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Boom(er) lowered on Hamilton

Hamilton’s Charlie West (74) and Seth Ray (60) make the stop on Stevensville’s Tyler Gavlak (4) and Josh Haynes (9) during the Battle of the Bitterroot in Stevensville. Stevensville won, 41-13. Jean Schurman photo

Caleb ‘Boomer’ Vance had a hand in five of the six touchdowns the Stevensville Yellowjackets scored against Hamilton on Friday night in an inter valley rivalry game. Stevensville won, 41-13. The Senior Night victory secured a spot in the playoffs for the ‘Jackets.

Vance threw for 260 yards, two touchdowns and completed 12 of 17 passes. He hit Josh Lords twice for touchdowns, once from 27 yards out and again from nine yards out. Vance rushed for 164 yards on 19 carries with touchdown rushes of two yards, 36 yards and 20 yards. Tyler Gavlak had a 70 interception for a touchdown as well.

Vance has played at the varsity level all four years, even though he was one of the smaller players on the team. He said that it was great to have a victory for his last game on the Yellowjacket field.

“Growing up together with Tyler (Gavlak) and everyone else on the team and then having Josh Lords come his sophomore year. I just love playing with these guys,” said Vance. “Hamilton is good, they never gave up. But now we have to take care of the valley, be No. 1 in the valley.”

Gavlak agreed that it was a great way to end his career. After a devastating injury a year ago, Gavlak was unable to play his junior year. “It was great to get a win. I haven’t been able to play here a lot but to have a win, that’s great.”

Hamilton had some bright moments according to coach Travis Blome but ultimately gave up too many big plays. “They are a good team and you can’t make those mistakes. The kids played hard.”

Hamilton’s Josh Bauder hit Nolan Bollen from 29 yards out right after Stevensville’s first score and it looked like the two teams would trade touchdowns before Stevensville’s defense buckled down. Tyler Murray caught a Bauder pass from 21 yards out for the final Bronc touchdown.

Stevensville coach Hank Praast was very pleased with his team’s performance. He said that getting a win over Hamilton was one of the team’s goals this year. “But we still have to beat Corvallis and make sure that we have a home playoff game, then we will have met our goals.”

Praast said he didn’t expect his team to be able to run the ball with as much success as they did Friday night. He credited Vance’s ability to scurry through the line and then drop back for a long pass that mixed up the Broncs’ defense. He said his team has a lot of speed and that speed is tough to defend. He went on to say the Hamilton offense did ‘fool’ his team’s defense a time or two and they would be working on that problem this week.

“We got fooled, but we didn’t’ get beat,” he concluded.

Corvallis lost a close game to Butte Central, 43-36. The Blue Devils put up 22 points in the fourth quarter but time ran out before they could catch the Maroons. Stuart Landis had the first two Corvallis touchdowns on runs of three and four yards. Jake Capko caught a pass from Brandon Butt from 51 yards out in the fourth quarter. Tyler Berner had a two yard scoring run and one from 11 yards out for the final Blue Devil score.

Florence took over first place in District 6B with a 31-14 victory over Ronan. The Falcons opened with a 75 yard kick off return by Tanner Cobbs. He then recovered a fumble and raced 45 yards for the score. Ronan recovered and pulled within five points but never took the lead. Zac Newbary had a field goal from 27 out and a 10 yard pass to Riley Philips. Cobbs also had a three yard scramble for the score.

Darby lost to Philipsburg, 70-52. Victor fell to No. 4 Superior, 57-28.

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