BILLINGS – The Billings Senior Broncs are headed to their third consecutive Class AA state championship football game. The Broncs ran past Missoula Sentinel 49-7 in the semifinal round of the State AA playoffs Friday night at Daylis Stadium.
With Montana Grizzly commit Gabe Sulser missing most of the game with a nagging groin injury, Senior relied on its other Division I commit. Nolan Askelson, who will continue his playing career at Montana State, threw four touchdowns and ran for another as the Broncs won their 25th consecutive game.
Senior spent much of the first half with the ball in Sentinel territory but didn’t get on the scoreboard until the fourth possession of the second quarter. Askelson threw his first touchdown of the day – a 15 yarder to Carter Garsjo – and then recovered a Sentinel fumble on the Spartans’ next possession.
Askelson then hooked up with Ben LaBeau for a 16-yard score to put Senior up 14-0. Askelson added his rushing touchdown, which was set up by Micah Ans’ seventh interception of the season, late in the quarter to give Senior a 21-0 halftime lead.
If the three-score advantage wasn’t enough, the Broncs dominated the third quarter, scoring three touchdowns and snagging two interceptions. Sentinel attempted an onside kick to start the second half, but Senior recovered to set itself up with a short field again. Blake Allred capped the drive with a one-yard touchdown.
LaBeau intercepted Sentinel and added touchdown receptions of 16 and 31 yards from Askelson, sandwiching an interception by Garsjo. The first five possessions of the second half ended in either a Senior touchdown or a Sentinel interception.
Sentinel quarterback found Nick Germer for a 53-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter, and Senior got a 31-yard touchdown pass from Cade Torgerson to Oran Nash.
Sentinel finishes its season with a 5-6 record. The seventh-seeded Spartans were playing in the semifinal round for the first time since 1989 after defeating crosstown rival Big Sky in last week’s first round.
With the win, Senior improves to 12-0 after finishing last season with a perfect 13-0 record. The Broncs will host Helena High in the State AA championship on Nov. 17.
Senior defeated Helena 43-19 in the teams’ meeting earlier this season.