WHITEHALL – Mike White said last Saturday he had no problem going to his field goal kicker if the game called for it. Shelby’s head coach called on Wyatt Brusven for a second straight week as the Coyotes edged Whitehall 16-13 in the second round of the Class B football playoffs.
Brusven, who drilled a 37-yard field goal to lift Shelby past Bigfork in the opening round, connected on a 31-yard field goal with 17 seconds remaining. White kept his trust in the special teams, calling for a pooch kick on the ensuing kickoff. The Coyotes recovered and ran out the clock for the victory.
And it is GOOD! COYOTES 16 WHITEHALL 13. 17 SECONDS. FINISH! pic.twitter.com/YwIfLhQyiv
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— Shelby Schools (@shelby_schools) November 4, 2017
After Whitehall took an early 7-0 lead on a Sawyer Keener touchdown, Aaron White found Brusven for a passing touchdown to bring the Coyotes to within 7-6. The Trojans pieced together a 90-yard drive, but threw an interception in the end zone to keep the score at 7-6 heading into halftime.
The Trojans struck first in the second half, converting a fourth-and-six play from Max Feight to Sawyer Keener. The conversion set up a Feight touchdown run to give Whitehall a 13-6 lead with 3:55 remaining in the third quarter.
Whitehall nearly added to its lead in the final frame, but Feight’s fourth-and-goal pass attempt from the three-yard line was broken up by Damon Irvin, giving the Coyotes the ball trailing by seven. Brusven broke a 32-yard run to give Shelby breathing room, then White hit Brock Whitted on a pretty pass to move the Coyotes inside the five-yard line. White found the end zone moments later and Brusven tacked on the extra point to tie the game at 13.
Shelby intercepted Feight on the ensuing Whitehall possession, setting up a two-minute drill for the Coyotes. White’s pass to Barrett Hansen on third-and-15 kept the drive alive with 1:23 to play. Shelby’s drive stalled on the 15-yard line, as Mike White gave the nod to Brusven to attempt his second straight game-winning kick. The ball sailed high and through the uprights to lift Shelby to the 16-13 advantage. The Coyotes recovered the high onside kick to seal the victory.
With the win, Shelby earns a home playoff game in the semifinals. The Coyotes will welcome Missoula Loyola, which toppled Colstrip 27-18.
FAIRFIELD – Ryder Meyer and Fairfield built a 22-0 first half lead and held off a Huntley Project rally for a 36-21 victory in the Class B football quarterfinals. The game was a rematch of the 2015 state championship.
Meyer, Fairfield’s quarterback, hit Ethan Schenk for a touchdown midway through the first quarter, giving the Eagles a 7-0 advantage. Meyer converted a key fourth down to keep the drive alive.
Griffen Lee added to Fairfield’s lead with a one-yard touchdown plunge with 2:55 to play in the opening quarter. Dawson Allen’s 38-yard touchdown from the wildcat formation gave the Eagles a 22-0 lead.
Guy Croy and Huntley Project found a spark with running back Lane Sumner, the future Montana State Bobcat. Three big runs from Sumner set up a Tylan Croy touchdown run from a yard out to put Huntley Project on the board, trailing 22-7.
The teams traded interceptions in the final minutes of the opening half, each looking for points. After Allen intercepted a Croy pass, Fairfield gave the ball right back to the Red Devils on a pass attempt in the red zone. Huntley Project again decided to chase points, but Keeley Bake picked off Croy to set up a Meyer touchdown. Fairfield led 29-7 at halftime.
Following a scoreless third quarter, Croy found Keenan Reynolds for a Huntley Project touchdown, bringing the Red Devils to within 29-21. The Eagles missed a field goal attempt with 1:49 to play, giving Huntley Project a chance to drive downfield for the tie, but Kolbe Pitcher returned an interception 30 yards to seal the win for Fairfield.
The Eagles travel to Eureka, the defending Class B champion.
Missoula Loyola 27, Colstrip 18
COLSTRIP – Missoula Loyola overcame three Chadd Naillon touchdowns to defeat Colstrip 27-18 in the second round of the Class B football playoffs.
Trailing 7-0, Naillon electrified the crowd with a 99-yard touchdown run to put the Colts on the board. Loyola still led 7-6 after a missed extra point.
The Rams went to Montana Grizzly commit David Koppang for a 14-6 lead, but Naillon again answered with a three-yard score to bring Colstrip to within two. Cody Blaede’s interception helped set up the drive for the Colts.
Loyola held a 21-12 lead at halftime, but Naillon again found a seam in the Rams’ defense, breaking a 79-yard touchdown run on the first play of the second half, but Colstrip wouldn’t score again.
Missoula Loyola travels to Shelby in next week’s Class B semifinals. The Rams defeated the Coyotes 9-0 in early September, though the Coyotes were missing two of their star players.
Eureka 36, Manhattan 0
EUREKA – Garrett Graves had three rushing touchdowns in the first half and threw for a another score in the third quarter as defending champion Eureka beat Manhattan 36-0 in the Class B football quarterfinals.
Saturday was the third shutout of the season for the Eureka defense, which has allowed only 8.3 points per contest this season. The Lions gave up only six points against Cut Bank last week in the opening round of the postseason.
The victory was also the latest for Graves, the senior quarterback who has committed to the Montana Grizzlies. Graves found the end zone twice in the first quarter and scored another rushing touchdown in the second to give Eureka the momentum. He tossed a touchdown pass to Thomas Dunn in the third quarter to help lead the Lions back to the semifinals. The program won its first state championship last season on a hail mary from Graves to former receiver Austyn Sherwood, who is a freshman on the Carroll College football roster.
Eureka, which has home field advantage throughout the playoffs, welcomes Fairfield in next weekend’s Class B semifinals.