BOZEMAN — Trailing by three points with 2 minutes, 37 seconds remaining, Glacier (2-0) drove 80 yards down the field and scored a touchdown with 15 seconds to play, winning a 49-45 shootout over Class AA rival Bozeman (0-1) on Friday night at Van Winkle Stadium.
Glacier quarterback Tadan Gilman rolled right on a bootleg and found Scout Willcut in the back of the end zone for the winning score with the clock winding down. The Wolfpack found huge chunks of yards on the ground in the drive, with running back Drew Turner ripping off a pair of 20-plus yard runs and Gilman escaping a sack to scramble for 13 yards to move Glacier into the red zone.
It was the passing game that capped it off in a back-and-forth game that saw five lead changes.
“It might have been one of the best high school football games I’ve ever been a part of,” Glacier coach Grady Bennett said.
Bozeman took an early 20-7 lead but the Wolfpack scored two quick touchdowns, both on Turner runs, to pull ahead 21-20 with 2:24 left in the half. It was the beginning of a trend for the Wolfpack, which answered every scoring run the Hawks made with one of its own.
The Hawks retook the lead entering the halftime break and scored on two touchdown passes in the third quarter to pull back ahead 39-21 and looked to be running away.
Glacier then scored 21 unanswered points, Gilman finding Jackson Pepe at the end of the third quarter and Patrick O’Connell twice early in the fourth to take a 42-39 lead.
Bozeman drove 88 yards on eight plays to retake the lead, but Glacier blocked the extra point to leave the deficit within a field goal at 45-42.
“You send a kid out in that situation, down by three with 2:37, it’s fun because you tell the kid, ‘This is when legends are made’,” Bennett said. “You feel like at that time they can’t stop you. The kids were so confident. The good thing was we did have enough time that we could run the football.”
On their final drive, the Wolfpack needed just two plays on the ground to drive into Bozeman territory and the third was a 20-yard run from Turner. A few plays later, Turner made a few tacklers miss and picked up a first down at the Bozeman 7-yard line with 21 seconds to play. Glacier called a timeout to discuss its options: to continue on the ground, go to the air or rely on its big-legged kicker to send the game to overtime.
“The O-linemen, they wanted to run it. That’s pretty cool. Our linemen were begging to run the football. We called the play-action pass and Scout Willcut got behind the secondary, but it’s neat when your O-line is in the huddle begging to run behind us two more times. The kids knew they were going to get it done.
“We like to empower them and give them a lot of ownership. I asked them if they want to tie this up right now or go for it. Unanimously they said, ‘Let’s go for it.’”
The score left little time on the clock. Bozeman ran two plays after receiving the ball deep but couldn’t get anything near the end zone.
Full stats weren’t available for the game.
Glacier 7 14 8 20 — 49
Bozeman 13 13 13 6 — 45
Boz — Callahan O’Reilly 27-yard pass to Lance McCutcheon, 10:20 (Connor Coles kick)
Boz — O’Reilly 10 pass to Logan Kleinhans, 8:53 (Coles kick blocked), 8:53
Gla — Drew Turner 1 run (Cameron Anderson kick), 4:41
Boz — O’Reilly 5 pass to McCutcheon (Coles kick), 11:31
Gla — Turner 23 run (Anderson kick), 6:32
Gla — Turner 3 run (Anderson kick), 2:24
Boz — O’Reilly 30 pass to McCutcheon (Coles kick miss), 1:22
Boz — O’Reilly 25 pass to Kleinhans (2-point failed), 7:33
Boz — O’Reilly 10 pass to McCutcheon (Coles kick), 3:38
Gla — Tadan Gilman 25 pass to Jackson Pepe (2-point good), 1:16
Gla — Gilman 30 pass to O’Connell (Anderson kick), 9:37
Gla — Gilman 23 pass to O’Connell (Anderson kick missed), 5:24
Boz — O’Reilly 2 pass to Bailey Paddock (Coles kick blocked), 2:57
Gla — Gilman 8 pass to Scout Willcut (Anderson kick), :15