(Editor's note: this article will be updated)
Park City 32, Scobey 20
PARK CITY – Park City is moving on to the semifinals.
The Panthers topped visiting Scobey on Saturday in the quarterfinals of the 8-Man playoffs, 32-20, behind four total touchdowns from junior Wyatt Hamilton.
LINK: 2021 8-Man football playoffs scores, pairings
Park City quarterback Jacob Gauthier opened the scoring early in the second quarter with a 6-yard touchdown run, but Scobey quickly answered back with a 2-yard touchdown run by its quarterback Boen Tande.
The two sides continued to trade scores in the second quarter, as a 37-yard scoring strike from Gauthier to Hamilton gave the Panthers a 12-8 lead briefly. The Spartans marched down the field and scored on a 35-yard run by Zakariah Traeholt with less than a minute before halftime.
But that was too much time for Park City’s explosive offense, as Gauthier again hit Hamilton from 37 yards out with less than 20 seconds before halftime to give the Panthers an 18-14 lead at the break.
Park City pounced on its first possession in the third quarter, as the Panthers methodically marched the ball down the field before Hamilton’s 2-yard touchdown run gave them a 26-14 lead.
That score held until late in the fourth quarter when Gauthier hit Hamilton for the third time, and Hamilton’s fourth total touchdown, to give the Panthers an insurmountable 32-14 lead. A late Tande touchdown pass to Gage Hallock made it 32-20, but Park City recovered the onside kick to seal its berth in the semifinals.
Park City, which has been playing with a heavy heart after the passing of sophomore Jed Hoffman on Monday evening, found it therapeutic in a way to get back on the field on Saturday.
“Jed is someone that loved football and he loved us and we loved him, so it felt right to come out here and play kind of in his honor and celebrate him. We’re all just fighting together,” Park City head coach Mark Rathbun said. “Honestly, at practice feels really good most of the time and we’re kind of able to be ourselves a little bit and have fun. That was a message that we got from Jed’s mom was that it’s ok for us to have fun. He loved this game and he loved us and would want us to have fun. It means a lot to all of us because he’s with us no matter what. He can’t be here physically with us, but he’s definitely here in spirit with us.”
“It’s a great day to come out and play football. It helps us rally together as a team. Coming together, we all love each other, so coming together and playing just brings us together even more,” senior lineman Eyan Jordet said.
Park City will travel to Thompson Falls in next weekend’s semifinal round to take on the 8-Man West champions. The winner of that game will host the 8-Man state championship.
Fort Benton 42, St. Ignatius 26
FORT BENTON—Fort Benton used a strong running game to wear out St. Ignatius in the 8-Man quarterfinals on Saturday and come away with a 42-26 victory.
The visiting Bulldogs came to Fort Benton looking for their second playoff win in 30 years and they came out firing. Quarterback Kellen McClure had three touchdown tosses in the first half to give the Bulldogs a 26-22 lead, but that is all they’d be able to muster for the game.
Fort Benton's defense stiffened and the offense utilized its ground-and-pound mentality, chewing up clock and wearing down the Bulldogs. Andrew Ballantyne and Colter and Cade Ball combined for 410 yards on the ground for the Longhorns.
Fort Benton will host Drummond-Philipsburg next week in the 8-Man semifinals.
8-Man quarterfinal scores
Drummond-Philipsburg 32, Fairview 14
Thompson Falls 31, Belt 10