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8-Man playoffs: Title game pits Fairview vs. Belt in rematch of Week 1 thriller

Reese Paulson
Posted at 4:25 PM, Nov 11, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-11 21:24:53-05

BELT — In search of its second straight state title, Belt is marching back into the 8-Man championship game.

Led by Reese Paulson and Ethan Triplett, the Huskies rolled over Ennis 44-6 in the semifinal round Saturday to advance to next week’s title contest where they face a rematch with Fairview for 8-Man supremacy.

The Huskies struck first against Ennis, taking a 6-0 lead on a 46-yard touchdown pass from Paulson to Triplett. Paulson later added to Belt’s lead with an 8-yard touchdown carry, and after a successful two-point try the score was 14-0.

With about 3:00 left in the first half the Huskies stretched the advantage, this time on a 5-yard run by Triplett and a 22-0 advantage. Belt took a 28-0 lead into halftime as Paulson ran in another touchdown

The Huskies continued the onslaught after halftime with a J.D. Shepard touchdown, making the score 36-0. Paulson and Triplett weren’t done, either. The duo hooked up for a 59-yard score after that, and another two-pointer put Belt ahead 44-0.

Belt (8-1) won its eighth consecutive game since a one-point loss to Fairview in the season opener. Ennis finished its season with an 11-1 record.

Fairview 48, Fort Benton 12

FAIRVIEW — Tyler Tjelde threw four touchdown passes Saturday and Fairview routed Fort Benton 48-12 on Saturday to earn a berth in the 8-Man state championship game.

Fairview advances to play Belt next week, which is a rematch of a game the Warriors won 22-21 on Aug. 26.

Tjelde hit Deacon Gackle with touchdown passes of 8, 24 and 8 yards as Fairview built a 42-6 halftime lead. Brock Schlothauer scored touchdowns on the ground and through the air for the Warriors.

Other touchdown scorers for Fairview were Wyatt McPherson, who scored on a 10-yard run, and Tyler Loan, who found the end zone on a 12-yard scamper.

Fort Benton scored bookend touchdowns — a two-yard run by Layne Wallace to start the game and a 3-yard run by Cade Ball to finish it.

Fairview improved its record to 12-0 while Fort Benton finished its season with an 8-4 mark.