Nearly midway through the first quarter of their Montana Class B high school football playoff game, the underdog Baker-Plevna Spartans led the host Eureka Lions, 16-14.
But the surprising beginning didn’t last long as the Lions scored 42 straight points to turn the game into a runaway On a 65-24 win on a warm and sunny Saturday afternoon.
After Baker’s Guy Lesh returned a kickoff 75 yards for a touchdown and Riley O’Donnell’s PAT run made it 16-14 in favor of the visitors, the Lions (9-0) got stingy on defense.
After the ensuing kickoff, Eureka’s Chet McCully broke off a 74-yard scoring run. Quarterback Hank Dunn threw to Jake Kindel for the conversion, the Lions led 22-16 and never looked back.
The Lions scored five more times to push the lead to 58-16. When the advantage reached 35 points, the mercy rule went into effect and the rest of the game was played with a running clock.
McCully had a monster game for Eureka, running 18 times for 331 yards and five touchdowns. He scored on runs of 30, 74, 58, 30 and 28 yards.
Kindel (7-74) and Dunn (4-61) also had plenty of success running the ball. Kindel scored two touchdowns and Dunn scored once on the ground. Kindel added a TD catch from Dunn, too.
Eureka enjoyed success throwing the ball. Dunn hit 6 of 9 passes for 87 yards and one TD. Caleb Utter hit 2 of 3 throws for 28 yards.
The Lions finished with 583 total yards, including 468 rushing. They needed just 44 plays.
For the Spartans, other than a few big plays, they didn’t get much going on offense.
Baker, which made a 750-mile trip that began Thursday, started well, but sputtered later.
They finished with 192 yards offense on 41 plays, including 157 rushing.
Dillon Hickey led the run game with 96 yards on 21 carries. Quarterback Riley O’Donnell had 37 yards on seven runs.
Eureka’s Grady Seal had an interception that set up the Lions’ second touchdown - a 30-yard run by McCully.
Johnny Fehr’s strip-sack of O’Donnell and his recovery of the ball put the Lions in great shape and they capitalized.
Starting from Baker’s 27, the Lions found paydirt quickly as Kindel barreled in from the 1 after back-to-back runs of 10 and 11 yards.
Eureka will host Columbus next Saturday. Columbus, the No. 2 seed from the South, beat Glasgow/Hinsdale/Nashua, 28-24 to advance to the state quarterfinals.
Baker 16 8 0 0 - 24
Eureka 35 23 7 0 - 65
B — Dillon Hickey 65 run (Riley O’Donnell run)
E — Hank Dunn 30 run (kick failed)
E — Chet McCully 30 run (McCully run)
B — Guy Lesh 75 kickoff return (O’Donnell run)
E — McCully 74 run (Dunn pass to Jake Kindel)
E — Kindel 1 run (Danny Dunn kick)
E — McCully 58 run (kick failed)
E — Kindel 16 catch from Dunn (Dunn run)
E — Kindel 10 run (McCully run)
E — McCully 30 run (Danny Dunn kick)
B — Konner Flint 7 catch from Cooper Peterson (Jory Miller run)
E — McCully 28 run (Danny Dunn kick)
First downs 6 23
Rushing 30-157 32-468
Passing 4-11-1-35 8-12-0-115
Total offense 192 583
Fumbles-Lost 2-2 0-0
Penalties 4-25 9-85
Punts 3-31 1-15
Red Lodge 28, Bigfork 25
Bigfork lost a tight battle with Red Lodge in the first round of the Class B playoffs in Red Lodge on Saturday.
The Vikings collected three touchdowns in the first quarter – including two touchdown runs by Levi Taylor – to take a 19-14 lead into the second quarter.
Coach Patrick Munson said both teams “exploded on each other offensively” early before the defenses settled into the game.
“It was a hard-hitting, power-running kind of day,” Munson said. He said an icy field made the passing game especially difficult.
The Rams managed the only other score before halftime and took a 21-19 lead into the break.
Red Lodge expanded its lead with a touchdown late in the third quarter, but Kainin Lafontaine responded with an 89-yard kickoff return to cut Bigfork’s deficit to three.
Needing a score in the fourth quarter, Bigfork had to turn to the air, but two interceptions by the Rams sealed a Red Lodge victory.
The Vikings finish the season 3-6 overall.
Red Lodge 14 7 7 0 – 28
Bigfork 19 0 6 0 – 25
RL – Finnegan Davis 7 run (Jay Graham kick), 9:18
B – Levi Taylor 18 run (Tanner Stone kick), 7:59
RL – Davis 77 run (Graham kick), 7:28
B – Luke Benson 48 run (Stone kick no good), 6:24
B – Taylor 6 run (conversion no good), 1:57
RL – Braden Tomlin 6 run (Graham kick good), 9:49
RL – Austin Heimer 1 run (Graham kick good), 3:09
B – Kainin Lafontaine 89 kick return (conversion no good), 2:54
First downs 14 20
Rushing 36-247 49-326
Passing 4-10-76 5-12-55
Total offense 323 381
Fumbles-lost 1-1 0-0
Penalties 5-30 6-45
RUSHING – Bigfork, Levi Taylor 21-156, Luke Benson 2-53, Kainin Lafontaine 8-26, Patrick Wallen 4-14; Red Lodge, Finnegan Davis 20-135, Braden Tomlin 9-92, Rizon Berndt 5-43, Austin Heimer 7-30, Jay Jetmore 7-25, Bannack Kisthard 1-1.
PASSING – Bigfork, Patrick Wallen 4-10-2-76; Red Lodge, Austin Heimer 4-9-45, Braden Tomlin 1-3-10.
RECEIVING – Bigfork, Kainin Lafontaine 3-73, Walker Fisher 1-3; Red Lodge, Braden Tomlin 4-45, Austin Heimer 1-10.