DILLON – Bennett Gibson threw for 298 yards and three touchdowns to lead Montana Western past Eastern Oregon 30-21 in Frontier Conference play.
Eastern Oregon got on the scoreboard first with a 10-yard run by redshirt freshman Victor Dias. Dias totaled 116 yards and that score on 16 carries.
Gibson’s first touchdown pass of the day came from two yards out to Ryan Sullivan. Gibson put the ball up for grabs in the back corner of the end zone where Sullivan out-jumped the defender to come down with the score.
Western’s secondary was tested continually by Mountaineers quarterback Kai Quinn. Quinn connected on just 16 of 40 passes but threw for 320 yards and two scores. The first of those touchdown passes came on a 57-yard bomb to Brenden Kelly with just under two minutes to go in the first half.
But Western would answer. A quick five-play 75-yard drive was capped by a Hunter Thomsen touchdown run from 11 yards out. Met at the goal line, Thomsen extended the ball across the plain to knot things up at 14 apiece. With 30 seconds, Eastern Oregon had another opportunity to score, and nearly did. A hail-mary as time expired that would have been the go-ahead touchdown was nullified due to a holding call.
The Bulldogs came out with a fire lit under them in the second half. Just two plays in, Western tackled John Lesser in the Mountaineer end zone resulting in a safety. Three plays later, Gibson found George Sherwood up the sideline for a 54-yard touchdown to take a 23-14 lead.
Western had a chance to really blow things open after Christian Hanser intercepted Quinn and returned it to the three yard line. However, Sean Miller was intercepted in the end zone by Justin Hughes.
After the Bulldog defense forced a three-and-out, the big play struck again for Western. Gibson picked up his third touchdown pass of the day finding Melvin Wasler uncovered for a 70-yard score. Eastern Oregon would answer with a 2-yard pass from Quinn to Calvin Conners to cut the deficit to 30-21, but that would be as close as the Mountaineers would get.
Western turned to their star tailback to ice the game in the fourth quarter. Thomsen pounded out first down after first down to keep the clock rolling and Western out in front.
Thomsen again surpassed the 100-yard mark as he piled up 167 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries. George Sherwood led the way for the Bulldogs with three catches for 124 yards and a touchdown. Brenden Kelly recorded five catches for 140 yards and a score.
Montana Western (4-4, 4-3) will travel to Ashland, Ore. next week to take on the Frontier Conference’s top team in Southern Oregon. Eastern Oregon (2-5, 2-5) will play host to College of Idaho.