Two football teams have earned the chance to play this weekend in the first round of the playoffs. Hamilton defeated Stevensville and will host Polson on Saturday at 1 p.m. in first round action. This is the first home playoff game in 14 years and the Broncs are excited.
“We had some high goals coming into the year,” said Hamilton coach Travis Blome. “We had some highs and lows but I’m proud of the perseverance of the kids and how much hard work they put into this and they deserve this.”
Hamilton defeated Stevensville, 19-12, in what Blome described as a ‘dog fight’ on Friday night to finish second in the Southwest A conference. Dillon, the defending state champion, has the No. 1 seed.
Hamilton got on the scoreboard first when Josh Bauder hit Teague Blome from eight yards out for the six points. Karill Apedaile kicked the extra point. The two teams continued to duke it out and Stevensville’s Kyle Behner came back to make an 11-yard dash up the middle for the score. The PAT was no good and Hamilton had a one-point lead. Hamilton’s Bauder called his own number and pushed through the line from the one-yard line for another six points but the PAT went wide.
The game was filled with penalties that either stopped the score or negated a score for both teams. Stevensville’s Chris Lords caught a 28 yard pass from Jared Schultz to put the ‘Jacket’s final score on the board. That was in the third quarter. The PAT was not good. Hamilton didn’t get into the end zone again but Apedaile kicked field goals of 22 and 23 yards to put six more points on the board. Just after the fourth quarter began, Stevensville marched down the field with Behner leading the way. They got all the way to the 31-yard line before the Bronc defense got them stopped.
“We just had a dog fight with them,” said Blome. “To their credit, they came out and played really hard. It was a tough one. The ‘O’ line played well, our quarterback made some plays when we need him to. Our defense stepped up and played the way they needed to.”
Victor also will be in the playoffs this Saturday but they will be on the road in White Sulpher Springs. The Pirates lost to Charlo, 58-44, to seal their fate. Charlo, Victor, Superior and Drummond were in a four-way tie for first before the games over the weekend. On Friday night, Superior topped Drummond but because Charlo had defeated Superior earlier, they took the No. 1 seed. Victor has the No. 3 seed because they defeated Drummond three weeks ago.
Matt Kittel made his return after being on the sidelines with an injury for three weeks. Kittel completed 27 of 46 passes for 371 yards. He threw six scoring passes. Nate Bishop caught passes of 44, 29, 29, 20 yards and six yards. Kittel also hit Brady Tuttle from 35 yards out. Robert Schmidt had a one-yard plunge for a score as well. Victor spotted Charlo two touchdowns before they got on the board. The Vikings used a balanced attack of passing and rushing to keep and build on the lead. Victor will play at 1 p.m.
Florence finished their season with only one win. They lost to Ronan, 20-13, on Friday. Corvallis lost to Butte Central and Darby lost to Noxon.