The football season got off to a roaring start with all of the valley teams seeing action. Hamilton and Corvallis played at home while Victor’s home game was moved to Arlee to escape the smoke. Florence, Stevensville and Darby all hit the road. Most of the games were non-conference except for Darby and Victor’s Western C games.
Hamilton was host to the Whitefish Bulldogs. The Broncs were successful behind the play of quarterback Josh Bauder who had a hand in four touchdowns. He completed scoring passes to Kris Cleveland for 23 yards and 25 yards. Bauder also had two scoring runs of one yard each in the 28-27 win. Bauder finished the night with 46 yards rushing and 124 yards passing. He threw 18 passes and completed 11 of them. Matt Turley had 72 yards rushing and Cleveland caught eight passes for 140 yards.
Another team from the north came to Corvallis. Corvallis jumped out to an early lead against the Columbia Falls Wildcats but couldn’t hold on in the second half and fell, 27-20. Tanner Palin scored the first Blue Devil touchdown with a six-yard run. He also ran the two-point conversion into the end zone. Corvallis quarterback Brandon Butt went to the air for the next two touchdowns. Butt hit Blake Sylvester from 54 yards out for six. His next target was Taylor Sylvester from 27 yards out. Neither conversion was successful. The Wildcats came back to score twice in the third quarter and take the lead. Butt completed 11 of 24 passes for 149 yards. Palin had 51 yards and carried the ball 10 times.
Darby had the tough job of taking on Charlo. The Vikings put up 45 point in the first quarter and went on to win, 59-28. Dylan Knox opened the Tiger scoring with a 75-yard kick off return after the fifth Charlo touchdown. Jo Caicedo had a 70-yard scoring run. He also caught a 60-yard reception from Mitch Wolf. Alex Fidley recovered a fumble in the Charlo end zone for the final Darby touchdown.
Victor scored five straight touchdowns before Noxon got on the board in a 64-12 rout of the Red Devils. Junior Matt Kittel was on target for 381 yards passing. He opened the scoring with a 10-yard pass to Corey Deering. Deering caught two more passes for touchdowns. He had 10 receptions for 76 yards. Kittel also hit Nate Bishop from 23 yards and Kyle Ball for 60 yards for a score. Ball had a pick-six from 28 yards out. He finished with 185 yards receiving. Bishop also had a 15-yard scoring run. Terrell Sherill caught a Kittle pass from 24 yards out for a score as well. The Pirates had a fumble recovering in the Red Devil end zone in the second quarter. They will take on Superior, last year’s conference champion, on Friday.
Stevensville made a short trip to Frenchtown for their opener. The ‘Jackets fell to Frenchtown, 22-12. Florence topped Townsend, 27-14.