more points scored, cementing the final score at 58-0.
Absarokee racked up 266 offensive yards to Broadview-Lavina’s -15 yards. Only 14 of the Huskies’ yards came through the air – the other 252 came on the ground.
Williams led the team with 135 rushing yards on 15 attempts, and all of the team’s receiving yards on one catch. Degele put up 68 yards on seven carries.
Roman Zugaza performed well defensively, leading Absarokee with 6.5 tackles – four solos, five assists, and two sacks. Simon Hanson was close behind with six tackles – four solos, four assists, and 0.5 sack. Mikol Degele had 5.5 tackles (five solos, one assist, and 0.5 sack), and Zacc Degele put up 4.5 tackles (four solos, one assist, and one sack).
While the Pirates struggled to hang on to the ball in the cold, wet weather, the Huskies were not fazed, and Absarokee Coach Chris Gunderson said his team actually enjoyed playing in the wet, muddy conditions.
Gunderson said his team played their best game of the season against the Pirates, setting a good tone beginning the second half of the season.
“Entering the next four games we have to hit hard, play for each other, and play for the win,” he said.
This Saturday, Absarokee faces Denton-Geyser-Stanford. Both teams enter the game with a 1-4 record.
Gunderson expects the game to be good and hard-hitting, with the team that puts together the better, more complete game coming out on top.
The Cougars also brought home their first win of the season on a chilly homecoming night, with a dominating performance against the Red Lodge Rams.
Carson West kick-started the game for Columbus, scoring two touchdowns in the first quarter – one receiving and one rushing – to give the Cougars a lead they would never lose.
The only points scored in the second quarter were off a Red Lodge safety, and the Cougars went into halftime up 16-0.
Columbus’ momentum never slowed in the second half.
Dylan Raihl caught a 2-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter, and the final quarter of the game saw three more Cougars score.
Kenneth Smith had a 47-yard touchdown run, followed by a 6-yard rushing touchdown from Colton Getz. Connor Goddard caught a 24-yard pass for the final Columbus touchdown of the game.
In the end, the Cougars shut-out the Rams with a score of 46-0.
On Friday, Columbus was much more balanced offensively than earlier this season, with 141 of the 388 total yards coming on the ground. Coach Blake Hoge credits his offensive line for “getting it done in the trenches despite the snowy and muddy field.”
Quarterback Eddie Foos completed 16 of 28 attempts for 223 yards, including two touchdowns and three two-point conversions. Junior Carson West also put up 24 yards at quarterback, throwing the final touchdown of the game.
Smith led the Cougars’ ground game with 79 yards and one touchdown on eight carries. He was followed by Getz with 27 yards and one touchdown on six attempts.
Raihl once again led his team in the receiving category with 112 yards and one touchdown on six receptions. West also had a good game, putting up 43 yards and one touchdown on four receptions. Dylan Wyllie caught two of the team’s four two-point conversions.
The Cougar defense allowed only 38 total offensive yards.
Tommy Campbell had five tackles, including one sack, one tackle for loss, and two forced fumbles. Getz was right behind with 4.5 tackles, including three tackles for loss, and Michael Jacobson rounded out the top defensive players with four tackles.
Hoge was proud of the perseverance and improvement his team has shown throughout the entire season, despite some tough losses. He said it really came together on Friday with the most complete game the Cougars have this season offensively, defensively, and on special teams.
“We were finally able to show what we can actually do, and I’m hoping we can use this momentum to help us push through the rest of the season,” Hoge said.
At the mid-way point in the season, Hoge says the team is focusing on perfecting aspects of the game it already does well, in addition to re-emphasizing the fundamentals. He feels the team is starting to understand the intricacies of the scheme, and there will be continued improvement on that front as the season progresses.
Columbus faces Three Forks at home this Friday. Despite recent struggles, the Wolves go into the game with a 1-2 conference record, similar to the Cougars, but Three Fork’s 2-2 overall record places them higher in the standings than Columbus.
According to Hoge, “We need to show up focused and play disciplined football to come away with the win.”
Stillwater County was undefeated in homecoming football games, with RPR posting a win against Custer-Hysham on Friday.
Coach Derek Marsh said his players came out with great energy and worked well as a team in the 39-30 victory.
As far as a game plan to tackle the second part of the season, Marsh said, “As a team, we need to concentrate a lot on focus and execution in the back half of this season.”
The Renegades travel to Fromberg on Saturday. Marsh said the players will need to approach the game with confidence and a lot of energy.
The Panthers continued their winning ways with a 54-34 win over Denton-Geyser-Stanford.
Unlike some of Park City’s recent games, Friday’s game was close, with each team scoring three touchdowns in the first half. A failed two-point conversion was the difference heading into halftime, with DGS leading 22-20.
After half, the Panthers found their groove, out-scoring the Bearcats two-to-one during the third quarter and three-to-one in the fourth.
By the conclusion of the game, Park City more than doubled DGS in total offensive yards, 323 to 143. The majority of the Panther offense – 315 yards – took place on the ground, with Park City only putting up eight passing yards.
Sophomore Carson Baker and senior Rylan Gauthier both had big days offensively, with each scoring three touchdowns. Baker rushed for all three of his touchdowns, but Gauthier scored in a variety of ways – on a pass, on a kickoff return, and on an interception return.
Junior Connor McNeil scored a touchdown on a 69-yard run.
“It was a very good team win, as we had to overcome some early adversity,” Coach Mark Rathbun explained. “We made some adjustments, took care of the ball much better in the second half, and the defense really stepped up again to help us earn the win.”
Park City faces a tough, 10th ranked Lone Peak team away on Saturday. Both teams have each only lost once, and to the same opponent – Tri-City. Rathbun says the game will be a good test for the Panthers.
Entering the second half of the season, Park City will take each game one at a time, preparing for each opponent, while emphasizing taking care of the football and improvement, according to Rathbun.